In his inauguration speech, President Andrew Hamilton committed to making NYU among the greenest urban campuses in the nation. Soon after the appointment in January 2018 of Cecil Scheib to lead NYU’s sustainability efforts, the Office of Sustainability launched a crowdsourcing campaign called “Sustainability at NYU” in which over 2,300 students, faculty, staff, and administrators contributed their ideas.

To expand on NYU’s long history of sustainability, including 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in just five years and a 2040 carbon neutrality goal, a Sustainability Working Group of over 50 students, faculty, and administrators from across NYU’s global network came together to determine meaningful and achievable new sustainability initiatives that NYU could implement in the short term. Explore the full list of initiatives, including the actions highlighted below.



Remove over 330,000 single-use water bottles

from our waste stream

Many members of the NYU community--from students to the Provost--have voiced concern for NYU’s disposal of single-use plastics and other needless waste. To target the highest impact areas, NYU will:

  • After 2019, stop spending University money on single-use water bottles on the NYC campus.
  • Provide only reusable and compostable dishware for events in the Kimmel Center, at no extra change.
  • Make eco-friendly options, where affordable, the default for the most commonly purchased office supplies.
  • Incorporate sustainability into the new dining & catering services contract.
Student pouring water from a dispenser

All purchasers of K-Cup products will be enrolled in the Grounds to Grow On program, which composts and recycles the components of single-use coffee pods. Many offices have already successfully implemented this program or gone directly to a bean-to-cup machine to further reduce waste.



Person in an NYU jacket assisting another person at a reception desk

roughly 6,000 first-years

enroll each year

A meaningful way to engage members of our community is to reach out when they are new and first learning about NYU.

To unite sustainability education and outreach for students, faculty, staff, and administrators, NYU will:

  • Bring information on sustainability practices into Welcome Week programs.
  • Include sustainability topics in orientations for new faculty and administrators.
  • Incorporate sustainability classes and topics into staff professional development.


Carbon Reduction Goals

In 2012, NYU met its 30% carbon reduction goal. NYU has a goal of a 50% reduction from the baseline by 2025 and carbon neutrality by 2040.

back NYU shuttle bus in NYC traffic

To further our leadership and address our impact in more operational areas and across the global network, NYU will:

  • Survey the NYC community on commuting patterns.
  • Pursue all-electric Public Safety vehicles and shuttles.
  • Include all campuses in carbon accounting wherever possible.
  • Account for emissions from waste and travel where data is available.


Professor standing in front of classroom of students

900+ courses

related to sustainability

NYU has a rich selection of sustainability-related programs, courses, and research. But because academic pursuits span multiple schools, centers, and institutes, it is difficult for students to discover learning opportunities and for faculty to augment each others’ work.

To address this, NYU will:

  • Collaborate on sustainability teaching and research across schools by creating a standing, cross-school sustainability committee led by Deans and organized by the Office of Sustainability.
  • Develop an online sustainability portal with information about sustainability courses, programs, and events, as well as Office of Sustainability programs and key sustainability performance indicators.
  • Eventually, help students find sustainability-related courses and programs by tagging sustainability courses in the Albert Course Catalog.