Recent Achievements

Castleton University is committed to sustainability and Green Campus initiatives.


  • A new Indoor Thermal Comfort Policy was approved which sets standards for the use of air conditioning and heat in all campus buildings in order to minimize the energy use, expense, and environmental impacts associated with these operations. (Spring 2015)

  • Castleton initiated a No Idling Policy which restricts vehicle idling to a maximum of three minutes except in extreme weather. (Spring 2015)

Buildings and Grounds

  • Upward Bound students made an air quality monitoring station and installed it in the Campus Center. (Fall 2018)
  • 970 fluorescent light fixtures in the Calvin Coolidge Library are replaced with single strip LED lights with anticipated decrease usage from 190,000 KWH to 61,000 KWH and savings of approximately $15,000 annually. (Spring 2018)

  • As of Fall 2017, over 819,000 water bottles have been diverted from the landfill thanks to the use of 22 water bottle filling stations on campus.

  • Upward Bound students perform community service projects throughout campus including planting bulbs on the residential side of campus (November 2016) and a patio garden at Babcock Hall (summer 2016), and annual clean-up projects throughout campus.

  • NeighborWorks H.E.A.T. Squad conducted a home energy audit of the President's House. They recommended a variety of improvements for an estimated annual cost savings of over $2600. All recommendations were implemented, including the installation of six heat pumps. (February 2015)

  • Upward Bound students created a series of water bars and rain gardens on campus with support from the Vermont High School Leadership Summit (September 2014).

  • In Leavenworth Hall, our largest classroom building, we replaced 277 compact fluorescent bulbs with LED fixtures and added 114 occupancy sensors, all at a cost of $56K. (Summer 2013)

  • Seven water bottle filling stations are installed around campus. Each use keeps a plastic water bottle out of the landfill. These stations are funded by the Student Government Association. (Summer 2013)
  • Four microturbines are installed on the roof of Hoff Hall. This is the first commercial deployment of this new wind-power technology in Vermont.  (September 2013)

    Motion sensors are being installed in key locations to reduce energy use. (2007-2008)

  • Professor Andy Vermilyea installs an anemometer on Hoff Hall to measure wind speed and assess the feasibility of harvesting wind-power. (February 2013)

  • Thanks to a loan from the Vermont State Colleges Revolving Green Fund and financial support from Efficiency Vermont, the Spartan Arena installs new technology which dramatically reduces the energy needed to make ice. (September 2012)

  • Hoff Hall, Castleton’s newest residence hall, opens. Equipped with an array of 120 solar panels, Hoff is the second campus building to receive LEED Gold status. (Fall 2012)

  • All 90 windows in Woodruff Hall are replaced with new energy efficient units. The project saves us an estimated 214.5 MMBtu on an annual basis or 2,275 gallons of heating oil.  The total project was $270.6K, of which we received $135.3K from the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund. (2011)

  • A rain garden is constructed by Upward Bound high school students enrolled in a course taught by Ann Honan entitled "Sustainable Landscaping.”  It was done with supplies and additional direction from the watershed educator from the Poultney Mettawee Natural Resources Conservation District through funding by a grant. (Summer 2011)

  • The newly renovated and expanded Campus Center re-opens with LEED Gold designation, the first building on campus to receive this status.  This distinctive award by the US Green Building Council stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. (Fall 2009)

  • Motion sensors are being installed in key locations to reduce energy use. (2007-2008)
  • Student Association helped to fund meters for a number of residence halls to track electric use. (2007-2008) As of April 2011, all public buildings and residence halls have power monitors. The total cost of this project was $49,400, one-half of which was funded by a Department of Energy grant facilitated by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

  • Energy-efficient lights have also been installed in the kitchen in Huden Dining Hall, the back of the Casella Theater, and elsewhere. (Fall 2007)

  • Residence Life sponsors a very successful light bulb exchanges. 500 incandescent bulbs were exchanged for new Compact Florescent bulbs (CFLs) that save energy and money and significantly decrease GHG emissions. (Earth Day 2007)

  • Physical Plant is focusing on reducing electricity use, including the installation of new, energy-efficient lights in the gym. (Fall 2006)

  • “Vending misers” are installed to cut on energy use. (Spring 2005)

  • Efficiency Vermont plays an important role in all our new construction beginning in 2003 and continuing.


  • Castleton joins the Vermont Climate Coalition and commits to contributing to the Community Energy Dashboard. (Spring 2018)

  • Castleton files its Climate Action Plan, developed by Professor Paul Derby and his students, for the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment. (July 25, 2011)

  • Castleton’s mission statement is revised and approved by the Faculty Assembly to include the following statement: “Castleton strives to learn use, and teach sustainable practices. The College prepares its graduates for meaningful careers; further academic pursuits; and engaged, environmentally responsible citizenship.” (2009)

  • Graduate Assistant hired to work on GCI programs (2008-2009)

  • Castleton participates in the Vermont Climate Collaborative, sponsored by the Vermont Natural Resources Council, from 2008 through its retirement in the spring of 2011.

  • President Wolk signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment at Convocation, January 24, 2008.

  • VISTA volunteer serves as part-time Sustainability Coordinator (Fall 2007)

  • Castleton now has a permanent standing committee to guide our sustainability efforts. (Spring 2007)

  • With the support of the Student Association and the Faculty Assembly, President Wolk signs the international Talloires Declaration. (April 26, 2007)

  • Professor Paul Derby attends the Association for Advancement in Sustainability in Higher education (AASHE) conference at Arizona State. (October 2006) Castleton faculty, staff and students continue to attend this annual conference.

  • Sustainability Club forms. (2006)

  • Castleton purchases three hybrid vehicles in 2006 and two more in 2007. By 2013, 45% of the University vehicles available for professional travel are hybrids.

  • Green Internship program begins. Each semester student interns get pay and/or credit for working on GCI programs. (Fall 2005)

  • Green Campus Initiative (GCI) begins as a service-learning project for ANT 2210 Anthropology and the Environment under the guidance of Paul Derby. (Spring 2005)


  • Faculty grants are offered to transform existing courses to integrate sustainability. A new course – The Science of Sustainability – is developed. (2010-2011)

  • Castleton received funding from the Davis Education Foundation grant to assist the university in the transformation of the general education curriculum with a focus on sustainability themes. (Spring 2007)


  • Sodexo, Castleton's Food Service provider, launched a “Better Tomorrow” awareness campaign that encompasses all aspects of sustainability. This includes information for dining guests on areas such as water conservation, energy use, and sustainable farming practices. (2016)

  • Campus volunteers in cooperation with Sodexo staff conduct a waste audit in Huden Dining Hall. 785 pounds of compostable materials were collected. (November 2013)

  • Castleton installs automated lighting in Huden Dining Hall along with auto fixtures in all restrooms  (2013)
  • Sodexo, Castleton’s food service provider, launches an “I Commit” campaign which encourages students to make a “green” pledge to reducing waste. (April 2013)

  • Sodexo added vegan and plant-based dining specific station in Huden Dining Hall. (2012)

  • Sodexo introduces “to go” containers to dining hall customers. These reusable and recyclable containers cut down on water and electricity consumption and disposable container usage, and are a welcome alternative to busy students. (Fall 2012)

  • Low-energy dishwasher installed in Huden Dining Hall (2009)

  • The Student Government Association endorses a proposal from Aramark Dining Services to go trayless. (Fall 2008)

  • Used cooking oil is picked up from Huden Dining Hall and Fireside Café and is turned into biodiesel fuel. (Initiated 2008)

  • With student input Aramark (Campus food service provider) begins lightless, tray-less days, getting ready for composting program. (2006-2007) This activity continues.

  • Students studying composting. (2006-2007) A consultant is being brought in during Spring 2008 to help begin composting of Huden waste.

Educational Programs

  • GCWG sponsored a screening of the award-winning documentary “Plastics Ocean”, which presents the extent and impact of plastic contaminants in the ocean and beyond. (Fall 2018)

  • GCWG hosted a Soundings event to screen an episode of the call-to-action documentary series on climate change “Living Dangerously. Climate and carbon policy experts served on a panel to answer questions after the screening. (Fall 2016)

  • The Green Campus Work Group gets its own email address ( and initiates weekly notices to the community. (Fall 2016)
  • The first annual Earth Day 5K is held (April 2015)

  • Dr. Mary Albert, Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth College, presents "Ice Cores, Climate and You" as part of the Soundings program. (April 2014)
  • Campus Sustainability Day continues as a student-run tradition at Castleton. Students in the Sustainability Club celebrate the day making jewelry from recyclables, tie-dyeing, and carving pumpkins, in addition to sharing informational displays. (October 2013)

  • Castleton students participate in Chittenden Dam Clean-Up Day, co-sponsored by Green Mountain Power. (October 2013)

  • Instead of the traditional Earth Day activities, Castleton celebrates Earth Week with Recycling Monday, Turn Off Tuesday, Alternative Transportation Wednesday, Green Campus Celebration day and Homespun Swap day. (April 2012)

  • Do It In the Dark – a residence hall electricity reduction competition – is held. (April 2012)

  • Dr. Debra Rowe, President of the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, spends the day at Castleton meeting with various constituencies and presenting a Soundings lecture. (March 2010)

  • The Residence Hall Council recruits a group of student volunteers to serve as Eco-Reps. One of the many fun, educational programs coordinated by these residents was bottled water versus tap water taste test in the dining hall (2008-2009)

  • Students live together in the Sustainable Living suite. (Fall 2007)

  • Stafford lecture series on Sustainability is initiated. (Spring 2007)

  • Castleton's first Sustainability Day is a big success. (October 25, 2006)

  • The Annual Green Campus Kickoff is held at New Student Orientation. Incoming students learn about Castleton’s commitment to sustainability. First-Year students help with recycling and other sustainability projects during orientation. First-Year Seminar sections do recycling each week throughout the fall semester. (August 2005 and continuing)


  • University commits to purchasing and using Hillyard Environmentally Preferred Cleaning Products in all campus buildings. (2010)

  • The university changes its purchasing practices, buying only recycled or recyclable products, where available, and transforming into environmentally responsible, socially conscious purchasing habits. (Beginning summer 2005 and continuing.)

  • The university commits to purchasing recycled paper for all campus copy machines. (2006-2007)


  • Student Eco-Reps are hired to lead the University's recycling efforts. (October 2014)

  • Five First-Year Seminar classes Adopt-a-Street in the village of Castleton. These First-Year students periodically patrol their street to pick up trash and recyclables and make themselves available to residents for clean-up chores such as raking, shoveling, etc. (Fall 2013)

  • Castleton signs on to the Power of Three, a closed-loop recycling program. Our recyclables are picked up by Casella Waste Systems, processed by SCA in Glens Falls, New York, and returned to us as paper products by Foley Distributing. (May 2012)

  • Castleton participates in the EPA’s Recyclemania competition, a nation-wide effort involving colleges and universities throughout the country. (Spring 2009 and Spring 2010)

  • The switch is made to ordering Commencement regalia made from recycled materials. (May 2012 and continuing)

  • In partnership with Casella Waste Systems, Castleton initiates Zero-Sort recycling. To illustrate this, members of the Sustainable Energy Club build a gigantic pyramid using pizza boxes in the Campus Center. (Fall 2009)

  • Students involved with the campus-wide recycling program make a presentation about the University’s sustainability efforts to the VSC Board of Trustees. (March 12, 2009)

  • We celebrate 100 tons of recycled materials collected with a specially-built structure, 10 feet high by 6 feet wide, constructed along a campus pathway by Physical Plant staff. (October 3, 2008)

  • Student club produces biodiesel. (2006-2007) Work continues (2007-2008)

  • The first program of the GCI is a comprehensive Recycling Program (Initiated Fall 2005) In year one (05/06), we recycled 22 tons of glass, cans, paper, cardboard, and metals.


  • Students in Professor Paul Derby’s Community Action Seminar update Castleton’s Green House Gas inventory as part of our participation in the President’s Climate Commitment. (February 2012)

  • SOC 2310 Community in American Society students, in partnership with Clean Air-Cool Planet, complete a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory. (Spring 2007). The inventory was updated in the Spring of 2012.

  • Students studying the university’s greenhouse gas emissions, so we can challenge ourselves to improve. (2006-2008)