Sustainable “You of A”

A Sustainable Campus Begins with You.

Do you want to make a difference on your campus and in the world? Do you want to save and make money? Would you prefer both?

Becoming involved with sustainability at the You of A is the step you need to take to make both of these happen.

The University of Arkansas has committed to become carbon neutral by the year 2040, which means reducing our reliance on fossil fuel consumption. We have also committed to becoming a gold rated institution under the American Association for the Advancement of Sustainability’s Sustainability Tracking and Rating System. It’s no easy task and it takes an engaged campus to achieve those commitments. That’s why students play an integral role in helping the UA achieve its sustainability goals.

From taking public transit, to riding a bike, using a reusable water container, or joining the Student Sustainability Council, you’re helping the UA become a healthier, happier community now and for future generations.

Sustainability Defined

Sustainability is holistic, systems based approach to problem solving. People engaged in sustainability work realize that economies, ecologies and societies are deeply interconnected with and dependent upon each other. Sustainability, at a minimum, means creating a world in which every human’s basic needs are met. At the other end, sustainability means creating resilient and thriving communities.
The University of Arkansas uses the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) definition, also known as the Bruntland Commission definition, which states:

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

Our Commitment


The University of Arkansas has committed the intellectual expertise, technical competency, and creativity of our campus community to see farther, think more clearly, dream bigger, and work harder to address the most difficult problems facing humanity throughout the 21st century. We believe that creating a prosperous future for our campus, our state and the world depends on enhancing ecosystem services, protecting biodiversity, and reducing impacts on our global climate system. We believe that prosperity, both at home and globally, is within the reach of all humanity. The University of Arkansas was a charter signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007, committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2021 and to achieve climate neutrality by 2040.

The UA Office for Sustainability empowers students, faculty and staff to explore sustainability strategies throughout the campus community. We offer internships each semester for project implementation, coordinate student class and program projects, facilitate faculty and student collaborations, and coordinate campus facilities strategies. These activities are supported through the UA Sustainability Council, a representative group of faculty, staff and students who meet quarterly to review and advise the Office for Sustainability. In addition, we convene five sustainability workgroups: Curriculum, Built systems, Managed systems, Natural systems, and Social systems. Each workgroup meets monthly to review projects and develop strategies.

Our commitment to a prosperous future includes waste reduction, water conservation, habitat enhancement, and community engagement. We understand that the linkages between every aspect of our economy, ecosystem, and social framework matters. We are working together to create a culture of innovation and creativity, where new ways of thinking about prosperity are explored and tested. We are living the Land Grant Mission.


The Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking and Rating System (STARS) is a point based sustainability self-assessment.  The reporting system tracks four overarching categories:  Education and Research; Operations, Planning, Administration and Engagement; and Innovation.

STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS® was developed by AASHE with broad participation from the higher education community.

The University is currently rated Silver with a goal of becoming Gold in 2014.


An education in sustainability can help you become a more valuable applicant in your desired field of employment by promoting critical thinking skills. The academic approach to sustainability at the University of Arkansas explores the interrelationship between four systems:

  1. Built
  2. Managed
  3. Social
  4. Environmental

Sustainability emphasizes a systems based approach to problem solving and promotes critical thinking by linking seemingly unrelated fields together. What does a degree in finance have to do with renewable energies? How does a degree in nursing impact climate change or vice versa? How can anthropology help to implement technologically sound solutions that are also culturally appropriate? The academic exploration of sustainability can help answer some of these questions while also encouraging critical thinking.

Sustainability research can help spur entrepreneurship or make you a potentially more valuable employee.

Foundations of Sustainability minor was implemented in Fall 2011, 34 students have graduated with the minor as of May 2013. Students represent all academic levels (Freshman through Seniors).

Students represent 31 majors across 7 colleges of UA (Law is not represented because it is a graduate program)
Percentage of students in each college:

AFLS = 14.3%
ARCH = 39.0%
ARSC = 26.7%
EDUC = 1.9%
ENGR = 11.4%
WCOB = 7.6%

You can learn more at

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning through sustainability initiatives can also give you leverage in a competitive marketplace by providing real world experience and first hand knowledge of how sustainability efforts work and offers you a glimpse into how systems are interrelated.  There are several ways you can become involved, maintain a healthy lifestyle and save you money as a student.


The University of Arkansas is the number one commuter destination in northwest Arkansas. Over 29,000 students staff and faculty travel to the UA almost every day during the fall and spring semester. That means a lot of money and carbon is emitted by purchasing parking passes and gasoline and driving to the campus.  You can help the UA achieve its sustainability goals by reducing your transportation carbon footprint while saving some money.

Getting to, from and around campus doesn’t always mean you need your car. In fact, you can save money, stay in shape and help reduce carbon emissions by opting for several sustainable transportation options and leaving your car at home.

Take the bus, it’s free!

Razorback Transit provides fare-free fixed route bus and paratransit service to all University of Arkansas students, faculty, staff and the general public during all hours of operation. Razorback Transit buses have wheelchair lifts and are air-conditioned. Full transit service is provided Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on class days throughout the Fall and Spring semesters (mid- August to mid- May) including final exam days. Bus service is not provided on official University of Arkansas holidays.

Ride a bike!

Bicycling to campus can help save you money on gas and parking passes. It is also a fun way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and get around town.

If you need to perform routine bike maintenance, you can use a bike Fix-it station located at the Arkansas Union. There is also a bicycle shop located at the HPER.

You’ll need to register your bike for free in case of theft. Also, the more registered bikes on campus, the better infrastructure for cyclists. Just make sure to lock up your bike securely. If you need a bike lock, just zip down to Parking and Transit for a discounted lock.

You can register you bicycle at the Arkansas Union Card Office, Parking and Transit or the Office for Sustainability.

You can also participate in the Razorbike Program. Razorbikes is a program that is jointly sponsored by Transit and Parking and the Associated Student Government. It is designed to make community bicycles available to student, alumni, faculty and staff.

Eligible persons can come to the Parking Office (either in the Administrative Services Building or at the Harmon Avenue Garage) to be registered as a user of the program. Once they sign up, they will be given a pass-code which will unlock any Razorbike on campus for their use. Each bike will be used as transportation on or around campus for short trips and made available for the next user. Our intention is to make available as many bicycles as we can for as many users as possible.

There is no fee to register for Razorbikes but each user will be required to read and understand the rules of use and sign a user agreement prior to accessing unlock codes.

Always make sure to wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road.

Get Around with your Feet!

Humans have a rich history of traversing the globe by feet. Our ancestors traveled from Africa, across Europe and Asia into the Americas by foot. It’s fun, healthy and, best of all, 100% free.

You can also use your feet to climb stairs instead of taking the elevator.

Waste Minimization

The University of Arkansas has committed to becoming zero waste as soon as its possible, or practical.

This means developing comprehensive recycling strategies as well as getting students, staff and faculty to properly recycle.

Students can participate in recycling programs or can make lifestyle changes to help the UA achieve its waste minimization goals.

Recycle with the Razorbacks

Recycling is quickly becoming a tradition on the UA campus. One example of this tradition is the Recycle with the Razorbacks program. Razorback Athletics participates in the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Game Day Challenge”. This is a challenge to reduce waste and increase recycling rates at athletic events. Recycle with the Razorbacks is a volunteer program that helps reduce waste and increase recycling rates at tailgating events.

Volunteers get free admission and learn about ways to increase recycling.

You can learn more by contacting James Brown at 479-575-2991.

Get classy with recycling

From left to right: Trash, White Paper, Mixed Paper, and Cans & Bottles (any kind!)
From left to right: Trash, White Paper, Mixed Paper, and Cans & Bottles (any kind!)

You’ll notice recycle bins in each of your classes.  It’s called the “Quad System”.  Separating white paper, mixed paper, cans & bottles and rubbish makes it easy for Razorback Recycling to divert as much waste from the landfill as possible.

  • Paper coffee cups belong in the trashcan
  • Plastic, glass and aluminum bottles and cans can go in the cans and bottle bins

Outdoor recycling

Keep recyclables separate from trash. Mixed cans and bottles can go in the green but plastic cups cannot.
Keep recyclables separate from trash. Mixed cans and bottles can go in the green but plastic cups cannot.

You’ll notice outdoor recycling centers spread throughout campus. They are lean, green and conveniently located next to trash receptacles, which are grey.

If you didn’t know, all of the trash generated from the UA campus goes to the Tontitown Ecovist landfill, which is projected to reach maximum capacity sometime this century.

Hydration Stations

These are like water fountains except they’re used to refill your reusable water bottles. Several Residence Halls have Hydration Stations. If yours does not have one installed, make sure to talk to your Resident Assistant and your hall senate about purchasing one for your building.

Several hydration stations are located throughout the Arkansas Union, residence halls, the HPER and other areas on campus.  Each stations has a bottle refill counter. These machines have been used hundreds of thousands of times by students, staff and faculty. That’s like savings hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Dream a Little

Two Dream Machine kiosks, now at the Arkansas Union, allow students and faculty to earn points for every bottle or can recycled and to redeem those points for local discounts on entertainment, dining and travel.

“The Union is excited to be the first place on campus where the Dream Machines are located,” said Sue Smith, associate director of the Arkansas Union. “We continue to lead the way in sustainability on campus, and our partnership with PepsiCo is furthering this goal.”

Located on the east side of the Arkansas Union
Located on the east side of the Arkansas Union

Additionally, the more bottles and cans recycled through the program, the more support PepsiCo will provide to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, a national program offering free experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-Sept. 11 U.S. veterans with disabilities.

Seek and you Will Find

Search a little bit and you’ll see several opportunities to get involved with student groups on campus. Several Registered Student Organizations on campus have sustainability themed missions.

As a student, you can join existing initiatives or begin your own through a Registered Student Organization, as part of an honor’s thesis or a Sustainability Capstone Project.

Grow a Little

DSC_0460Steadily showing off the campus’s green side, the University of Arkansas boasts a new Campus Community Garden.  This garden exists thanks to GroGreen, a registered student organization that brings together people that are interested in learning about gardening and how food is grown.

Located at Maple Hill east and west, the campus community garden serves as an experiential learning tool to teach residents and campus members about the basics of gardening.

Join an RSO

By becoming involved with campus sustainability, you are gaining valuable knowledge and direct experience, which can also provide you with an excellent resume and a sense of well being because you know you’ve done something positive for your campus.

You can also bring sustainability concepts and practices to your own RSO’s or start entirely new ones as well. The benefit of starting or joining an RSO is that the Associated Student Government can fund projects and/or events.

Get sustainable Now!

Students play an integral role in creating a better future for themselves, their campus, and their world. They can save and make money, lead healthy lifestyles, and make positive, lasting impacts on the You of A campus.

If you have any questions, please contact the OFS at

Enjoy this picture of a cat.

Jump at your chance to get sustainable today!

Stay in touch

The Office for Sustainability is your source for sustainability related news, internships and employment opportunities on campus and beyond. The OFS works closely with other sustainability offices and organizations across campus to aggregate opportunities and convey them to the campus.

The OFS also helps students navigate the campus landscape. The OFS will help students make connections in academics, facilities, and beyond.

The breadth and depth at the UA continues to expand. The examples outlined here are not exhaustive.

You can learn more by visiting From there, you can find links to resources, our blog and social media resources.

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