SustainabilityAbout Gustavus

Being environmentally sustainable is essential to Gustavus Adolphus College's commitment to its core values of excellence, community, justice, service, and faith. As a liberal arts institution, our values guide us as we face complex global environmental issues that require innovative and sophisticated solutions built on an understanding of science, social values and economic realities.

Campus Initiatives

Everyday actions and participation count. Not only do initiatives and small steps help out our planet, but they also teach us how to live more sustainably in all realms of our lives. At Gustavus, we have integrated composting systems that processes all correctly-sorted food waste, solar panels on top of our academic buildings, a wind turbine, and an established Sustainability Council that comprises students, faculty, and President Bergman.

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Food and Waste

Gustavus believes in pursuing zero waste alternatives to mitigate our environmental impact. With both on and off-campus composting systems, we do our best to create a closed loop system by growing a percentage of the produce available on campus, properly composting food and materials, and reintegrating the compost on campus in both landscaping and food production.


classes with sustainability theme
lbs of food grown each year
goal for solid waste recycled or composted

Energy & Climate

Gustavus takes seriously its commitment to a carbon neutral future and is making significant progress on reducing our ghg emissions in order to show our students and the rest of the world that it can be done. We might not think about it every day, but as a campus, we use a significant amount of electricity for cooling and day-to-day operations, natural gas and oil for heating, and petroleum products for transportation which makes our greenhouse gas footprint quite large. Climate change is at the forefront of our decision-making as we develop new educational programs, bring new buildings online, and update our facilities to recruit the students of the future. At Gustavus, we believe that all our students must learn why care of the environment is important and how to do it, so they can share their knowledge with their future communities.


approximate number of solar panels on campus
acres of restored prairie
environmental studies graduates per year
energy reduction goal by 2024


Education & Research

Sustainability education is an integral part of our liberal arts curriculum. Our Environmental Studies program incorporates interdisciplinary learning by offering four different tracks for their majors: Physical Science, Life Science, Social Science, or Humanities. Many Gusties study sustainability and climate change through independent study research projects in departments across campus from Art and Art History to Religion to Physics.

Get Involved

Gustavus offers several opportunities to get involved and promote sustainability. We employ sustainability interns to help advance sustainability efforts on campus through the Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation. Our student-led Environmental Action Coalition (EAC) hosts dozens of events throughout the year and meets regularly to plan action within realms of climate justice, community engagement, and zero-waste initiatives. Also on campus is the Arboretum - a vital campus resource for outdoor immersion, education, and activity--as well as Big Hill Farm which both employs students and invites volunteers to practice farming, learn about sustainable agriculture, and grow delicious food that feeds the Gustavus community. Gustavus employs sustainability interns to help advance sustainability efforts on campus.