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UC Sustainability

UC Sustainability


UC|sustainability represents the diverse and interdisciplinary sustainability movements at the University of Cincinnati.

Mission Statement

The University of Cincinnati recognizes its role as a leader in sustainable practice, research, and education. UC seeks to consider the environmental, social, and economic impacts of its decisions and commits to incorporating the concept of sustainability into its academic and research programs; the design, operation, and maintenance of its buildings and landscapes; and its organizational structure and management. 

Sustainability is also a critical part of UC's Strategic Direction, Next Lives Here. 

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability can be described as each of us doing our part to build the kind of world—economically, environmentally and socially—that we want to live in, and one that we want our children and grandchildren to inherit. It means becoming aware of all interconnections—visible and invisible—in which our day-to-day choices affect the intricate balance of social, economic and ecological systems.

“Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable—to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” - Our Common Future, World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987

Awards and Recognition

UC's sustainability efforts have been recognized numerous times, including the following:

  • AASHE's 2020 Campus Sustainability Index recognized UC's Environmental Literacy Certificate program 
  • Innovation Award for Sustainability, presented to UC at the 2020 Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit. 
  • In spring of 2020, UC earns another Gold STARS Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
  • UC Food Services is recognized by Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District for their efforts in waste reduction
  • Sierra Club's Cool School List for 2019 ranks UC at 78 out of 282 schools
  • AASHE's 2019 Campus Sustainability Index ranked UC as a top performer in the Water category
  • In November of 2018, the University was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bronze Level Bike Friendly University
  • AASHE's 2017 Campus Sustainability Index rating UC as the #1 performer in the Water category
  • AASHE's 2017 Campus Sustainability Index highlighted UC for it's work with research at the Miami Groundwater Observatory
  • Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) STARS Gold rating, 2017
  • Green Umbrella Transit Friendly Destination: Diamond Level, 2015; Platinum Level, 2018
  • Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education STARS Silver rating, 2014
  • Queen City Bike, Bike Friendly Destination: Gold, 2013
  • Duke Energy Power Partner of the Year, 2012
  • Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions
  • Business Courier Green Business Awards: Policy and Design, 2011; Advocacy, 2013; Building, 2014
  • US EPA Energy Star Combined Heat and Power Award, 2011
  • US EPA Partner of the Year Award, 1997

Office of Sustainability

UC's Office of Sustainability was created in 2010 and reports to the PACES Steering Committee (see above). UC hired a part-time Sustainability Coordinator in 2008, and the position became full-time in 2009.  

The Office of Sustainability is within the Department of Planning + Design + Construction with links to Facilities Management and Central Utilities. The staff includes one full-time Sustainability Coordinator, a full-time Assistant Sustainability Coordinator and a team of student workers that are known as Sustainability Advocates. The Office of Sustainability facilitates a diversity of programs including the Environmental Literacy Certificate Program, UC Bike Kitchen, Bearcat Bike Share, UC Garden, Athletics and Special Event Recycling, Re*Use Market, Annual Bike Show and Move-In/Move-Out waste diversion efforts, as well as hosts and facilitates co-curricular educational opportunites such as the sustainability film, lecture, tour and workshop series, and also organizes more proactive events such as city-wide clean ups, green infrastructure projects, reforestation events, and community bike rides. Through providing a diversity of programs that seek to educate, engage, and empower, the Office strives to enhance and create a culture of sustainability at the University.

Sustainability Coordinator
Assistant Sustainability Coordinator 

            Erin LeFever

Sustainability Advocates
  • Kyle Wilson
  • Bridgette Stegman
  • Sudarshan Pandey
  • Arun Somasundaram
  • Nick SirLouis
  • Kiley Hardcorn
  • Abigail Magoffin
  • David Haver*
  • Alex Grothaus*
  • Will Smotherman*

        * UC Bike Mechanic

UC Sustainability Advocate Blog


Sustainability Advocates 17
Sustainability Advocates