UNCW Accomplishments:

  • Second Greenhouse Gas Inventory completed, six years of greenhouse gases available to use as a tool in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, as mandated by the UNC-GA Sustainability Policy
  • Sustainability Action Plan completed, encompassing many facets of campus to navigate future projects with
    advancing yet attainable goals

Energy & Operations

sustainability bicycles

  • Seahawk Crossing was built to LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver Certification standards. Some of the sustainable aspects of the Crossing include:
    • every toilet, faucet and shower head utilizes low flow plumbing
    • utilization of natural light as much as possible
    • ENERGY STAR™ appliances installed
    • 100% outside air found in the common areas
    • underground infiltration system to minimize runoff
    • pervious pavement to reduce runoff and pollutants
    • low VOC carpet and construction materials
    • utilization of recycled and local building material
    • parking deck has "filling" stations for electric/hybrid vehicles
    • covered bicycle parking
    • cleaning products are "Green Seal" approved
    • convenient recycling in every building
    • 75% of demolition and construction waste was diverted from the landfill
  • The Student Recreational Center expansion was built to LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver Certification standards. Some of the sustainable aspects of the Rec Center include:
    • convenient recycling in every building
    • 75% of demolition and construction waste was diverted from the landfill
    • solar panel to maintain minimal temperature of leisure pool
    • utilization of natural light as much as possible
    • compact fluorescent flood lights in fitness center
    • LED lights in all scoreboards
    • occupancy sensors in bathrooms and housekeeping closets
    • easily accessible recycling bins
    • low flow foam soap
    • maximize laundry loads
    • paper recycling in all offices
    • climbing wall floor composed of recycled rubber
  • UNCW awarded Bicycle Friendly University bronze level
  • A Multi-Modal Transportation Study completed to provide recommendations to create a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly campus
  • Seahawk Shuttle ridership has increased 17% since 2012
  • UNCW leads the UNC System in 2015 energy reduction time line goals, surpassing the 30% reduction requirement by the UNC-GA
  • Boilers have been replaced with high efficiency units
  • All lighting fixtures on Chancellor's walk, Wagoner Dining Hall, & Trask Coliseum have been replaced with LED bulbs
  • Solar powered crosswalk signs can be found along the Cross City Trail
  • Storm water drainage improved with impervious pavement
  • Programmable thermostats installed throughout campus
  • Faucets with low flow heads installed throughout campus
  • Installation of stormwater vaults for reuse
  • Installation of irrigation water distribution line
  • Electric vehicles used by Landscaping and Parking Enforcement
  • Performance contracting I completed and in process of stage II
  • Replacement of housekeeping chemicals with "Green Seal" approved alternatives
  • Self Service Bike Repair Stations have been placed outside of Fisher Student Center, Wagoner Dining Hall and Randall Library
  • The Teal Terminal, located outside of the Fisher Student Union and beside the bus loop, is equipped with screens that provide riders with the estimated time of arrival for the shuttles and to inform them of any maintenance or safety issues
  • Printing Services offers Eco-friendly specialty and promotional items

Natural Areas & Landscaping

sustainability bluethenthal classroom

  • Bluethenthal Wildflower Reserve accommodates seating for classes, overlooking the lake
  • As a small forest restoration project in Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve the following have been planted in over the past three years by UNCW students and Sierra Club members
    • 1,500 longleaf pines (Pinus palustris) total
    • 250 wiregrass plants (Aristida stricta)
  • Design and completion of the Tidal Creek Rain Garden, which is a Best Management Practice design to reduce stormwater runoff into Hewletts Creek.
    • The design and construction was part of a cooperative effort between UNCW (Academics and Landscape Services), City of Wilmington Stormwater Services, NC State, Tidal Creek, and Surfriders
  • UNCW students and New Hanover County Landfill collaborated to plant a state rare grass (Aristida condensate) onto 90 acres to the south of the current landfill. This planting will mitigate that disturbance of expanding this grass by collecting seed, planting the seed in containers in our greenhouse, and then we will plant the seed at another site on the property to insure viability of the plant.

  • Storm debris from the 2014 winter storm waste was mulched to be used by UNCW Landscaping
  • Collaborative efforts between UNCW, NCSU and the City of Wilmington have improved the health of Hewletts Creek
  • UNCW's community garden has served as a firsthand educational resource to students while providing produce to the local Food Bank
  • Installation of sustainable rain garden found at Cultural Arts Building and Friday Hall
  • 3 miles of the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail run through UNCW's campus
    • The Cross City Trail connects parks, education, shopping and other amenities across the City. It runs from the southern part of the county, beginning at James E.L. Wade Park, to the Heide-Trask Drawbridge at Wrightsville Beach

Waste & Recycling

sustainability ecyclingsustainability recycling

  • Expanded battery recycling to all batteries including lithium and alkaline
  • Began diversion of organic materials from Wagoner Dining Halls and Dubs Café, through different methods of composting. This initiative is not only leading the University to the goal of engaging in "zero waste" practices; it also reduces our carbon footprint by about 60 metric tons per year moving us closer to the UNC-GA mandate of all UNC universities achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • Portable recycling receptacles at the Recycling Center allow for recycling to travel when needed for large events
  • Compactors with teeth allows for more efficient bailing by crushing plastic bottles with tops
  • Finished 1st in Recyclemania place among universities in the CAA
  • E-cycle (recycling electronics)
  • Waste audits performed by students, faculty and staff display physically and numerically how much recycling and compost actually end up in the waste

Campus Dining

sustainability feast down east

  • Campus Dining: implements many sustainable practices
    • The elimination of trays in Wagoner Dining Hall has saved 8,782 gallons of water a day
    • The use of plastic bags has been completely eliminated from dining locations,eliminating the use of over 20,000 bags annually
    • The Bio Pack to-go containers used in Wagoner and Hawk's Nest are 96% renewable natural resource paper
    • The Green Ware cups used on campus are made of a corn by-product
    • All fryer oil from Campus Dining locations is converted into biodiesel
    • Over 20% of the food served is locally purchased through Feast Down East
    • Vegan and vegetarian options available everyday
    • A Sustainability Wall inside of Wagoner informs consumers about the farms that provide the food served, as well as other sustainability initiatives
    • Environmentally friendly cleaning products and Blue Cleaning are used in dining areas to provide a healthy and safe experience
    • Meatless Monday and No Impact Lunch are examples of the many programs Campus Dining has implemented to promote sustainability
    • Food waste is pulped and ready to be composted at Wagoner Dining Hall
    • Recycling and reduction is advocated to all employees



  • Inventory of Courses with Sustaianbility Content
  • A Sustainability Minor will be offered beginning Fall 2016
  • The Department of Environmental Studies offers a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Master of Sciences degrees

    • The Bachelor of Arts degree allows students a variety of specialization courses in both social and natural sciences.
    • The Bachelor of Science degree is intended to give intensive training in either the biological or physical sciences.
    • The Master of Science in Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary, graduate degree designed for professionals, practitioners, citizens and students who wish to strengthen their knowledge of the environment.
  • Classes dedicated to sustainability include Topics and Issues in Sustainability, Environmental Justice Ethnography and Tourism and the Environment
  • UNCW's Bookstore offers textbook rental, used books for purchase as well as eTextbooks
  • The Organic Chemistry Department implements "green" chemistry
  • The Biology Department cares for a sustainable green house next to Friday Hall
  • English classes integrated sustainability into writing after visiting the Recycling Department


sustainability plasticsustainability community garden

  • Campus Sustainability Committees & Positions include:
    • ITSD
    • Housing and Residence Life
    • W.M. Randall Library
    • Student Government Association
  • The Senior Class of 2008 began a Sustainability Trust Fun, you can go to to donate
  • Housing and Residence Life's (HRL) Move-In 2013 eliminated the use of 8,400 disposable, plastic water bottles by
    distributing reusable, stainless steel bottles instead and providing twelve "hydration stations" with potable water for
  • The Coastal Health Initiative (CHI) was initiated by UNCW School of Health and Applied Human Sciences is
    dedicated to exploring the interrelationship between the coastal environment and human health
  • Feast Down East, an online buying club that supports local limited resource farmers, cofounded by a UNCW professor brings locally grown produce to restaurants, markets, schools, hospitals, etc.
  • Collaborated with the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County in various groups, projects and programs,
    closing the gap between the university and community including collecting data from students to help develop
    multifamily housing recycling in the community
  • Turn Off for What? Water competition encouraged students to conserve water in residence halls
  • Sustainability student video contest
  • Attended and presented at several conferences including:
  • Sustainability Film Series and discussions
  • Farmer's Market can be found on campus several times throughout the year
  • Annual Sustainability Week provides programs, educational presentations, and events to promote a sustainable lifestyle
  • Turn off the Lights sticker campaign
  • Presentations to UNI 101 classes educate new students on sustainable opportunities at UNCW
  • First annual Pumpkin Carving Competition promoted fire safety and composted all pumpkin "guts"
  • Provided showers during Oozeball 2014: Photo Gallery
  • Sustainability marketing intern
  • UNCW Alumni Matt Collogan presents lecture on Permaculture
  • Barnes & Noble on campus gives away 2,000 reusable bags a year

Future Goals at UNCW:

  • AASHE STARS assessment (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System
  • Sustainability Cluster
  • Continued learning opportunity through "Dare to Learn"
  • Sustainability marketing materials
  • Campus-wide sustainability policy
  • Continuation of performance contracting
  • Sustainability department
  • Campus wide attitudes and knowledge assessment
  • Sustainable aspects featured on campus map
  • Sustainability Peer Educators