Our Commitment

The University of Denver recognizes that one of the great challenges of our time is to make the decisions and investments — of both effort and money — that will simultaneously advance economic vitality, ecological integrity and social justice. Economic vitality, environmental integrity and social justice are deeply connected in both the short- and the long-term. This triple challenge and deep connection are embodied in the concept of sustainability.

Recognizing sustainability as a core University value, we commit to exercising leadership in our community and throughout society by providing the knowledge, research and curriculum to produce informed graduates who are able to create a positive, just and sustainable future.

We will fully embrace sustainability and address climate change in our operations by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our approach to managing the built environment, energy, water, dining, purchasing, policies and transportation operations.

By integrating sustainability into the curriculum, research, co-curricular experience and campus operations, we will better serve our students and meet their social mandate to help create a vital, ethical and prosperous civil society.

We believe that our commitment to sustainability requires us to work with community partners in the public and private sector to ensure a thriving local economy, a sustainable urban environment and an equitable human community.

We reaffirm our commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, as just one part of a holistic approach to becoming a sustainable University.

Sustainability Principles

As a campus, we will adopt ways to adhere to the following principles through policies, commitments, standard practices and everyday actions to realize our vision of incorporating sustainability into our research, teaching, operations and campus life.

  • Inclusion and Interdependence
    • Increase the University’s role as an anchor institution that actively contributes to a thriving local economy.
    • Build a more inclusive and cooperative community and enhance the One DU concept.
    • Frame our operational and educational missions to emphasize systems thinking and the connections among our actions, natural systems and ecological services.
    • Emphasize the understanding that a healthy economy and thriving environment is impossible without creating a just society.
  • Advancement of Application
    • Emphasize and enhance existing and new research and teaching on sustainability and systems thinking.
    • Increase interdisciplinary approaches in addressing sustainability in the curriculum.
    • Utilize campus as a “living laboratory” for innovative applied research and teaching in operations.
    • Provide clear methods for transferring innovation, research and operational best practices to the broader community.
    • Provide clear pipelines for classroom innovations to become part of operational practice.
  • Resiliency and Well-being
    • Improve human and ecosystem health and well-being.

  • Innovation and Identity
    • Engage innovative ideas to eliminate our carbon footprint.
    • Develop a distinct identity by integrating sustainability with our other priorities.
    • Market our sustainability efforts to attract and retain excellent students, faculty and staff.
  • Core Value and Accountability
    • Frame sustainability as a core value at the University of Denver.
    • Improve energy, water, labor and other efficiencies in operational practices.
    • Improve our sustainability metrics and implement clear modes and protocols for sustainability reporting.

25x25 Sustainability Goals

  • Goals
    1. Reduce 2007 carbon emissions levels by 24 percent by 2020 and 45 percent by 2025.
    2. Produce 5 percent of DU’s energy needs on-site through renewable sources.
    3. Continue reduction of on-campus electrical consumption by 500,000 kWh/yr.
    4. Investigate a 20-year PPA for 20 percent of DU’s total energy needs.
    5. Reduce Energy Use Intensity on Campus to 40 percent below national standards.
    6. Reduce SOV commutes to less than 40 percent of total trips.
    7. Eliminate the need for first and second year students to have a car on campus.
    8. Create a “Green Fleet” consisting of 50 percent alternatively fueled vehicles.
    9. Achieve Bicycle Friendly University gold status by 2020, platinum by 2025.
    10. Achieve a 70 percent diversion rate, on the way to a waste-free campus by 2035.
    11. Advance DU’s role as an anchor institution by supporting and investing in local-, women-, minority- and alumni-owned businesses.
    12. Create and implement a campus Sustainable Purchasing Policy.
    13. Write and implement a campus Sustainable Storm Water Policy.
    14. Achieve a Water Use Intensity of 30 percent above national standards.
    15. Reduce 2007 levels of indoor water use by 30 percent.
    16. Reduce 2007 levels of outdoor water use for irrigation by 40 percent.
    17. Purchase 40 percent of food from local or sustainably certified sources.
    18. Manage 50 percent of the grounds organically through a phased Integrated Pest Management approach, beginning with turf maintenance.
    19. Engage the entire DU community in sustainability programming or practice.
    20. Provide training in sustainability through a social justice lens for all new students and employees.
    21. Assess sustainability literacy, attitudes and culture longitudinally through annual campus-wide surveys.
    22. Implement a curricular and co-curricular sustainability learning outcome for all students, and identify or create at least one class per degree program that explicitly focuses on sustainability.
    23. Increase the total students taking more than one sustainability-related course.
    24. Develop an Interdisciplinary Institute to serve as the backbone to support community-engaged collective impact through curriculum and research projects.
    25. Become AASHE STARS Gold by 2020 and Platinum by 2025.