Sustainable UofL

Commitment to a Sustainable Future. It's Happening Here.

Have a Greener Holiday!

The holidays are fun, but can be hard on the budget and the planet. Save money, resources, and the environment this season with a few simple steps:

  1. Don’t make your home, office, or lab work when you leave for the holidays: turn down thermostats, power down computers & equipment, and unplug chargers, printers & appliances.
  2. Serve local, seasonal foods & less meat. Make your holiday meals plant-based and you’ll be doing a huge service for the health of your guests, animals, and the planet we all share. Meat-based diets are literally killing us and driving climate change.
  3. Give the gift of memories instead of stuff! In addition to generating less waste, research shows that people are happier receiving experiential gifts such as massages, classes, or tickets, than material items. Take the pledge to Simplify the Holidays – avoid gifting stuff & give memories that last long after material gifts are consigned to closets or landfills. If you must give stuff, at least buy local and unique, hand-made items instead of raiding the big box stores for cheap stuff made in sweatshops and shipped across the world with a huge carbon footprint. Check out The Story of Stuff and calculate your Slavery Footprint!

Check out our additional “green” holiday tips online and below!

Green Tips for the Holidays (from UK)


Celebrate “Buy-Nothing” Day!

Image result for buy nothing dayAs others engage in an orgy of consumption with a “shop-til-you-drop” attitude, UofL’s Sustainability Council encourages you to celebrate the Friday after Thanksgiving as Buy Nothing Day!

But, don’t you think it’s kind to give gifts?! Yes, of course, we do. In fact, giving is vital to human happiness an community-building. Generosity is a key to sustainability. But it doesn’t have to be about STUFF!!

Give the Gift of Memories Instead of Stuff!

In addition to generating less waste, research shows that people are happier receiving experiential gifts such as massages, classes, or tickets to events, rather than material items.

Take the pledge to Simplify the Holidays – avoid gifting stuff & give memories that last long after material gifts are consigned to closets or landfills.

If you must give stuff, at least buy local – and for that UofL has you covered: Farmers’ Market Holiday Bazaar (11/30), Buy Local Shopping Tour (12/1) & Ceramics Sale (12/1-2). Details below. And don’t forget that, if you need stuff, you can always “shop” for free and keep useful stuff out of the landfill at the UofL Free Store (Mondays & Wednesdays, 11am-2pm, Unitas Tower basement).

Belknap Farmers Market LogoUofL Farmers’ Market Holiday Bazaar
Thursday, Nov. 30th, 12-3pm, Red Barn

Come load up on locally-grown and handmade holiday gifts from our UofL Farmers’ Market vendors and other local artisans! This one-day Holiday Bazaar features 17 different local artisans, farmers, and food producers coming together in one location for holiday shopping, local style! You’ll find unique holiday gifts such as jams, salsas, relish, honey, baked goods, wreaths & holiday decorations, soaps & balms, crafts, jewelry, stoneware, pottery, UofL apparel and accessories, and more! There will be door prizes and lunch available for purchase. Make your list. Check it twice. And don’t miss it!

Holiday Cards Buy Local Shopping Tour 2017
Friday, Dec. 1st, 8am-6pm, Leaves from University Club
$40 Advanced Registration Required by Nov. 17th
UofL and the Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) will take shoppers on a whirlwind tour of local shops and restaurants on the sixth annual Holiday Cards Buy Local Shopping Tour. The Holiday Cards shopping trip encourages faculty, staff, alumni and friends to buy local this holiday season and introduces them to some of the LIBA stores that help make Louisville special. Those on the tour will visit locally owned businesses in several Louisville neighborhoods. The $40 registration fee includes opening and closing receptions, door prizes and transportation to more than a dozen shops on East Market Street (NULU), Fourth Street, Frankfort Avenue and Butchertown. Activities begin with festive drinks and a light breakfast at the University Club at 8 a.m. Participants board a bus at 9 a.m. to begin their day of shopping and return to the club for a 4 to 6 p.m. reception featuring drink samples, hot hors d’oeuvres and door prizes. The tour is open to the public, but bus seating is limited. Participants must register online here. Tickets are non-refundable.

UofL’s New Sustainability Degrees

This year, UofL became the first university in Kentucky to offer a sustainability degree program and it’s not just about “going green.”

Major in Sustainability

In Fall 2017, UofL launched a new interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability program! It is the first undergraduate degree housed in the Department of Urban and Public Affairs.

The B.A. in Sustainability is an interdisciplinary degree program within the College of Arts and Sciences that examines interrelated environmental, political, economic, and social issues and problems facing our society at local, regional, and global scales. The goal of the degree is to prepare students to engage with these issues on multiple levels in the workplace and in their community so that collaborative solutions can be found. The curriculum is designed to educate, train and prepare students for future careers in sustainability‐related endeavors that include: the environment, energy, climate change, public policy, transportation, and urban and regional planning. This degree will also serve as a well‐rounded base to allow students to pursue graduate training in affiliated fields of study.

B.A. in Sustainability graduates will be able to successfully work in government, private, and non‐profit sectors. In the future, program graduates will be creators, developers, implementers of thoughtful policies that ensure sustainable economies and environmental quality in the state of Kentucky, the nation, and the world.
Students graduating with the B.A. in Sustainability will be able to:

  • Understand, conceptualize and analyze sustainability problems and issues in a holistic way;
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the basic concepts in sustainability, and the disciplines that can assist with real‐world problem solving;
  • Evaluate the role of social institutions and the political, legal, and cultural frameworks for sustainability;
  • Acquire methods and techniques to explore and analyze issues that cross disciplinary boundaries;
  • Understand ethical perspectives for issues related to sustainability;
  • Obtain practical experience through a required sustainability‐related internship;
  • Develop skills that will facilitate creative, innovative, and workable solutions to sustainability problems.

Students choose one of the following specialization tracks (concentrations) for further training and focus, or construct their own (with approval from the director):
1. Sustainable Societal and Urban Systems (SUS)
2. Policy and Governance in Sustainability (PGS)
3. Sustainable Societies (SS)
Full details about UofL’s new B.A. in Sustainability here.

Masters in Sustainability

Since Fall 2015, UofL has offered graduate students from all backgrounds a unique opportunity to study the full range of issues in sustainability through a new Masters in Sustainability degree program housed in the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. The official degree designation is a Master of (Arts or Sciences) in Interdisciplinary Studies: Concentration in Sustainability. The Sustainability Council crafted this new program with the participation of the following departments and university units: College of Arts and Sciences (Departments of Anthropology, Biology, Communication, Fine Arts, Geography and Geosciences, History, Sociology, Urban and Public Affairs), Brandeis School of Law, Public Health and Information Sciences, and Speed School of Engineering. The goal is to prepare students to address complex regional, state, national and global challenges posed by the intersection of human exponential growth and increasingly limited resources that support society.

The academic objectives of the program include:

  1. to promote student understanding of sustainability principles and how they connect social, environmental, and economic issues.
  2. to promote student ability to explain how natural, economic and social systems interact to further or impede sustainable societies.
  3. to provide relevant analytical tools so students can evaluate how local to global policies interact across spatial and temporal scales to affect built, natural and social environments.
  4. to develop interdisciplinary thinking and skills in students in the field of sustainability such that they can identify emerging areas of need and formulate research questions that bridge at least two disciplines across the built, natural and social environments.
  5. to train students to conduct research or engage in creative activities on sustainability through use of appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods.
  6. to train students so that they can work in groups and demonstrate skills for consensus building on sustainability issues among stakeholders.

All students in this program are required to complete 33 credit hours of courses and must produce a thesis or portfolio (determined by student’s committee). All students are required to take SUST 600 Introduction to Sustainability, and at least one course from each of three Core Areas: 1. Built Environment, 2. Natural Environment, and 3. Social Environment.

Full details and application here.

UofL Sustainability Week 2017 is Here!

UofL Sustainability Week – Oct. 23-29, 2017
I Commit To... Campus Sustainability Day 2015A full week of events to celebrate, raise awareness, and engage your passions for environmental, social & economic justice! Events include:

RaiseSomeL for UofL Sustainability!

Raise Some L bannerPlease join me in making a donation to support UofL’s Sustainability Initiatives during today’s Day of Giving! Any amount helps.

The University of Louisville is committed to integrating sustainability into everything we do – from how we manage our facilities, finances and people to what we teach in the classroom and what we research in the lab. Our vision is to create a university that is itself a living laboratory for sustainability and a campus community that leads by example and educates as much by what we do as by what we say. Our goal is to make decisions which reflect a balanced consideration for environmental, social and economic responsibility and to continually learn as we go.

Your donations can help us realize this vision by supporting initiatives such as:

We invite you to learn more about our on-going UofL sustainability initiatives and to explore the many ways you can get involved and help us create a better world right here, right now.

The heart of Card Nation beats strong.

Become a bigger part of the pulse.


Interview: Justin Mog on UofL Sustainability Initiatives & Tailgate Recycling

UofL Today with Mark Hebert 10-4-17UofL is ranked the top school in Kentucky when it comes to “green” and sustainability initiatives. The man who coordinates those initiatives, including recycling at football tailgate parties, is Justin Mog. Hear the interview with him on UofL Today with Mark Hebert!

Source: AUDIO: Justin Mog on UofL Sustainability Initiatives (UofL Today with Mark Hebert, Oct. 9, 2017)

UofL Free Store open Mondays & Wednesdays 11-2

UofL Free Store Grand Opening 8-30-13UofL’s Free Store will have its grand opening for Fall 2017 on Monday, September 18th! The Free Store will now be open throughout the fall, every Monday and Wednesday 11am-2pm in the Unitas Tower basement (enter from driveway off Cardinal Blvd).

All students & employees are welcome to come “shop” for free clothing, shoes, household items, books, school & art supplies, non-perishable food, etc.

Donations are accepted any time in the red bins outside the Store.

UofL promotes an inclusive environment for all, regardless of gender identity and/or gender expression. The Free Store is a Transgender-Friendly space.

New Free Store Donation Bin (Aug 2016)Help us keep useful stuff out of the landfill while helping those in need – Volunteers are needed each week to open the store and sort donations.

Connect with the Free Store on Facebook.

To volunteer, contact: UofL’s new Zero Waste Intern: Erin Kurtz (, 502-298-6673).1236755_284498691693158_34150807_n

Garden Commons Workshops!

Don’t miss out on the chance to get involved in our Garden Commons activities this semester!

Herb & Tea Workshop
Friday, Sept. 15th, 12-1pm, Garden Commons at the Cultural Center
Garden Commons Herb & Tea WorkshopThink herbs are just tasteless, dry flakes from a jar?! You don’t know what you’ve been missing! Join us in UofL’s organic garden for a workshop about how to use & dry the herbs we’ll harvest from the garden. There’ll be ample sampling opportunities with a fresh herbal tea bar!

Canning & Pickling Workshop
Friday, Sept. 22nd, 12-1pm, Garden Commons at the Cultural Center
Belknap Farmers Market 2016Don’t know what to do with all that excess produce from the garden?! Canning and pickling are great solutions for preserving firmer veggies like cucumbers, okra, green beans, beets, carrots, radishes, summer squash, and more! Join us in UofL’s organic garden for a fun, hands-on workshop about how to can and pickle vegetables so you can continue eating out of your garden all winter long! We’ll have some things to work with, but feel free to bring any excess produce you’d like to can; mason jars, lids & bands; as well as any particular whole spices (like peppercorns and mustard seeds), vinegar, and/or salt you’d like to contribute.

Garden Commons Fall Workdays
Fridays, Noon-1pm, Garden Commons at the Cultural Center
Garden Commons 2011 ExpansionJoin us in UofL’s organic garden for our group workdays! Learn (by doing) how to grow hyper-local, super-delicious vegetables, herbs, and fruits! Anyone can work in the garden any time, but we’ll gather together every Friday throughout the fall semester (Aug. 25 – Dec. 8) from noon to 1pm to plant, weed, water, and harvest. No prior experience necessary. Tools & gloves provided. The Garden Commons is open to participation any time from students, staff, faculty, and community members. Everyone who comes is welcome to share in the harvest! Connect with us and get all the details on our Facebook Page.

Charge Up with the Power of the Sun at Ekstrom!

There’s a new way to charge up your mobile device at Ekstrom Library! IMG_5223Take a stroll outside & plug into the sun with the PowerSol solar umbrella at a table outside the Ekstrom Starbucks.
The station’s 8 solar panels generate 54 watts of electricity & can charge three devices at once via USB ports. It uses a lithium ion battery to store power throughout the day (needing 5.5 hours of sun to fully charge) and can charge your device even after dark!
Brought to you by the UofL Sustainability Council!

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