Student Christopher Cotter working with faculty member Dr. Ayalew Osena, Christopher is researching “Heat Stress Tolerance in Model Tobacco” as a way of understanding the impact of the climate crisis on agriculture in the NC Piedmont.

Reducing our carbon footprint in the Residence Halls

Housing & Residence Life has made sustainability a chief concern. All of our recent renovations incorporated efficient water consumption fixtures and motion sensor lighting/heating/AC controls. We’ve also equipped Housekeeping staff with Green Seal products and implemented a microfiber floor cleaning process.

Jefferson Suites and Spartan Village are certified LEED Silver and The Quad is LEED Gold. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance buildings and developments created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED certified buildings on campus amount to 25% of UNCG’s total gross square footage. Learn more about our LEED certified buildings.

In addition to what we do behind the scenes, it is our hope to educate students about responsible behaviors and sustainable practices in the residence halls and on campus. Going green in a college residence hall does not mean drastically changing your lifestyle. Altering a few habits to follow sustainable practices not only ensures the residence hall grounds stay neat and inviting, but will lead to a healthier you and a healthier environment.

Take Action

The Green Room certification program is a tool developed by the Office of Sustainability for our student residents to help further the culture of sustainability at UNCG. By completing a checklist to confirm your practice of various mindful actions, you can measure and share your commitment to a sustainable lifestyle. All individuals who complete the program receive a certificate of participation highlighting your accomplishment and dedication. 

Students who participate in the Green Room program will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a gift bag of eco-friendly goodies that will help you live a more sustainable lifestyle. The raffle will take place near the end of each semester, dates TBA. Winners will be contacted via email. At this time, the Green Room program is only open to student residents.

Housing and Residence Life (HRL) staff members completed the Green Office certification program to reduce the resources used in their work environments. The Green Office certification program, like the Green Room program, is designed to take the guess work out of campus sustainability and provide ample resources and tools for UNCG employees. HRL will take steps to renew our certification once it expires after three years. Helpful Links about campus sustainability and sustainability in general are also available on the Office of Sustainability website.

Residence Life provides students with a reusable GAPPS (Glass, Aluminum, Paper, Plastic and Steel) recycling bin in each room. Once full, please empty them in the hall’s recycling dumpster or chute and reuse the recycling bin. Remember any non-recyclable items that enter the commingled stream are considered contamination and can mean the entire recycling collection for that week ends up in the landfill. 

UNCG’s Recycling Guide provides guidance on what can and can’t be recycled on campus and lists drop-off locations for items like plastic bags, batteries, and ink cartridges that are collected separately from our commingled recycling stream. Always be sure to empty and clean food and beverage containers before placing them in the recycling bin. 

Additional receptacles for ink cartridges, CDs, and batters can be found in every CRL’s, ACRL’s and RCC’s office. If you have broken electronics that need to be recycled, write to the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling (OWRR): [email protected].

Another useful tool to help you determine what can and can’t be recycled is the GSO Collects App available for free in Android and Apple app stores. Use the app’s Waste Wizard feature to learn if an item can be recycled – type an item like “coffee cup” into the search menu and the app will tell you what to do. There are some differences between what the City and UNCG collect in our recycling streams, so be sure to study both recycling guides.

In 2015, UNCG students elected to allocate a portion of their student activity fees toward environmental stewardship and established the Green Fund. Governed by a committee of students with assistance from faculty and staff experts, the fund operates as a campus-based grant program that offers education, research, and professional development opportunities for students and employees by investing in campus infrastructure and programming to help meet the goals of the UNCG Climate Action Plan. Visit the Office of Sustainability website to learn how you can apply for a grant.  

Student Environmental Clubs

Student groups play a vital role in the promotion of sustainability on campus and in the community. From community gardening, fighting food waste, eating vegan, to adopting streams and streets, there’s plenty of opportunities to get involved and provide service to our campus and city communities.

Eco-centric clubs include: Audubon Birding Conservationists, Food Recovery Network, Garden Club, UNCGreen, and Geography Club.

Person riding a bike on campus


Students who use bicycles on campus as an easy means of getting around should be attentive to where they park or store them afterwards. Bikes are allowed to be stored in resident rooms, designated storage spaces and bicycle racks. Bikes left in undesignated locations will be confiscated by the University Police. All questions regarding confiscated bikes should be directed to the University Police at 336-334-5963. Additionally, in order to easily identify your bike in a crowd, University Police can engrave your bike. Find out everything you need to know about parking permits, parking areas, sustainable transportation, the Spartan Chariot, Park and Ride, and more below.

Take Action

  • Only use the lighting you need. 
  • Use energy efficient LED bulbs.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room unoccupied.
  • Open window blinds for more natural light. 
  • Use window blinds to help regulate room temperature – close them in the summer to keep the room cool and open them in the winter to let the sunlight heat the room.
  • Default your computer to sleep when not in use over short periods, and shut it down when it won’t be used for several hours. Screensavers are not a substitute – they conserve no energy.
  • Many devices use “Vampire” energy even when they are not “on.” Unplug power adapters, chargers, and appliances (coffee makers, stereos, TVs) when not needed, or use a power strip that can be switched off. Why? If everyone on campus were to do this, UNCG could reduce its annual energy use by 5-10%. 
  • Set the thermostat to a reasonable temperature. We recommend 68 degrees F in the winter and 74 degrees F or higher in the summer. Adjust the thermostat appropriately when leaving for more than a day – there’s no reason to heat or cool an empty room.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and your building conditions. If building conditions are uncomfortable, please contact Facilities at 334-3498, or submit a work request.
  • Be conscientious about the length of your showers. Shorter showers conserve water and reduces natural gas consumption.
  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products (soaps, detergents, shampoos, etc.) – look for organic and fair-trade labels.
  • Only wash full loads of laundry. Fewer loads of laundry means washers and dryers are in use less often and collectively use less electricity and water.
  • Wash clothes in cold water, which avoids using natural gas to heat it.
  • Use a drying rack or clothesline instead of a dryer when possible.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. This eliminates the energy needed to move the elevator and you get a cardio workout.
  • Bus, bike, carpool, walk, or use the HEAT or GTA buses more often.
  • Buy a reusable water bottle. Look for UNCG water bottles at the bookstore!
  • Use a reusable bag or backpack when shopping on or off campus.
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