Sustainability at Emerson College

In 2007, Emerson College’s President signed what is now known as the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, setting a goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. By improving energy efficiency, purchasing Renewable Energy Credits, investing in green steam, and more, we have made steady progress towards those goals. As our 2030 deadline rapidly approaches, we are asking the entire College community to join us in this final sprint towards climate neutrality.

Sustainability includes, but is not limited to, climate action. In addition to reducing and offsetting our greenhouse gas emissions, Emerson is committed to advancing climate justice, ensuring the resiliency of both our campus and our surrounding neighborhood, increasing our waste diversion rate, and much more. Beyond environmental sustainability, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) chart a path forward to incorporate social and economic sustainability into our curriculum and operations. With your help, Emerson College will remain a leading higher education institution across all definitions of sustainability.


  • 80% decrease in emissions Emerson-owned & -controlled sources
  • 280 pounds of trash created per campus user annually
  • 100% of electricity on campus offset by Renewable Energy Credits

Best Practices

We ask that you abide by the following best practices to help us achieve our goals and to reduce the environmental impact of our campus operations.

  • Avoid single-use items: All new students are given reusable items for zero waste dining on the go. Be sure to bring these with you when you want to leave the Dining Center to eat a meal and keep an eye out for information on how to use the reusable clamshell program.
  • Choose climate-friendly transport:  Emerson is located in the heart of downtown Boston and is exceptionally accessible by public transportation. We recommend using the T and walking when traveling around the city! We also provide a bike storage room for commuters.
  • Sort your waste properly: You will see trash, recycling, and compost bins around campus. Check out the signage for help understanding what goes where. Remember: when in doubt, throw it out! Loads of compost and recycling end up in the trash if we contaminate them. For more help, visit our waste guide on the Emerson sustainability website.
  • Make responsible food choices: Our Dining Center offers numerous options for eating sustainably. Keep an eye out for the vegan station and enjoy the bounty of local produce. And don’t let your eyes get bigger than your stomach: take only what you are sure you can eat in the Dining Center. You can always go back for more!
  • Conserve energy: Don’t forget to turn out the lights when you are the last one to leave a room, unplug chargers and devices not currently in use, and turn off anything you’re not using.
  • Conserve water: Please be cautious of your water use when brushing your teeth, washing dishes, and showering. Just turning off the faucet when you are not actively using the water saves more water than you think!

How to Get Involved

  • Apply to be a Student Sustainability Fellow, a paid student employment opportunity.
  • Volunteer as an Eco Rep to help educate your peers on sustainability.
  • Join the student sustainability organization Emerson Green Collective.
  • Take a sustainability-focused course.
  • Attend sustainability events on and off campus.
  • Vote for sustainability-minded candidates in local, state, and national elections wherever you are registered.

Read more about getting involved in a sustainability group.