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Octopus's GardenThe student-run Ozone Café, dishes up creative, delicious, all-organic lunches each week, attracting hundred of members of the Union family. The cafe promotes sustainability, the harvest of local farmers and Union's own Octopus's Garden (above).

Campus Kitchen at Union College
Student volunteers help deliver excess food from the College's dining hall to the City Mission of Schenectady.

Garnet Goes Green
Updates on the latest initiatives to reduce the College's carbon footprint.

Environmental Policy major
Designed to bring you into the discussion on our most pressing issues, such as global warming and the search for renewable energy.

Environmental Science major
Features a wide range of integrated courses that address the scientific aspect of key environmental problems.

Ozone House
Ozone House promotes environmental awareness while serving as an example of sustainable living. Residents work together to create a sustainable and fun atmosphere.

Schenectady Greenmarket
Hit this weekender favorite for non-GMO veggies, artisanal cheeses, funky crafts and more.

Ben Rubin '13 with solar buildings atop the Wold buildingBen Rubin '13 with solar buildings atop the Wold building


Our green Union

Union is staunchly committed to promoting an ecologically friendly campus and reducing the college's carbon footprint. In everything from the living environment to academics to the daily operation of buildings and facilities, we're continually taking steps to make the campus more sustainable.

Annie Nelson '15

"I organize the traditional Ozone House clothing swap to highlight the ill effects of consumerism and promote reuse and repurposing of post-consumer goods."

Annie Nelson '15

President Ainlay underscored the college's commitment to sustainability when he signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007. Through the ACUPCC, Union promises to provide critical research and education that will help eliminate global warming and to develop a comprehensive long-term plan to cut emissions.

On campus, the U-Sustain Committee (Garnet Goes Green), made up of about 70 environmentally and socially-concerned students, faculty and staff, oversees sustainability initiatives and educates the campus community about ways to live, work and enjoy Union in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way possible.

If you have a specific question or are looking for resources in a particular area that does not appear below, please don’t hesitate to contact Meghan Haley-Quigley, Sustainability Coordinator.

Green Grant Program

This innovative program, started by President Ainlay, provides eight grants each year to fund grassroots sustainability projects. Grants have been awarded for projects ranging from an innovative way to clean car exhaust to an expanded community garden.


The College recycles aluminum, plastic, glass, paper, batteries, cardboard, food scraps and reusable items. Every year, container recycling helps to collect more than 150,000 containers and several tons of aluminum, plastic and glass. In addition, more than 40 tons of paper alone are recycled each year.


Reducing our energy consumption is critical to achieving our carbon neutrality goals. The college tackles energy conservation projects each year – like the upgrade of Achilles Rink lighting to LEDs. Additionally, students, faculty and staff are emboldened to reduce electricity consumption during the annual campus-wide "Do it in the Darkcompetition sponsored by U-Sustain. Further, view our online Energy Dashboard showing electricity consumption in real time: 


There is an organic garden, marketplace and organic café on campus. Dining services also has increased its use of fair trade, organic and local foods and has instituted an impressive composting program.


Union's Facilities Services has undertaken a number of innovative projects to support sustainability, including purchasing Segways and electric vehicles for use around campus. Union's newest academic building, the Peter Irving Wold Center for Science and Engineering, is a LEED Gold certified building.