• Create a cohesive vision to embed sustainability into every aspect of campus life

  • Enhance connections between teaching, research, operations and engagement

  • Establish organizational processes to connect stakeholder voices on an ongoing basis

  • Build a model for holistic, institutional change in higher education

Gathering input to inform the University’s new Sustainability Plan began in Spring 2015. Throughout the summer, six working groups identified UNC’s sustainability goals, priorities, and recommended actions.

The Sustainability Plan outlines an approach to embedding sustainability into the full range of campus life, including teaching, research, operations, and community engagement. The Plan builds on existing successes and proposes actions to achieve a campus-wide vision that aligns the University around a broad definition of sustainability — beyond environmental quality and including smart economic decisions and positive social change. The Plan is a roadmap for establishing organizational priorities and pursuing sustainability initiatives. Most importantly, the Plan is a call-to-action that asks the entire Carolina community to enact change in their daily lives.

The Plan is anchored by a vision to scale our positive impact from each individual action to world-focused research. The desire to achieve sustainability at all scales established the strategic direction for the Plan. Six focus area teams with members from across the Carolina community, representing both academics and operations, contributed to the development of the Plan. Each thematic focus area includes three goals with related actions.

The Sustainability Plan charts the course for the University to advance and embed sustainability into its policies, decisions, and actions. The success of the plan will lie in the new organizational commitments, practices, and projects that, with the engagement of all Carolina community members, will carry these words on the page into action in the world.

Embedding sustainability actions, decisions, and knowledge into the daily life of the campus is key to the success of the Sustainability Plan. Each member of the University community can make a difference in their sphere of influence. Students can model sustainable behaviors, engage their peers, and direct their learning and experiences. Faculty are knowledge leaders, mentors, and role models. Staff maintain campus operations and business practices and demonstrate institutional commitment to sustainability. Administrators set the course, establish and communicate priorities, and remove obstacles. Everybody has a unique and important role to play in advancing sustainability initiatives across campus.

Group Making Personal Change and Staying Informed Participating in Events and Contributing Input Leading Initiatives and Developing Solutions
All UNC Campus
  • Reduce resource use and food waste
  • Make healthy choices
  • Purchase responsibly sourced products
  • Donate money to sustainability efforts
  • Keep track of sustainability issues and SSP progress
  • Join the SSP listserve
  • Attend and participate in sustainability events
  • Participate in community service projects
  • Submit sustainability concerns
  • Submit project proposals
  • Apply to fund projects
  • Post to social media campaigns
  • Join a focus area Working Group, Project Team or Pilot Team
  • Develop and launch innovative solutions
  • Be a champion for sustainability topics
  • Lead by example and encourage others to pursue sustainable decisions
  • Make changes to your daily habits
  • Engage in sustainability research or courses
  • Work on a student outreach campaign
  • Stay informed on sustainability topics
  • Integrate sustainability into course topics
  • Lead sustainability research and projects
  • Make improvements in your workspace
  • Flag opportunities for sustainable improvements
  • Share sustainability best practices
  • Dynamic resource with updates and tracking on sustainability progress
  • Portal for submitting ideas, communication and marketing of events
  • Platform and toolkits for organizing teams and supporting projects

Project Team

The project was led by an executive working group with leaders from across the University. They met weekly between March and October 2015 to guide the development of the Sustainability Plan.

  • Brad Ives, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises
  • Cindy Pollock Shea, Sustainability Director
  • Kristin Blank, Sustainability Research and Outreach Manager
  • Carol Hee, Research Director, Center for Sustainable Enterprise
  • Jeff Hughes, Director, Environment Finance Center
  • Jill Coleman, Project Manager, Facilities Planning

Working Groups

The team was supplemented by a diverse group of representatives to build the six focus areas.


  • Buck Goldstein, Professor of the Practice, Economics; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Business; Entrepreneur-in-Residence
  • Richard Harrill, Director, Campus Y
  • Rob Bruce, Director, Friday Center; Adjunct Assistant Professor
  • Chantarella de Blois, Graduate Student, Business
  • Mary Beth Koza, Director, Environment, Health, and Safety
  • Mark Little, Director, NC Strategic Growth; Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
  • Steve May, Associate Professor, Communication Studies
  • Gordon Merklein, Executive Director, Real Estate Development
  • Charles Merritt, Professor of the Practice, Business; Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Economics
  • Heather Payne, Assistant Director, Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation and Resources
  • Jim Porto, Clinical Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Management
  • Andrew Stowe, Student, Business Administration
  • Jason West, Associate Professor, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
  • Phil Barner, Director, Energy Services
  • Mike Aitken, Professor and Chair, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
  • Roberto Blanco, Assistant Professor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Harmony Bouley, Student, Environmental Science, Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee
  • Charlie Egan, Student, Business Administration and Environmental Studies; Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee
  • Dana Haine, Science Educator, Institute for the Environment’s Environmental Resource Program
  • Jenna Hartley, Graduate Student, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
  • Len Hoey, Engineering Manager, NCDEACS Utility Savings Initiative
  • Sally Hoyt, Stormwater Systems Engineer, Energy Services
  • Heidi Kim, Assistant Professor, English and Comparative Literature
  • Jean Lin, Student, Environmental Science and Geography
  • Matt Fajack, Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration
  • Chengliang Fan, Student; Environmental Science and Economics
  • Victor Flatt, Professor, Environmental Law; Director, Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation, and Resources
  • Greg Gangi, Associate Director, Institute for the Environment; Senior Lecturer, Environment and Ecology
  • Kenneth Miskow, Operations Manager, Carolina Union
  • Sharon Myers, Environmental and Stormwater Compliance Officer, Environment, Health, and Safety
  • John Nichols, Energy Analytics Specialist, Moseley Architects (UNC-CH alum)
  • Susie Proctor, Student, Environmental Science, Epsilon ETA
  • Trevor Sprague, Graduate Student, Business Administration
  • Damon Waitt, Director, UNC Botanical Garden
  • Amy Cooke, Director, Undergraduate Studies; Lecturer, Environment and Ecology
  • BJ Tipton, Program Manager, Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Paula Alexander, Director, Sustainable Business, Burt’s Bees
  • Aaron Bachenheimer, Director, Fraternity & Sorority Life and Community Involvement; Clinical Instructor, Education
  • Debbie Bousquet, Facilities Management Coordinator, Housing and Residential Education
  • Terri Buckner, Project Manager, Information Technology Services
  • Janet Kelly-Scholle, Director, Finance Communications and Training
  • Tony Liu, Student, Geography
  • Derek Lochbaum, Director, Trademarks and Licensing
  • Scott Mouw, Recycling Section Chief, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
  • Chris Payne, Ph.D Student, Ecology – Orange County Waste Management
  • Martha Pendergrass, Director, Procurement Services
  • Natalia Posthill, Recycling Coordinator, Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Lori Del Negro, Supervisor, Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratories
  • Matt Fajack, Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration
  • Mike Freeman, Director, Auxiliary Services
  • John Gorsuch, Director, Student Stores
  • Richie Grimsley, Assistant Director, Athletic Facility Planning and Management
  • Tom Reeves, Marketing Manager, Carolina Dining Services
  • Herb Richmond, Assistant Director, Training, and Team Cleaning Project Manager, UNC Housekeeping
  • Anna Wu, University Architect; Assistant Vice Chancellor, Facilities Operations, Planning & Design
  • Mai Nguyen, Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning
  • Taffye Benson Clayton, Associate Vice Chancellor, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs; Clinical Assistant Professor, Education
  • Taylor Bates, Student, Public Policy and Economics; President, Resident Hall Association
  • Lynn Blanchard, Director, Carolina Center for Public Service; Clinical Associate Professor, Health Behavior
  • Linda Convissor, Director, Community Relations
  • Nick Didow, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • Rachel Eberhard, Graduate Student, City and Regional Planning
  • Jean Elia, Associate Provost, Strategy and Special Projects
  • Megan Hoert Hughes, Research Associate, Institute for the Environment’s Environmental Resource Program
  • Lexi Kay, Outreach Coordinator, Environmental Finance Center
  • Gary Nelson, Professor, Social Work; Associate Director, Jordan Institute for Families
  • Amy Preble, Recycling and Outreach Coordinator, Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Danielle Spurlock, Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning
  • Katie Turner, Graduate Certificate, Journalism; Executive Assistant, Office of Faculty Governance
  • Megan Wooley, Community Sustainability Planner, Town of Chapel Hill
  • Alice Ammerman, Professor, Nutrition; Director, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention; Co-chair, Food for All Theme
  • Laura Linnan, Professor, Health Behavior; Director, Carolina Collaborative for Research on Work & Health
  • Scott Myers, Director, Food and Vending, Carolina Dining Services
  • Bill Goa, Director, Campus Recreation
  • Neasha Graves, Community Outreach and Engagement Core, Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility; Research Associate, Institute for the Environment’s Environmental Resource Program
  • Claire Lorch, Education Coordinator, Carolina Campus Community Garden
  • Lauren Mangili, Associate Director, Campus Recreation; Director, Fitness
  • Julie Messina, Director, Clinical Skills and Patient Simulation Center and Office of Continuing Professional Development, School of Medicine
  • Ashley Nicklis, Senior Director, Benefits & Work Life Programs
  • Mary Beth Powell, Senior Project Officer, Active Living by Design
  • Amanda Simmons, Transportation Demand Manager
  • Laura Smith, Graduate Student, Nutrition
  • Heather Socha, Business Services Coordinator, Carolina Population Center
  • Audrey Williams, Manager, Courts Group, School of Government
  • Seonae Yeo, Associate Professor, Nursing
  • Don Hornstein, Distinguished Professor, Law; Lecturer, Environment and Ecology
  • Brad Ives, Associate Vice Chancellor, Campus Enterprises
  • Alex Ashton, Administrator, Real Estate Development
  • Elinor Benami, Ph.D. Student, Environment and Resources, Stanford University (UNC-CH alum)
  • Bill Bobbitt, Founder and CEO, Move Loot (UNC-CH alum)
  • Stewart Boss, Deputy Press Secretary, U.S. Senate Office (UNC-CH alum)
  • Tavey Capps, Sustainability Director, Duke University
  • Scott Hultman, Professor, Surgery; Division Chief, Plastic and Reconstruction Surgery
  • Josh Kastrinsky, Communications Specialist, Finance Communications and Training
  • Masaya Konishi, Director, Facilities Planning
  • Adam Lovelady, Assistant Professor, Government
  • Meisha McDaniel, Graduate Student, Business Administration; Chair, Net Impact
  • Henry McKoy, Ph.D. Student, City and Regional Planning
  • Josh Penn, Graduate Student, City and Regional Planning
  • Kathia Toledo, Student, Environmental Studies and Geography; Leader, EcoReps
  • Brian Vaughn, Student, Environmental Studies; Sierra Student Coalition
  • Christopher Wedding, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Business
  • Carol L. Folt, Chancellor
  • Jim Dean, Provost
  • Larry Band, Director, Institute for the Environment
  • Jaye Cable, Chair, Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology
  • Bruce Cairns, Professor, Surgery; Chair, Faculty Council
  • Peter Coclanis, Director, Global Research Institute
  • Judith Cone, Special Assistant to the Chancellor, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Linda Convissor, Director, Community Relations
  • Jean Elia, Associate Provost for Strategy and Special Projects
  • Barbara Entwisle, Vice Chancellor for Research
  • Matt Fajack, Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration
  • Karen Gil, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Kevin Guskiewicz, Senior Associate Dean, Natural Sciences
  • Richard Harrill, Director, Campus Y
  • Jonathan Hartlyn, Senior Associate Dean, Social Sciences
  • Andy Johns, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
  • Jim Johnson, Professor, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • Masaya Konishi, Director, Facilities and Planning
  • Tammy McHale, Senior Associate Dean, Finance and Planning
  • Jay Noren, Senior Associate Dean, School of Public Health
  • Terry Rhodes, Senior Associate Dean, Fine Arts and Humanities
  • David Routh, Vice Chancellor, University Development
  • Doug Shackelford, Dean, Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • Carol Tresolini, Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives
  • Meredith Weiss, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration
  • Anna Wu, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Facilities Operations, Planning & Design
  • Community Town Hall
  • Student Town Hall
  • Staff Town Hall
  • Faculty Town Hall
  • Thematic Town Hall
  • Earth Day Town Hall
  • Sustainability Advisory Committee
  • Sustainability Communications Working Group
  • Health and Wellness Leadership Team
  • Working Group
  • Employee Forum
  • Deans Council

What is Climate Neutrality?

A climate-neutral campus is defined as having no net carbon (greenhouse gas) emissions.

What is Water Neutrality?

Water neutrality involves achieving a natural balance between the water we use and the hydrologic system that surrounds us.

What is Zero Waste?

The University move towards Zero Waste refers to our efforts to reduce our landfill contributions by 90% by diverting all compostable and recyclable materials, and by limiting non-recyclable/non-compostable materials that are purchased or used on campus. We recognize that some medical and chemical wastes are inherent to laboratory research and are working with specialists on campus to identify appropriate strategies for these more challenging waste streams.

What is Real Food?

“Real food”, as described by the Real Food Challenge, includes food that meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • Local and Community-Based, coming from locally owned farms and businesses, and is fresh and seasonal
  • Fair, meaning that those involved in the food’s production and distribution work in safe and fair conditions and receive a living wage
  • Ecologically Sound, coming from farms and businesses that are good environmental stewards and minimize pollution
  • Humane, sourced from farms where animals are raised with access to natural environments and behavior

What is Community?

For the purposes of the Sustainability Plan, “community” refers to all students, staff, faculty, and visitors who interact with Carolina, as well as members of the more general North Carolina community that we interact with in Chapel Hill and beyond.

What is Triple Bottom Line?

“Triple bottom line” sustainability encompasses environmental quality along with societal well-being and economic vitality. At UNC-Chapel Hill, we believe that this integrated three-pillar framework is essential for achieving prosperity, maintaining affordability and access, and improving our environmental footprint.