Catholic University has pledged to pursue a range of sustainability measures.

These measures are related to building energy use, green education, transportation, waste reduction, grounds maintenance, and reporting at both the local and national levels. These sustainability commitments are meant to empower and engage all Catholic University community members through realistic and attainable outcomes that will reduce our carbon footprint. 

Campus Sustainability Plan

In Fall 2020, the University released a 5-year sustainability plan. The plan is inspired by programs implemented at similar higher-education institutions. The initiatives and actions listed in the plan are intended to generate positive environmental change, promote education and research, preserve resources, raise awareness, reduce expenditures, generate exciting dialogue, and create new Catholic University community engagement touchpoints. This Plan will have a beneficial impact on the University and the world.

Read our FY21 Progress Report to see how Catholic U has adopted and started implementing the Sustainability Plan.


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    College Consensus

    College Consensus ranked Catholic University as 21st on a list of the Best Green Colleges in the United States, in recognition of Catholic U’s embrace of renewable energy.
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    The Princeton Review

    Catholic University was included in the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green College: 2022 Edition based on the University's sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. This is the second year in a row that Catholic University is included in the guide.
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    The UI GreenMetric World Rankings

    Catholic University was ranked by the UI GreenMetric World Rankings program as the 10th most sustainable campus in the U.S. and 415th most sustainable campus in the world based on academic and operational sustainability programs.
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    League of America Bicyclists

    The League of American Bicyclists presented Catholic University with a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly University award. Catholic U joins 208 colleges and universities in 47 states and the District of Columbia taking action to address the health and environmental challenges facing America by creating campuses more welcoming to people who bike.

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    Arbor Day Foundation

    The Catholic University of America was honored with a 2020 Tree Campus Higher Education® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management. Trees are a critical component of cleaning our air, beautifying the campus, and providing a cozy space to study between classes. Currently, there are 403 campuses across the United States with this recognition.


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    Laudato Si' Action Platform

    In November 2021, the Catholic University of America became one of the first universities in the world to sign onto a new Vatican initiative, the Laudato Si' Action Platform. Inspired by the 2015 encyclical on care for creation, Laudato Si', CatholicU is committing to a Laudato Si' plan for environmental sustainability.
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    District of Columbia Mayor’s College and University Sustainability Pledge (CUSP)

    Nine District of Columbia higher education presidents including Catholic University’s President Garvey signed onto CUSP in 2012 and again in April 2019. This university-based collaborative approach to sustainability was the first of its kind in the nation. DC was the first city in the U.S. to form such a compact between its higher education sector and local government to advance sustainability. Working together in this public/private partnership, the signatories are working to make the District of Columbia the “Greenest College Town in America”.

    In 2019, in partnership with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, the universities committed to continue their support of sustainability initiatives, including: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing renewable energy use, engaging in climate resilience planning efforts, increasing waste diversion, and reducing impervious surfaces on campus.

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    Better Buildings Challenge

    In August 2019, Catholic University became a member in the Better Buildings Alliance, a U.S. Department of Energy program dedicated to promoting leadership in energy innovation. Catholic U also joined the program's Better Buildings Challenge to reduce the University's energy consumption by 20% by the year 2026. Catholic University is one of 30+ colleges and universities sharing best practices and engaging with technical experts to advance energy savings goals.