Sustainable Clark

Sustainable Clark

What IS Sustainable Clark?

It's you. It's me. It's every one of us. We are all able of making a difference in the world: everything you do, every day, matters. Here at Clark we act on that principle. It is who we are. Together we are Sustainable Clark.

The mission of Sustainable Clark's Office of Sustainability is to cultivate a greener campus by facilitating collaboration between and among students, faculty, administrative departments and staff. We offer resources to recognize system failures and help innovate solutions; empower the Clark community to collaborate on creating campus-based solutions & programs and serve as an integral partner in their implementation; and strive to build community awareness around social, economic and environmental issues. We make change happen. The campus is a learning laboratory; constructive ideas are welcome and viable projects are supported. With over 130 courses addressing issues of sustainability and 10+ sustainability-oriented student organizations, Sustainable Clark is fully engaged in proactive sustainability, on and off campus.

Clark's long history of engagement and our current initiatives are clear indicators of the University's commitment to sustainability. We invite you to explore our website to learn more about Sustainable Clark and how you can make a difference.

News & Items of Note

Clark Joins 'We Are Still In' Coalition of higher education, business leaders, investors, cities and states to to express continued support for the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement regardless of the Trump administration; full story here, and more information on this ground-breaking coalition here.

Princeton Review 2017 Green Guide grades Clark a 91 out of 100 (A-); Sierra's 'Cool Schools' ranks Clark #17 in the US; Aspen Inst., Forbes & Entrepreneur agree: Right up there with institutions known for their highly-visible sustainability features, Clark's green beating heart shines through! We might not have a giant solar array, but Clark has a long and strong tradition of stewardship and innovation, on and off campus... Read more

Solar-Powered! Shaich Family Alumni & Student Engagement Center: Clark's newest building boasts a full roof solar array designed to provide up to 50% of the building's energy needs, a landmark for the city of Worcester and for the University (in 2017, the actual number was 58% of total demand!).You can check the minute-to-minute kW harvest on a live feed. Additional solar panels may be added to the parking lot in the future, bringing the ASEC closer to net zero energy (more detail here or here). But solar is just the start of this LEED Certified building's sustainability features... Read more

Student Sustainability Fund Awards $20,000 to Projects Annually: Such a great variety of sustainbility projects! The 2018 SSF award winners include a permanent information kiosk for Clark's Hadwen Arboretum; in-room recycling bins for first-year Wright Hall; expanded composting capacity in the Community Garden and the residential houses; and funding for a campus-wide Repair Fair. 2017 SSF project funding provided outdoor recycling bins on the Green, rainwater harvesting equipment to collect from Kneller Athletic Center roof and use for irrigation, cigarette butt receptacles across campus, and a water bottle filling station in Dodd Hall. 2016 SSF project awards included a water bottle filling station in Wright Hall, compost bins at the Bickman Fitness Center (for paper towels) and Blackstone Hall, a second donation bin for the Community Thrift Store outside the Academic Commons, helped Choices provide Diva Cups at cost to students, and supported massive improvements to campus irrigation systems to reduce water use. The 2014-15 SSF awards funded reusable "People Towels" for Clark Cougar Athletics teams and Bickman Fitness Center users, the installation of 5 more water bottle filling stations in residence halls and academic buildings... Read more

Recent Green Campus Improvements: Just as sustainability is a journey that continues to evolve, the University is continuously seeking to improve our footprint. Some of this takes the form of projects and physical upgrades, ranging from incremental to significant, and much of that occurs during summer break. Over the summer months in 2018, we upgraded a transformer to supply the Kneller's extra AC demand during large events, eliminating the need for renting dirty diesel generators. Custodial services has now fully switched to microfibre cleaning cloths which are washed on-site in new energy-efficient appliances and 10 vacuums were replaced with new hepa-filter ones.Adding to the massive technical upgrades our irrigation system received in 2017 (rain sensors, moisture meters, remote control clocks), this summer we added weather modeling, leading to further 10% reductions in water use on top of the previous 15-20%. The parking garage's stairs are now enclosed, which will eliminate the use of salt and chemicals during the winer months. Some summer project sustainability improvements are smaller in scale, for example a rental building's ancient central heating system was replaced with smaller, more efficient apartment-controlled units, anf the plants from the Commencement stage were installed in several campus landscaped areas. The summer of '17: Several new electric vehicles were added to the campus fleet. A significant improvement was the additon of an auxilary electric boiler to capture and use excess power production from the cogenration engine, thereby reducing the volume of natural gas in the main boilers and reducing the wasted electricity! In Summer 2016 we...Read more

Clark Wins National AND Regional EPA Awards: In 2015 Clark received two awards in recognition of outstanding success and initiative in reducing waste on campus. Clark was the only EPA awardee to receive two awards for different programs in the same year, for WasteWise and Food Recovery efforts.Read more

LEEP Projects & Sustainable Clark: LEEP and sustainability have a lot in common, starting with the opportunity to transform the world for the better and developing skill sets that transcend academic knowledge to address the challenges of an uncertain future. LEEP projects that directly impact Clark's campus and our environmental footprint are the result of Sustainable Clark's support of the LEEP initiative... Read more

Energy & Climate

Clark's Bold Climate Action Plan — Net Neutral by 2030: Clark University released its Climate Action Plan  (CAP) in 2009, detailing mitigation strategies for the University to reduce its greenhouse gas toward two goals: an interim goal of reduced emissions 20% below 2005 levels by 2015 and climate neutrality (net zero greenhouse gas emissions) by the year 2030. Clark signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in June 2007.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Meet Goal but Creeping Up: As of the calendar reporting year 2017, Clark University's emissions remain below the CAP's 2015 interim goal, but show the 3rd year of upward creep. 2017's carbon footprint is 1.7% larger than 2016, which was 2% larger than 2015. The ultimate goal of net zero emissions by 2030 is very ambitious. Complete details of 2017 and all prior years greenhouse gas emissions are in the annual CAP Updates... Read more

Clark Invests in Solar: Beginning in January 2014, Clark is actively supporting and benefitting from a local solar energy farm operated by Solar Flair Energy... Read more

Track the Solar at Shaich Family Alumni & Student Engagement Center: How many kiloWatt hours produced today? How many pounds of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions avoided this week? Check out the very cool real-time ASEC Solar Power Tracker!

Residential Hall Washer & Dryer Upgrade: New washers and dryers were installed in the halls in 2016; not only are they energy-efficient, but dryers can be programmed in increments and at different temperatures, an improvement on the old one-size-fits all. Plus, a real-time app lets you know when the laundry...Read more

New Cogeneration Engine Operating as of January 2013: Ground-breaking in its time, Clark's old cogeneration engine cranked faithfully away underneath Jonas Clark Hall from 1982 until 2012, producing electricity for central campus and capturing the waste heat from electrical generation in a complex water loop that provides thermal energy-heat-to many campus buildings... Read more

Your French Fry Oil = Building Heat: In a multi-year collaborative project, Clark's fry oil from the cafeteria was recycled into biodiesel that heated a campus building at 138 Woodland St., until the oil burner was replaced by natural gas. The vegetable oil was collected and processed into biodiesel by a local small business, assisted by Clark students... Read more

'Smart Rooms' Get Smarter: Clark classrooms and meeting spaces equipped with projectors and other media equipment now have a much smaller carbon footprint... Read more

New Hand Dryers Reduce Waste, Energy: Energy-efficient air hand dryers were first installed in bathrooms in the University Center, Jonas Clark, and Academic Commons, reducing waste from paper towels. Electric dryers are now standard throughout University buildings where noise is not a factor. The super-efficient model uses 80% less energy than conventional blown-air hand dryers, and dries hands completely and sanitarily in less than 15 seconds... Read more

Vending Machines Upgraded: Drink vending machines are now Energy Star models, equipped with Vending Misers, and use up to 55% lower energy use than standard units. Read more

Atwood Hall Lighting Upgrade: Lighting fixtures that date from the 1970's were recently replaced in the Atwood Hall auditorium...Read more

National Grid's Smart Grid & Sustainability Hub: Clark students serve as 'ambassadors' to tour visitors around the latest energy-saving home appliances and provide information about smart grid metering and connectivity... Read more

Reducing Waste

Clark Composts! in ALL Residence Halls: "If it was ever alive, you can compost it" — Clark Composts! One of very few colleges in the nation to be so bold, Clark rolled out an innovative compost collection program in Johnson-Sanford, Wright, and Dodd Halls in Fall 2013...Read more

Clark's Student-Run Community Thrift Store: Over 120 Tons Diverted from Landfill: The wildly popular student-run Community Thrift Store, now in its eigthyear, was founded by students to reduce move-out waste and provide a sustainable, affordable shopping alternative... Read more

Lots of Firsts Toward a Zero Waste Campus: Spree Day 2018 joined the growng list of Zero Waste events at Clark, such as Class of 2022 Welcome, Spree Day 2015 & 2016, ClarkiePalooza, and many more. Clark's new Zero Waste Event Guide is available for anyone to use, and the Green Mentality Survey showed that 87% of respondants would like to see Zero Waste as a campus goal... Read more

Dining Services Introduces 'Choose to Reuse' green-to-go containers in the Bistro Cafe; Lean Path in the Kitchen: Already providing sustainable, compostable cardboard and starch-ware take out containers, Dining Services has gone further with Choose to Reuse. No more waste from take-out containers! For only $5... Read more

Clark Wins MassRecycle, Three Years in a Row: In 2014 Clark won MassRecycle 'Best Student Effort' among Massachusetts colleges and universities for its innovative and successful dorm composting program! In 2012 & 2013, Clark won either first or second in two categories of this state-wide competitionRead more

Recycling & Diversion Rate Keep Getting Better: Clark's 2017 recycling rate was 36% and the diversion rate was 58%, marking a continued and steady increase in our efforts. That means that of every pound of stuff 'thrown out' by the entire University, over half did NOT go to a landfill or incinerator! 2016 recycling rate was 36% and the diversion rate was 57%; 2015 recycling rate was 35%, and the diversion rate was 54%. The 2014 recycling rate was 34%, while the total diversion rate was 53%. 2013 recycling rate was 35%, up from 19% in 2011! Our ...Read more

Food, Water, Landscape

Food Recovery Network officially recognizes Clark Dining Services as a Food Recovery Verified account, after a two-year application and verification process. Clark Dining donates over 1,500 pounds of unsold surplus food to Rachel's Table in Worcester every year, keeping it from landfill and feeding people in need. Clark also received an "A" rating from peta2, for 'going above and beyond to provide all students with exceptional vegan food'. Our halal and kosher kitchens are very popular too!

Irrigation System Massive Upgrade: Thanks to an SSF grant won by Melissa Miller '16 and collaboration from Grounds Dept., Clark has moved into the 2000's with irrigation technology: we have a new Rainbird control and monitoring system that, among other features, allows staff to remotely manage irrigation...Read more

Clark Alum Brings Leafy Green Machine to Campus: Sponsored by Clark Dining Services and Sustainable Clark, a revolutionary hydroponic growing system - housed in a re-used shipping container - is now growing hyper-local food for Clarkies right in Lasry parking lot. Up to 40% of all the greens in Higgins Cafetria salad bar is from right across the street! The first harvest celebrated EarthWeek 2015, and the student gardeners are learning valuable hydroponics skills. Read more

Clark Commits to the Real Food Challenge: 20% 'Real' Food by 2020: President David Angel, Business Manager Paul Wykes, and Clark Dining Services (Sodexo) Director Heather Vaillette signed the Real Food Challenge in 2013, committing Clark Dining to serve 20% 'real' food as measured by expenses by 2020...
Read more

PETA Awards Clark an "A" on 2016 Vegan Report Card! A grade of A means Vegan-Friendly, and Clarkies report a 90% satisfaction rate with the range of vegan menu choices. We continue to be on the forefront of the shift by offering multiple healthy, cruelty-free vegan and vegetarian options for every meal, and are proud of acing the PETA test! Complete meal info and more is on the Clark Dining Services website.

Water Bottle Filling Stations Installed: Save over 508,500 plastic bottles to landfill by July 2016! In summer 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 'Hydration Stations' to refill your reusable water bottle with chilled, filtered water were installed on... Read more

Clark Wins National EPA Award in Food Recovery Challenge...Read more

Students Change the Clark Landscape with Rain Garden, Biodiversity Gardens...Read more

Water Efficiency Upgrades: Water efficient shower heads and toilets were installed across campus in 2011 and 2014... Read more

The Local Root Provides Clark Community Locally & Sustainably Grown Food...Read more


Electric Vehicles: Two new electric trucks began buzzing around the Clark campus as of 2014, more added in 2016 and 2017, all with zero emissions and zero pollutants!...Read more

Electric Bikes are now available free to Clark students from our partner the National Grid Sustainability Hub at 912 Main St.! Fun way to explore the Woo!

ECO Award Goes to Clark in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017...Read more

Clark's Electric Vehicle Charging Stations First in Central Massachusetts...Read more

Clark Joins NuRide, You Get Rewards for Greener Trips...Read more

Cycles of Change Offers Bike Repair Services, Clinic...Read more