Life at WSU

  • Sustainability

    The Worcester State University Sustainability Office is committed to making the campus greener. We do that by installing energy- and water-efficient systems, implementing recycling programs, composting organic materials, and educating students and employees about various aspects of sustainability.

    Our primary focus is to help fulfill WSU’s commitment to the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, which states we will work to be near carbon neutral by 2050 and integrate sustainability into our curriculum. We do this by:

    • Partnering with WSU’s dining services provider, Chartwells, to compost about 4 tons of food per month every semester and about 25 tons per year—earning WSU recognition as a national winner of the EPA’s 2014 Food Recovery Challenge
    • Coordinating programs like Ditch the Dumpster and co-sponsoring WSU’s annual Sustainability/Food Day Fair
    • Hosting light-emitting diode (LED) bulb giveaways, free e-cycling events, and tree-planting days
    • Installing hydration stations in every building on campus
    • Ensuring that campus construction and renovation projects incorporate LEED design standards
    • Replacing traditional campus lighting with new energy-efficient LED lights
    • Collaborating with academic departments to develop educational programming about sustainability issues
    • And more

    Our efforts earned WSU recognition as “A Most Environmentally Responsible College” by The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2011, and 2010. In addition, our Shaughnessy Administration Building received the 2009 Green Building of America Award from the publication Real Estate and Construction Review.

  • Hydration Stations
    Hydration stations are bottle-filling stations that supplement traditional water bubblers around campus. Each campus building has at least one, and we also have installed them at the May Street Building and the Sagamore Campus.
    Single-Stream Recycling
    WSU initiated a single-stream recycling program in 2006. Blue recycling bins are located in all classrooms, offices, hallways, and high-traffic areas. All recyclable materials can be put into the same bin.

    Plastic: any plastic with recycling symbols 1-7 like soda, water, and juice bottles, clamshell containers, iced coffee cups, shampoo bottles, and more
    Cardboard: boxes, food containers, pizza boxes, hot beverage sleeves, and more
    Mixed paper: computer, notebook, cardstock, non-padded envelopes, file folders, magazines, catalogs, newspapers, paper beverage cups, and more
    Metal: aluminum and tin cans, paper clips, staples, foil food wrappers, and more
    Glass: bottles and jars


    Food waste: all food scraps and any item highly contaminated with food residue
    Styrofoam: hot coffee cups, clamshell containers, plates, and even items with recycling symbols
    Snack wrappers: snack bags, candy wrappers, wax-paper sandwich wrappers, and more
    Glassware: lab-ware and Pyrex dishes
    Miscellaneous: aerosol cans, padded envelopes, plastic utensils, plastic shopping bags, wooden coffee stirrers, and more.
    Food-Waste Composting Program
    WSU initiated its award-winning food-waste composting program in 2013 to make the campus more sustainable and prepare for the Massachusetts food-waste ban, which began in 2014. The goal is to divert food waste from a landfill so it can be used as a valuable resource. Food waste is organic matter that decomposes over time and becomes nutrient-rich compost that supplements soil, benefits agriculture, and reduces the amount of material in landfills.

    WSU composts an average of almost 4 tons of food waste per month—and about 25 tons per year. This food waste comes from the 2,000 meals per day served in our dining hall.

    WSU Case Study for RecycleWorks
    Sustainability/Food Day Fair
    WSU’s annual Sustainability/Food Day Fair is a 2-day extravaganza featuring a teach-in, farmers market, local-food barbecue, tours of the WSU Teaching Garden, hands-on lectures, exhibitors, movies, and much more. Our office partners with the Earth, Environment, and Physics Department and Urban Action Institute to organize this event.
    Ditch the Dumpster
    WSU’s annual Ditch the Dumpster is a 2-part event. We organize a donation drive in the spring—when students are moving out of the residence halls—to collect perfectly good items that would otherwise be thrown in a Dumpster. We then clean and sort the items and sell them at a yard sale during Move-In Day in the fall. We use the proceeds to purchase a sustainable item for the WSU campus. And we donate any unsold items.
    E-Waste and Shredding Event
    We host WSU’s free e-waste and shredding event each spring. We encourage students and employees to bring their old, unused electronics (anything with a plug) and sensitive personal documents such as bank statements to this event. We collect the e-waste for proper disposal and schedule a shredding truck to be available for free on-site, bulk shredding.
    Renewable Energy
    The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center awarded the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management $560,000 to fund a 105-kilowatt, roof-mounted solar photovoltaic installation on our Learning Resource Center in 2007. The solar panels generate over 140,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, which is enough energy to supply electricity to 20 homes of about 2,800 square feet each. It was funded by IRS Clean Renewable Energy Bonds and a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

    WSU Solar Energy Dashboard
  • icon
    Water bottles filled

    at hydration stations each semester

    900,000+ since stations were introduced

    Annual savings in electricity

    by switching to LED lighting

    WSU electricity purchases

    are from clean energy sources 

    Tons of e-waste

    this year was recycled in Mass.
    which creates jobs 



    Learning Resource Center
    Office 166

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