University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire
Campus Category: 
Four year and graduate institutions 5,000 – 15,000 student FTE

Contact Information

Associate Director
University Office of Sustainability
Education and Research:
  • Undergraduate and graduate coursework in climate change science and policy, marine sciences, sustainable engineering, environmental sociology, women’s studies, art and theatre, cultural heritage, organic agriculture, public health, and more. Also a sustainable living minor.
  • College of Life Science and Agriculture reorganized to expand leadership in sustainable food systems, natural resources and sustainable communities. 
  • Launched nation’s first dual major in EcoGastronomy in 2008, integrating sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition. The dual major is interdisciplinary, international (students must spend a semester studying in Italy at the University of Gastronomic Sciences), and experiential.
  • More than 750 undergraduates have taken Earth Sciences 405: Global Environmental Change in which they interview and play the roles of UNH administrators and staff, then negotiate campus emission reduction strategies they present to the UNH Energy Task Force. Other courses involve students in research that’s part of Carbon Solutions New England.
  • More than 60 faculty and staff across campus contributed to “The Sustainable Learning Community: One University’s Journey to the Future,” published by the University Press of New England in 2009.
  • Of the $99 million in external research dollars received by UNH (FY 08), more than 60% went to environmental research. Strengths include climate science and policy, fisheries management and restoration, marine sciences, environmental engineering, organic dairy management, rural and sustainable community development, and more. A UNH scientist served on the 2007 Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and in 2009 a UNH scientist received the Coastal America Partnership Award, the only environmental award of its kind given by the U.S. president.
  • Organic dairy research farm – first in the nation at a land-grant.
  • At the annual Undergraduate Research Conference – one of the nation’s largest -- students showcase research around sustainability, including topics like microbial fuel cells, sustainable community dinners, wind turbines, and more.
  • Student orgs include the Organic Garden Club, Ecological Advocates, Slow Food Campus Convivium, Engineers Without Borders, and UNH Energy Club.
  • A Sustainability Internship Program launched in 2009 has students working on sustainability for employers like Pax World Funds, Clean Air – Cool Planet, the Mount Washington Resort, USDA Forest Service, and others, participating in outside-the-classroom learning about sustainability, blogging, and presenting at the Undergraduate Research Conference.
  • Annual campus-wide dialogues since 2005 have focused on globalization, energy, democracy, poverty and health.


Campus Operations:
  • In 2009, UNH became the first university in the nation to use landfill gas as its primary fuel source, meeting up to 85% of campus needs. UNH will sell the associated renewable energy certificates (REC's) to help finance the capital costs of the project and invest in additional energy efficiency on campus. EcoLine™ and selling RECs are part of UNH’s climate action plan (“WildCAP”), which calls for reducing emissions 50% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 on the road to carbon neutrality by 2100. UNH was an early signer of the Presidents Climate Commitment.
  • Largest public transit system in New Hampshire. Most vehicles run on biodiesel and compressed natural gas. Ridership has doubled since 2000 and in FY08 exceeded 1.1 million trips -- a reduction of over 4 million private vehicle miles traveled and over 21,000 tons of CO2. Also increased on-campus housing; improved transit and bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure (including new bike lanes and bus shelters with solar power lighting); supported Amtrak Downeaster rail service and renovated the historic station on campus; and participated in GoLoco ridesharing. Designated as a “Best Workplace for Commuters” since 2004, in 2008 UNH won a Federal Transit Administration "Success in Enhancing Ridership Award.”
  • Over 2,300 campuses in North America are using the “Campus Carbon Calculator™,” which the UNH developed with Clean Air – Cool Planet in 2000. UNH has reported emissions from 1990-2007.
  • Received the first-in-the-nation Energy Star rating for residence halls in 2006. DeMeritt Hall, replaced in 2008, is LEED-Silver equivalent, and the now-ongoing renovation of James Hall is registered to seek LEED Certification; see
  • UNH Dining serves local cage-free eggs, local honey, and Fair Trade coffee; procures produce grown by the UNH Organic Garden Club; hosts an annual campus/community feast (breakfast through dinner) that showcases local food; replaced 17 traditional urinals with waterless ones; and diverts over a half million pounds of food waste via compost a year. ~ 16% of Dining's budget is spent on items grown, processed, or manufactured locally and regionally (within a 250 mile radius of UNH); see
  • Annual Thanksgiving powerdown, dorm energy challenge, RecycleMania competition
  • Green Cleaning Program: UNH uses Green Seal® products, energy and water saving processes and machines, less-resource intensive soap dispensers, etc. UNH Housekeeping estimates that through the use of greener products, more effective cleaners, and precise dispenser systems, they have decreased the amount of cleaning product used by approximately 50% in the past 15 years.


Administration and Finance:
  • The University Office of Sustainability, founded in 1997, is the nation’s oldest endowed sustainability program in higher education. Reflecting its leadership role of sustainability, the office reports to the Office of the Provost and its founding director, Tom Kelly, holds the title of Chief Sustainability Officer for the university.
  • UNH was the first New England land-grant university to sign the ACUPCC (February 2007) and is in the early leadership circle of signatories.
  • UNH's College of Life Science and Agriculture (COLSA) reorganized over the last two years to strengthen and expand its leadership in the interdisciplinary fields of sustainable food systems, natural resources and sustainable communities.
  • Sustainability was the overarching theme of 2009 commencement: all speeches and honorary degrees focused on sustainability; EcoLine™ was formally launched in the president’s speech; programs were printed on recycled paper and invitations were issued electronically; food scraps were composted; shuttle buses ran on biodiesel and CNG and reduced idling; porta-potties used environmentally friendly chemicals; students were encouraged to “recycle” their robes.
  • UNH joined AASHE from its first year of operation in 2006, and Chief Sustainability Officer Tom Kelly is on AASHE’s Advisory Council. UNH is also one of the founding members of the Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium.
  • UNH is one of the 90 campuses chosen to pilot AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) in 2008; see
  • As a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution, UNH engages the public around sustainability with a number of initiatives, including Carbon Solutions New England™; a public-private partnership that integrates science, technology, and policy to address the challenge of regional carbon neutrality; the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge, a grassroots effort that helps New Hampshire residents reduce their household carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 pounds per year; the New Hampshire Farm to School Program, which helps more than half of the state’s K-12 schools integrate local foods in their cafeterias; New Hampshire Center for a Food Secure Future, which promotes comprehensive, systemic approaches linking local and regional food, farms, and nutrition issues to improve the integrity of the entire food system; and UNH Cooperative Extension.