Take our green tour

Sustainability has been part of the culture at Oregon State since way before sustainability became a buzzword. And students often lead the way.

For instance, students started a recycling program back in 1970. That’s a year before Oregon’s first-in-the-nation Bottle Bill, which refunded deposits on returned bottles and cans (and is considered the start of the modern recycling movement). Students also voted for a fee to buy renewable power, and Oregon State ranks first in the Pac-12 and fourth nationwide for buying energy from renewable sources.  Oregon State is also on Princeton Review's "Green Honor Roll". Oregon State enjoys its "Green Honor Roll" distinction alongside other universities such as Harvard, University of Washington and University of California-Santa Cruz.  Through the institution's environmentally conscious practices, policies and academic offerings, OSU demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainability. 

Criteria for Princeton's green review include a healthy and more sustainable campus life, student preparation for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges and the school’s overall dedication to environmental issues.  Being recognized by EPA as the second-largest purchaser of green power of any university in the United States is one of the the ways OSU meets and exceeds the Princeton Review's criteria.

That’s what we do at Oregon State. If we see a problem, we solve it. The world faces a lot of tough challenges. We see them as opportunities to rise up and meet them. It’s who we are. It’s who we’ve always been.

OSU's new energy center

The new Energy Center is the first LEED Platinum-rated power facility in America. The cogeneration facility recovers waste heat from steam and electricity generation to supply hot water and heat for campus buildings. And it reduces CO2 emissions by 38 percent compared to the old plant.


Oak Creek green roof

The Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture is a hub for interdisciplinary work integrating landscaping, green building technologies, community food systems, organic horticulture, natural history, science, the arts and cultural ecology.

Kelley Engineering Center exterior

Kelley Engineering Center was the first academic building in the country to be certified LEED Gold. Natural light reduces energy costs by up to 40 percent, and it also features a rooftop solar system for electricity and hot water, plus a rainwater collection system.

Kearney Hall exterior

One of the oldest buildings on campus, Kearney Hall earned a LEED Gold rating for its renovation, with 75 percent of construction debris targeted for recycling, and recycled content used for 16 percent of all materials in the building.

Students exercising

At Dixon Recreation Center, 22 elliptical machines are connected to the electric grid. Which means students literally help power the university.

ILLC solar panels

The new International Living-Learning Center uses rooftop solar panels for hot water throughout the building. It is expected to earn a LEED Gold rating. The Cascadia Market inside features fresh, organic and — where possible — local foods.  University Housing and Dining has it's own range of sustainability initiatives.