About the SSI

Student Sustainability Initiative

The OSU Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI) is a student-fee funded, student-coordinated program within the Department of Student Leadership and Involvement that works to advance student efforts to create a culture of sustainability at OSU. This work falls into three general categories: (a) actions and campaigns directly influencing OSU’s sustainability, (b) education on sustainability issues, and (c) empowerment of students to tackle their own vision of a better world. 


Our Mission

Our mission, in pursuing this vision, is to advance student efforts in creating a culture of sustainability at OSU through action, education, and opportunity. Our vision is for student efforts at OSU to create a culture of sustainability and empower a new generation of leaders.


In April, 2003, student Justin Fleming submitted a proposal decision package to the Student Incidental Fees Committee (SIFC), with intentions of greatly advancing recycling and waste reduction efforts at OSU. After considerable debate in both the Graduate and Undergraduate Senates, the fee proposal went to mediation, where it was eventually approved at $1.85 per student, per term. In February 2006 Justin developed a student advisory board to help manage both the budget and the growing list of sustainability related projects. The newly named Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI) worked with Justin on several projects developed to reduce the ecological footprint of OSU and advance sustainability awareness. In April 2007 Oregon State students voted to increase student fees by $8.50 per student per term to fund 100% renewable energy for the university. The SSI was charged, in part, with overseeing those offsets.

Since 2007, the Student Sustainability Initiative has grown and flourished. From a single-project, all-hands-on-deck approach, the organization has grown to addressing six key areas simultaneously. Today, these areas are Energy, Food, Landscape, Transportation, Water, and Waste Reduction. Tomorrow, they may well be something different. Though established to simply oversee the sustainable fee, the SSI has become much more than a governing body.

This growth has mirrored the breadth and depth of sustainability interests held by the student body we are charged with representing. As students become more involved, more passionate, and more active, the SSI is moving towards a supporting and enabling - rather than initiating - role. Someday, we hope to be unnecessary. Until then, we will continue to grow and change in the ways wee represent and support student interests in sustainability at OSU.

Learn more about each year of our history:


Areas of Focus

  • ENERGY Maximize energy efficiency by reducing energy consumption and shifting towards using renewable energy sources
  • FOOD Increase the presence of foods that are produced sustainably and connect students to their food sources.
  • LANDSCAPE Utilize green spaces at OSU in an ecologically friendly manner and maintain an educational  garden. 
  • TRANSPORTATION Reduce dependency on fossil fuels and make alternative forms of transportation safe, accesible, and exciting to the OSU community
  • WASTE REDUCTION Encourage reduction of material use and the reuse and responsible disposal of materials through waste diversion initiatives. 
  • WATER Conserve OSU and community water resources through technological and lifestyle changes in order to prevent degradation of water systems. 


  • AWARENESS Provide information and visibility about sustainability.  Educating about the needs, opportunities and available resources.
  • EMPOWERMENT Provide the resources students need to further their visions of sustainability on campus. Encourage students to take initiative, and making sure they feel they’re capable of doing so.
  • LEADERSHIP Take an active role in facilitating others’ empowerment and ability to take an active role in their own development as leaders.
  • PARTNERSHIP Connect organizations within campus and greater community, and integrate sustainability into every OSU department.
  • INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT Assist, encourage, promote, and advocate for movement by the institution towards a sustainable future.

Get Involved

To get involved, join our listserv, follow us on LinkedInFacebook, or Ecologue, join our group on LinkedIn, or contact one of our group coordinators, or stop by the Student Sustainability Center between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, during the school year.