Led by:

Chad King, Director, Center for Sustainability

TBD: Chair, Sustainability Council

Denver and the Rocky Mountain West face many sustainability challenges in the present and near future.  These include increased traffic congestion, a loss of local farms, city growth and gentrification and challenges to the region’s water supply. But Denver also benefits from many opportunities that signal a more sustainable future. Our city has the 13th highest share of bike commuters among metropolitan centers, is focusing more on mobility options with billions of dollars of investment in light and commuter rail lines, and is attracting entrepreneurs and Millennials bringing energy for sustainable solutions. These challenges and opportunities place DU in a unique position to engage in these issues, focusing research, teaching and experiential learning on our campus and community sustainability practices. 


Working Groups

Sustainable DU

Chad King

Director, Center for Sustainability


Chair, Sustainability Council

The Sustainability Council at DU has been working for more than 10 years on creating a just and sustainable future, which is outlined in their 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, and strengthened in the work that the Cultivating a Sustainable Community task force produced in their 2015 report Just and Sustainable Future Initiative. 

Emerging from the council’s efforts, the Center for Sustainability was founded in the summer of 2012. Due to the deep commitment of faculty, staff and students to campus-wide sustainability initiatives, sustainability was a common theme during the strategic planning processes. Therefore, as stated in DU IMPACT 2025, DU will continue to expand its focus on helping to create a just and sustainable future. These efforts are being led by various entities across campus:

  • Sustainability Council – consisting of elected and appointed members with volunteers from units across campus. This council helps connect groups across campus, generate ideas and share information.
  • Center for Sustainability – the operational arm of the Sustainability Council. The Center provides leadership and coordinates sustainability efforts across campus. The main goal being to engage students and incorporate sustainability within all aspects of university operations.
  • Executive Committee – Consists of leadership in both the Sustainability Council and the Center for Sustainability, as well as University leadership. This committee establishes guidelines, plans and oversees performance.
  • Facilities Management – Helps implement sustainability goals throughout campus operations including planning and design, construction, business operations and physical plant operations.”
We have 25 goals we aim to accomplish before 2025. Those are elaborated on below but you can also see them here:  25×25

For more information, please see below and visit:

Focus Area: ENERGY


In support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, NREL is providing Solar PV Screenings to universities seeking to go solar. After DU was selected as a grant recipient, using the System Advisor Model (SAM) and Aurora model, NREL conducted an initial techno-economic assessment of solar PV feasibility. NREL then provided DU with customized results, including the cost-effectiveness of solar PV, recommended system size, estimated capital cost to implement the technology, and estimated life cycle cost savings.

In January, the Board of Trustees (BOT) called for University leadership to take three immediate actions in regards to climate change, divestment and sustainability. This was done in consultation with subject-area experts on campus as well as those who will be tasked with implementation. Over the course of the last four months, a working group developed a set of recommendations, which were approved by the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees on June 9, 2017. The four main recommendations are as follows:

  • Statement of Commitment and Principles: On June 9th, the BOT passed a Climate Change Resolution that resolves that the BOT supports and encourages actions that may subsequently be developed as a means of recognizing the importance of climate change and in the fulfillment of its role as an institution of higher learning committed to an extraordinary sustainability program that distinguishes the university while addressing climate change in a meaningful and on-going manner.
  • Establishing a revolving “green fund” with increasing the fund through donor support to investigate new efforts related to sustainability in the operations of the University.
  • Further investment in the University’s sustainability efforts, both financially and in terms of human capital that will include new organizational structures and reporting. This has led to the formation of a working group that engages staff whose role encompasses work on sustainability issues.
  • Working with the Board of Trustees and investment managers to make available an alternative type of investment vehicle that may offer donors the ability to have their contributions invested in a manner that aligns with their social objectives regarding sustainability.

Our ambitious goals for 2025:

  • DU to achieve excellence in sustainability
  • AASHE STARS Platinum
  • 45% carbon footprint reduction
  • 5% on-site renewable energy
  • 30% “green fleet” of DU vehicles
  • Power Purchase Agreement for at least 20% energy in which DU retains the renewable energy credits.

Last Updated: 9/28/17

Focus Area: Mobility


Partnership with Lyft:

The University of Denver is partnering with Lyft to provide discounts on shared rides for the DU community. Our goal is to improve access to the light rail station, while evaluating the need for a shuttle or late ride home service.  DU students, faculty, staff and friends of DU with a email address can sign up here to get $2.25 off up to 10 rides*. Both new and existing Lyft users can take advantage of these discounts.

To be eligible, you must:

  1. Have a email address
  2. Enter the two discount codes found on the sign-up page
  3. Select Lyft Line when requesting a ride (Lyft’s shared ride option)
  4. Rides must begin and end in the DU area (See map attached).

Discounted rides will continue through the spring quarter for a limited number of total rides.  Sign up today!

*Limited to first 150 users.

Last Updated: 9/5/17



A committee is working to polish the food sustainability policy that has been drafted in order to approve the policy within the next 1-2 years.

Real Food ChallengeIn the Spring of 2014, students and staff reviewed Sodexo’s current food purchasing to find that 3% of the food brought into the DU campus dining, was considered “real” food. We are proud to announce that Sodexo has raised that percentage from 3% in 2014 to 19% in the 2016-2017 academic year!

University of Denver Food Pantry: We are also excited to announce the launch of the University of Denver Food Pantry. The food pantry is located in the Center for Sustainability, Towers North, on the 1st floor. The food pantry is open to everyone with a DU ID. For fall quarter, the Pantry is open from 4:00pm-8:00pm the 3rd Wednesday of each month.

It is also open on an appointment basis by emailing

Last Updated: 2/12/18

Focus Area: Curriculum


We are working in partnership with CCESL this year to create a faculty cluster interested in exploring the intersection of sustainability and social justice in community engaged class projects, research, and teaching practices.

In March, we are partnering with IRISE, the DU Denver Water Law Review, DULCES, the DU Latino Center, and DU Native American Community Relations to host a series of films leading up to the “Forging Sovereignty, Self Determination, and Solidarity through Water Law” symposium.
If you are interested in being a part of this, please let us know here:
  • Metro Denver Nature Alliance (mDNA):

After submitting a pilot project to the administration for consideration that would recruit a cluster of DU faculty to explore how interdisciplinary research, teaching and learning would enhance the Metro Denver Nature Alliance’s efforts, we are developing a second draft based off of their feedback. Partnering with CCESL’s Community Engaged Fellows program, project leaders have explored faculty and staff interest in this topic. 28 faculty, staff and students came together this winter to learn more about the mDNA and hear about additional sources of support to undertake projects in partnership with the alliance. Individuals from a wide range of university disciplines attended the meeting including: business, chemistry, biology, geography, psychology, social work, anthropology, education, and law.

mDNA is also involved with the U.S. Forest Service’s initiative to co-create a Denver Urban Field Station, an exciting new research collaborative in Denver that is focused on understanding socio-ecological systems in urban areas. The Denver Urban Field Station could fulfill the research needs of the Metro Denver Nature Alliance, as well as become a resource for partners interested in urban ecology and human-nature connections. To explore collaboration and generate interest, we hosted an information sessional on June 1st where 14 faculty members, 6 staff members, 3 graduate students and 7 community partners attended.

Last Updated: 2/12/18