Sustainability Initiatives

Led by the Sustainability Office, Davidson is implementing many sustainability initiatives in an effort to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The programs we are working on now or have recently implemented are outlined below. To read in depth about the college's sustainable progress,download our Sustainability Annual Report (PDF).

Social Equity

All too often the social component of sustainability is left out. At Davidson College our students, faculty and staff are addressing issues of social equity and justice in many ways. For example, classes, Sustainability Office interns, and volunteers focus on environmental justice, food access, environmental education, green jobs and more. The Center for Civic Engagement leads efforts in fellowships, internships, grants, trips and service opportunities to connect students with local and global communities in meaningful ways. The Center for Civic Engagement, the Sustainability Office and others aim to support social entrepreneurship to develop innovative solutions to social problems.

Economic Prosperity & Financial Profitability

The Sustainability Office works with students, faculty, staff and alumni to find opportunities for financial profitability to help drive social equity and environmental integrity. We encourage entrepreneurship and using for-profit strategy to enhance sustainability education and implementation through workshops, providing resources for students, and working with individual sustainability entrepreneurs. The office also works with students and others in the campus community to explore the vast opportunities in sustainable business practices, finance, and investment. The whole systems approach of maximizing the triple bottom line, rather than each pillar individually, also leads to discussion and exploration of economic prosperity through sustainability.

Environmental Integrity

Davidson College is committed to creating a more environmentally-friendly campus, graduating students who are environmental stewards, prepared to be successful social entrepreneurs, and ready to become leaders in their communities. The Sustainability Office works with Physical Plant, Auxiliary Services, Residence Life, Business Services, and others in the Davidson College community to make our campus a greener place to live and work.

Dining Services

Davidson College Dining Services has been integrating sustainability into its operations for years. Its staff works with its suppliers, customers and employees to create and maintain sustainable business practices. Some of these efforts include purchasing local and organic foods, fair trade coffee, eggs from chickens raised in a cage-free environment, composting food waste, and providing used fryer-oil to local residents to use as bio-fuel. Learn more on the Dining Services website.

Davidson College Farm

The College Farm offers fresh, naturally grown, local produce to Davidson College students through the college's Dining Services operation. The farm is a stand-alone, business-based unit of the college and does not introduce additional costs to Dining Services. The farm grows naturally—no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. All of the seeds are Certified Organic, Non-GMO, and/or open-pollinated heirloom varieties.

Operations & Infrastructure

  • Monitor energy and water consumption in the residence halls with the Davidson College Energy and Water Dashboard
  • Physical Plant updated the steam plant with new boilers, reducing natural gas use by more than 15 percent
  • Cunningham Fine Arts Facility received LEED Silver status
  • In addition to eliminating phosphate products, and using low-VOC detergents, the Laundry has replaced chlorine bleach with activated oxygen bleach
  • Vail Commons cafeteria was retrofitted with LED lighting
  • Upper lights in Vail Commons cafeteria remain off on sunny days to save energy
  • Nisbet Fitness Center now has a set of energy-generating elliptical machines
  • Chill Out for Energy Conservation at Davidson College is a building temperature and scheduling policy implemented in 2005 to help the college conserve energy

Consumption & Waste  

  • Both the admissions and first-year housing processes are now paperless
  • The Davis Cafe made local, pasture-raised beef a permanent item on its menu
  • Patterson Court houses now use compostable cups at parties
  • PawPrint, a print management system, has reduced paper consumption by 23 percent campus-wide
  • WDAV adopted sustainable fundraising premiums, like porcelain travel mugs and foil-lined grocery totes
  • The Davidson Journal now uses 100 percent recycled paper and fits on fewer pages
  • Athletics purchased reusable ice packs for the training room
  • Most varsity teams have a team-set of re-useable water bottles
  • ITS is consolidating electronic office equipment (copiers, printers, fax machines) into single units
  • Routinely vendors are paid electronically instead of by check
  • Monthly and bi-weekly employees no longer receive printed pay stubs
  • As a member school of The Duke Endowment, Davidson has developed a sustainable, joint purchasing group to secure better pricing for "green" office, custodial, and facilities supplies
  • Office Max deliveries products to campus in re-useable totes, instead of cardboard boxes


  • The college continues to add hybrid vehicles and electric golf-carts to its fleet
  • All campus mowers are diesel-powered
  • Students, faculty, and staff can reduce their vehicle use by taking advantage of the Enterprise CarShare program on campus