Taking Responsibility

Addressing one of the world’s most pressing problems, climate change, requires developing scientific research and taking personal responsibility for our actions. These requirements live at the heart of sustainability at Warren Wilson where we are researching bird migration patterns affected by foliage growth timing in environmental sciences, where we have committed to reaching 40% local food in our cafeteria by 2020, reducing food transportation pollution, and where each individual is contributing to our zero waste challenge by dumping all food waste into our composting system on campus.

Green college

Sustainability Commitment

We acknowledge that a complex web of economic, social, cultural, spiritual and environmental factors determine the well-being of our community.

We recognize our power as individuals, and in community, to influence these complex, interdependent relationships.

We strive to make responsible decisions that take into account the multiple dimensions of sustainability in order to ensure quality of life now and for generations to come.

Here are just some of the many ways we strive to fulfill our commitment:

  • Students Lead the Way –The student Environmental and Social Justice Crew develops projects that allow students to advocate for environmental and social justice issues. This crew hosts the Green Walkabout Project, which is a tour of the sustainability features on campus, including green buildings, waste management, landscaping, stormwater, land use, and agriculture.
  • Fossil Fuel Divestment – In 2015, Warren Wilson College became one of the roughly 25 U.S. colleges and universities to pledge to divest totally from fossil fuels within 5 years. The College divested 84% of its portfolio within 2 years, and we continue to divest.
  • Responsible Investment – As Warren Wilson College divests, new investments are made in companies that demonstrate commitment to environmental sustainability; community and economic development; social diversity in hiring; and transparency and accountability in corporate governance, among other traits.
  • Preserving Habitat – Warren Wilson College’s central campus has been named a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat, a North Carolina Native Plant Sanctuary, and a certified Monarch Butterfly Waystation through Monarch Watch.
  • Zero Waste Initiative –In 2017, Warren Wilson wrote a Zero Waste Initiative for the College to divert 90% of all waste from the landfill by 2032 with additional efforts to reach 100% as technology becomes available.
  • Real Food – Warren Wilson College has signed onto the Real Food Challenge to strive to take money from industrial food and support investment in food which nourishes producers, consumers, communities, and the earth. It’s a food system that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, animal welfare, social justice, and environmental sustainability. The College has committed to buying at least 40% real food annually.