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 sourcing local and regional food in our cafeteria, 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.

Read about some of our recent efforts over the 2018-2019 school year.

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.

Aerial Landscape - Jones Mountain, Farm, and Garden

Land Innovation

For years we have been a leader for sustainable land management. Now we want to share our knowledge to help landowners in our region and beyond. We’re working to create The Institute for Innovative Land Management to spread hope and meaningful action against the backdrop of climate change.

Read a white paper with details, or visit the Land Innovation webpage.

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

  • Students Lead the Way – Students have led sustainable initiatives for years, including a leading role planning the EcoDorm and divesting the College’s endowment from fossil fuels. The student Environmental and Social Justice Crew develops projects that allow students to advocate for environmental and social justice issues.   Check out more about the crew and their Green Walkabout project, below!
  • 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.  We’ve also been named a “Tree Campus USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation for several years running.
  • 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.
  • And much more.

Orr Cottage

The Green Walkabout

The student Environmental and Social Justice 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.

Have a look at some of the interpretive signs around campus that tell the story of sustainable practices in action: