Red = Green

Sustainability at Fairfield University

‌As a Jesuit university committed to the belief that all humans have a responsibility for all creation, Fairfield infuses sustainability throughout its departments, programs, and infrastructure. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, advocated in the 16th century that humans are stewards of the Earth - not owners of it or masters of other species. To honor the dignity and worth of all creatures and living things, we, humankind, must hold ourselves accountable for the environmental crisis that we have, ourselves, created.

At Fairfield, the green movement is growing - through student activism, academic programs, faculty research, campus infrastructure, organic and local food in the cafeteria, a dedicated Sustainability Committee, and an array of eco-friendly events throughout the year.

Day by day, year by year, we are moving toward a greener campus. We invite you to join us. Explore this site to learn how.

Teaching & Research

At the core of Fairfield's sustainability studies is its Environmental Studies Program, which examines the environment across a variety of disciplines. Many of these courses also count toward the core curriculum, supporting liberal arts and interdisciplinary scholarship along eco-friendly lines of study.

A Sampling of Green Core Courses

  • American Literature and the Environment
  • Biology of Food
  • Chemistry, Energy, and the Environment
  • Climate Change Politics and Policy
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Environmental Economics
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Law & Policy
  • Environmental Science
  • International Environmental Policy
  • Introduction to Marine Biology

Experiential Learning

At Fairfield, experiential learning and faculty-student research are woven throughout the curriculum, nurturing the formation of an environmentally-conscious student as a thinking, competent global citizen. Students from the freshwater ecology course sample local streams, while those enrolled in the ornithology course visit campus natural areas in search of birds, and those in environmental science visit the campus garden to discuss food production. Fairfield faculty across disciplines engage students in important research that promotes social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Students are also encouraged to gain hands-on experience through service-learning courses, internships, study abroad programs, and individualized capstone projects.

Living & Learning

Living & Learning is the precursor to Work-Life Balance. It's all about a holistic lifestyle, and understanding that the whole of You (body, mind, and spirit) is at attention both inside and outside the classroom, as it will be inside and outside work.

Residential Life

At Fairfield, the integration of living and learning is founded in 5 residential colleges, including the Environment Life Residential College. These living spaces designed for sophomore students involve a fun and engaging community who together explore meaning-of-life questions and make connections between classroom learning and student living. Residential colleges address the question of vocation, create meaningful experiences, provide intentional opportunities for reflection, and encourage action that serves others in need.

At the Environment Life Residential College, the questions that will be asked of you are:

  • Who am I in relation to the Earth, the world's people, and other living things?
  • What is my environmental impact and responsibility?
  • How can I live a sustainable life?

Join others interested in deepening their understanding of sustainability and building personal living habits that are eco-friendly - keeping your carbon footprint at a minimum. After your sophomore year, juniors and seniors can participate in a Build-A-House Community Program focused on green initiatives.

Campus Sustainability

A University-wide pledge, led by President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., who signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007, has been made to reduce the University's carbon footprint. Fairfield joined 500 other universities who agreed to harness the influence of their respective institutions to address global warming and achieve climate neutrality for their campuses.

Awards & Faculty Experts

Fairfield University has received a number of awards and recognitions in recent years for its commitment to sustainability on campus. 

Get Involved

Ready to work towards a greener campus and build habits that will lead to a greener life? Whether you're a student, faculty, staff, alumni, or neighbor, there are ways you can be part of the green movement on Fairfield's campus. Check out your options below.

Organic Garden

An on-campus garden was installed in the summer of 2010 and is maintained and cared for by student, faculty, and staff volunteers. We donate a portion of our harvest to the Connecticut Food Bank through our participation in Harvest Now, a non-profit organization linking garden communities with local food banks. The rest of our harvest is distributed to both the Jesuit and student cafeterias, helping educate the entire community about hyper-local food and the importance of eating in season. We can always use more help tending the garden, so contact leaf.fairfield@gmail.com if you're interested, or co-directors Jen Klug at jklug@fairfield.edu and Tod Osier at tosier@fairfield.edu.

Single Stream Recyling

Fairfield University moved to a single stream recycling process in 2011. Single stream recycling means that all recyclables can be placed in the same bin - paper, cardboard, aluminum, glass, plastics. Once the items reach the processing plant, they are separated by type and recycled via various heating and melting processes. This system ensures that all Fairfield students can learn to adopt enviro-friendly recyling habits during their four years on campus! Learn more — see what is recyclable at-a-glance, and go into the details.

Academics

As of December, 2014, Environmental Studies is an academic major within the College of Arts and Sciences. Visit the webpage for more details.

Internships

Whatever your major, you may wish to choose an internship that works towards a greener earth. If you're interested in a hands-on work experience for a company or organization involved in environmental science, policy, economics, or law, check out the internship possibilities.

Study Abroad

Want to see a little more of the world you're protecting? Fairfield offers environment-focused study abroad programs - with more on the way. Check out our Nicaragua pogram.

LEAF Student Club

Leaders for Environmental Action at Fairfield (LEAF)

is a student club welcoming all those who want to learn, do, and be more for the environment. LEAF seeks to promote awareness of local, national, and global environmental issues through education, programming, and activism. Its goal is to have a positive influence on the University community through engaging the student body and enacting lasting changes to make Fairfield's campus more sustainable.

Leaders for Environmental Action at Fairfield (LEAF) is a project-oriented club that encourages its members to pursue grass-roots campus projects, and provides students with the contacts and resources necessary to undertake them. LEAF sponsors:

  • Movie showings
  • Petition and letter-writing campaigns to lawmakers
  • Audits of campus trash
  • An annual service trip to New Orleans to rebuild houses affected by Hurricane Katrina with sustainable materials
  • Campus clean-ups
  • A plethora of Earth Week celebrations
  • Other general awareness campaigns to teach students and staff how to live more eco-friendly lives

We look forward to your joining our active and vibrant environmental community at Fairfield!

From Earth Week planning to trash audits, you can support a number of different student-led sustainability initiatives throughout the year. LEAF continuously hosts movie screenings, lectures, petitions, campus clean-ups, and dumpster dives.

Any member of the campus community is welcome to become a member of LEAF. To join the e-mail list and find out where you can attend LEAF's weekly meetings, contact leaf.fairfield@gmail.com.

Campus Garden

The Fairfield University Campus Garden Project is a collaborative effort to maintain a vegetable garden on campus with a focus on using sustainable practices.

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