Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability


Going Green

Live a greener lifestyle at FGCU. From getting around more sustainably, to hosting a planet-friendly event, or assisting the university in its environmental mission through on-campus service learning opportunities - you will find it here.


Sustainability Logo
Did You Know?

The FGCU Sustainability symbol has meaning. The  “S” is representative of the words sustainability and stewardship. The “S” is in the shape of the infinity symbol representing unlimited capacity, energy, excellence, or knowledge.  The FGCU emerald green and cobalt blue school colors are symbols of the earth and water, in keeping with the university’s environmental mission.


Timely Tip:  How do I get rid of old batteries from my personal devices?

Do NOT put ANY batteries in recycling containers!

Some (but not ALL) batteries may be thrown out in regular trash:

​Here in Lee County, Florida, household single-use alkaline batteries such as AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt can be discarded with your regular garbage. Button batteries for watches and hearing aids can also go in your regular garbage.

Other batteries, such as Nickel-cadmium and lithium-ion batteries found in cordless phones, rechargeable batteries like those found in cordless drills, and car batteries from your personal devices must be taken off campus to a recycling center or a store that has a battery drop off (note: these stores take back batteries even if you did not buy the device or battery from them originally).

Locations include:

Safety warning: Old batteries may not have enough energy to power a device, but they can still spark a fire if they’re not handled carefully. Place each battery into a separate sealed plastic bag.


   Some of FGCU's Sustainability Affiliations 

STARS GOLD - Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System

FGCU Ranks GOLD 3 Times in a Row!

FGCU earned a Gold Rating in 2014, 2017, and again in 2020 on the Sustainability, Tracking, Rating, & Assessment System (STARS) report.   STARS is a program of AASHE and it helps higher education institutions measure their progress in four categories: operations, academics, engagement, and planning and administration.  Ratings are based on quantitative values, such as the percentage of energy produced from renewable sources, as well as qualitative indicators including healthy community partnerships, and participation in public policy.


Carbon Commiment

Carbon Commitment

Florida Gulf Coast University signed the Carbon Climate Leadership Commitment in 2007.  In doing so, we pledged to develop a comprehensive plan to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible. Second Nature, the Climate Leadership’s direct support organization, defines carbon neutrality as, “having no net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to be achieved by eliminating net GHG emissions, or by minimizing GHG emissions as much as possible, and using carbon offsets or other measures to mitigate the remaining emissions.”  Upon signing the Commitment, FGCU set a climate neutrality date of 2050 and agreed to immediately take the following tangible actions:
  • Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or higher
  • Adopt an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy
  • Encourage use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors at our institution

The tangible actions established by FGCU upon signing the agreement were our first step to taking more carbon out of the earth’s atmosphere than we put into it on an annual basis.  As we continue on our path to carbon neutrality, we regularly submit Greenhouse Gas Reports, Climate Action Plans, and Progress Reports to Second Nature. All reports can be viewed on the Second Nature's Reporting System. 



 Campus Race to Zero Waste logo

Campus Race to Zero Waste

Campus Race to Zero Waste, formerly known as RecycleMania encourages universities to increase recycling efforts, reduce wastes, and raise environmental awareness through a fun and friendly student-led competition that measures and benchmarks recycling activity in an effort to improve campus programs over time. Florida Gulf Coast University has been participating in RecycleMania since 2010.  Past results can be viewed on RecycleMania's scoreboard and are summarized in our STARS report.  

Students interested in participating are encouraged to watch this instructional video and contact the Student Government Director of Sustainability to earn service learning hours or be assigned to help coordinate volunteers and events. 


Tree Campus USA

Tree Campus USA

Tree Campus USA is a program sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, which recognizes college and university campuses across the nation that:

  • Manage their campus trees effectively.
  • Develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests.
  • Utilize service learning opportunities centered on campus, and community, forestry efforts.

FGCU’s Physical Plant coordinates our Tree Campus USA efforts. Please see their webpage for more details or to get involved.


US Green Building Council Member

USGBC Member

Florida Gulf Coat University’s membership to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) supports us by offering our campus educational opportunities and resources such as the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification program.  These help us decrease our ecological footprint and meet our carbon emissions reduction goals.


Earth Charter Affiliate

Earth Charter International

The Earth Charter is, “an ethical framework for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century.” Florida Gulf Coast University has been an International Affiliate of the Earth Charter since 2009, when President Bradshaw signed the Affiliation Agreementrecognizing the connection between FGCU’s mission and the principles of the Earth Charter. FGCU is presently the only Affiliate in the United States and many of the tangible actions to support our association with the Earth Charter are coordinated by FGCU’s Center for Environmental & Sustainability Education (CESE).  Please see the CESE's webpage for more details.


Real Food Challenge

Real Food Challenge

The Real Food Challenge (RFC) is a nationwide, student-led campaign to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources—or “real food”—by 2020. On April 26, 2016, Florida Gulf Coast University became the first school in Florida to sign the Real Food Campus Commitment.

With this commitment, we pledge to have 20% of the food served in South Village and through catering meet the RFC criteria by 2020. Thereafter, FGCU will continue to increase the amount of food meeting the RFC criteria until 60% is achieved. Read more about this historic commitment on FGCU360now and stay tuned for details and progress reports on the FGCU Campus Dining sustainability page



 Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum (ISAC) Academy

Faculty interested in adding or revising course content to include sustainability are   encouraged to apply to the annual Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum (ISAC) Academy. Following the Piedmont/Ponderosa Project professional development model, the ISAC Academy provides time, space, and resources for faculty at all career stages across the university to engage in inter- and cross-disciplinary discussions for sustainability curriculum development.

The ISAC Academy is supported by the Office of the Provost, the Center for Environment and Society, the Lucas Center for Faculty Development, Environmental Health & Safety and the Office of University-wide Programs in Undergraduate Studies. 

The call for applications will go out via an all Faculty email from the Provost's Office each year. Please consider joining this learning community by applying to this competitive, cohort-based annual academy. 

If you are interested in considering ways to incorporate sustainability content into your courses in the meantime, please see our ISAC Library Guide. We continually add new resources to the ISAC Library Guide. To suggest a resource, please email jpmarcolini@fgcu.edu or eweatherford@fgcu.edu.

Click here to apply to the next ISAC Academy