University of Nebraska - Lincoln

June, 2021

University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL) has committed to strategic integration of research, education, and engagement around sustainability and resilience; anti-racism and racial equity; climate resilience; health equity; sustainable food; and water security through a series of institution-wide initiatives during the last two years, such as the N2025 Strategic Plan, the UNL Environment, Sustainability, and Resilience Master Plan, and the Grand Challenges Framework.

The Chancellor's Environment, Sustainability and Resilience Commission (CESRC) was reinvigorated in 2018. It provides strategic recommendations and ongoing advice to the Chancellor related to the environmental, social, and economic well-being of University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) and its stakeholders. The CESRC promotes the socially responsible stewardship of resources and the creation of resilient systems that are adaptable and recoverable to short- and long-term environmental and technological changes. The CESRC developed the 2020 Environment, Sustainability, and Resilience Master Plan that identifies ten aspirational goals related to many facets of sustainability and resilience that are applied across campus.  

In a year that held many unprecedented challenges, UNL staff, facility, and students remained dedicated to their work to promote sustainability in their campus communities. 

The new UNL recylcing and landfill stations are gray and have red graphics on them with the university branding and info about what people can recylce
Each new recycling station is made from about 1,000 recycled plastic milk jugs. Image credit: University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  • A new Recycling Renovation Pilot Project was initiated in 2020 to help standardize the recycling process on campus. The new recycling stations are each made from about 1,000 recycled plastic milk jugs! At the end of the station’s life, the material can be recycled again.
  • An “Infusion of Sustainability and Resilience into Curriculum” workshop was held for the second time to help teachers integrate sustainability into their coursework. This program has impacted nearly 25 teachers. This program aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4.
  • In April 2021, students organized EarthStock, a month-long celebration preparing for Earth Day. Each week highlighted different campus groups and diverse topics. Events included a clothing swap, a sustainable roundtable, and an international sustainability talk. 
  • In 2021, biodigesters were installed in some on campus dining service locations, diverting 50,000 pounds of food waste from local landfills. Dining also utilizes reusable OZZI containers and works with local farmers, producers, and manufacturers in their Nebraska. Local. Program. 

Did you know?

UNL has been a foam free campus since 2016. The sale, procurement or distribution of foam packing or polystyrene (EPS), such as Styrofoam in food and packaging containers is prohibited, and the policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, and vendors.