When it comes to being eco-friendly, NYU is committed to graduating with honors. From cutting carbon emissions to greening our events, from composting to funding cutting-edge research, we’re creating a healthier future for our students, staff, and city. In fact, NYU was ranked No. 3 on The Princeton Review’s list of Top 50 Green Colleges for 2024. But even if you’re not on campus, you can still take NYU’s sustainability initiatives to heart. Here, we share seven ways NYU is building a more sustainable campus—and how you can participate in these initiatives from anywhere.

A hand holding a sustainable, reusable water bottle covered in stickers.
1. Ditch the Single-Use Plastic

In 2020, NYU stopped buying single-use packaged water in favor of installing water-filling stations across campus. Did you know it takes 2,000 times more energy to transport bottled water than it does to drink tap water? By drinking tap water from a reusable bottle throughout the day, you can stop hundreds of bottles from ending up in landfills. And while New York’s water tastes great, you can use a filter if your hometown’s tap water is less than delicious.

2. Power Down When Possible

The NYU IT Sustainability Initiative works to make NYU more energy efficient by reducing tech equipment, greening IT work spaces, and encouraging behavioral changes. But you can start small. First, turn off and unplug your devices at the end of the day. Next, go paperless when possible (and use tree-free or recycled paper when you can’t). Finally, set your personal electronics to enter a low-power sleep mode after 15 minutes of inactivity.

A row of Citi Bike bicycles.
3. Sweat It Out

Students at NYU love to bike for a number of reasons. It’s fun, it’s good exercise, and it’s eco-friendly. You can reduce your emissions and reap all the benefits of NYU bike culture now by ditching the car and switching to two wheels. Once you’re on campus, you’ll have access to discounted bike shares and the NYU Cycling Club.

A student studying in a library.
4. Study Up

There’s always more to learn about sustainability and climate justice. But how do you know where to start? Check out this list of digital sustainability-related content from NYU faculty members. From ocean conservation to architecture, we have a video, podcast, or TED Talk for every interest. You can also sign up for the NYU sustainability newsletter here.

5. Think Before You Toss It

NYU reduces waste through recycling and composting. While many of us already recycle, composting takes a bit more effort. But with a little planning, you can access local composting systems or even create your own. Furthermore, anyone can use low- and zero-waste recipes to avoid sending waste to the landfill. For a great place to start, avoid those single-use pods for your daily coffee.

6. Upgrade Your Products

With a few easy swaps, you can make your room an eco-friendly oasis—and then do the same when you move into your NYU dorm room. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products. Replace your incandescent and CFL bulbs with LED ones (bonus: they last 25 times longer!). And choose insulating blinds to keep things cozy and lower the energy bill.

An array of vegetables.
7. Eat Like It Matters

Recently, NYU took the Cool Food Pledge, publicly committing to reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent in the next 10 years. How? By offering more and better plant-based (and locally sourced) food options across every campus. You can take the pledge now by cutting back on animal-based products. And if you decide to go full veg? NYU will have tons of delicious dining options waiting for you once you’re on campus!