The New York City skyline.

A person reading a book in Washington Square Park.


Sustainability is a fundamental NYU value, and as a community we are always looking for new ways to make sustainability on campus—and off—innovative and easy. If you’re headed to NYU and sustainability is important to you, there are a lot of ways to have a green first year. From day one, you can get involved in eco initiatives, find a community that is committed to making the world a better place, and set yourself up for a lifetime of protecting our planet. Here’s what your sustainable first year might look like.

Before You Arrive

Register for Sustainability Courses

The more you learn about the complexities of human impact on the planet, the more you’ll be empowered to create positive change. Luckily, there are over 600 courses that focus on sustainability at NYU. Find one that piques your interest and see where it takes you.

Apply for a Sustainable Residential Experience

If you want sustainable living to be part of your everyday, well, life: consider selecting Big City, Small Footprint when you fill out your housing application. This themed Explorations community in the Founders Hall residence hall is especially for first year students. Together, you’ll have plant-based community dinners in between visits from exciting guest speakers. You’ll also engage in discussions about how innovation and activism have created sustainable solutions in New York City and beyond—and how they can continue to drive progress. And of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to engage in environmental stewardship.



An NYU student working in a garden.
Your First Week

Set Yourself Up for Sustainable Success

When you first get to NYU, check out the Welcome Week activities hosted by the NYU Office of Sustainability. Their Green Campus Tour will take you to some of NYU’s outdoor spaces. There are more than 70, including green roofs, urban farms, and themed gardens. You’ll also learn about NYU’s steps toward increasing sustainability on campus as well as ways you can become part of our sustainability community.

Then, head to the Eco-Fair for interactive demonstrations and to learn more about different clubs and initiatives. Past fairs included workshops on terrarium building and cooking low-waste vegetarian meals.

Two people riding their bikes toward Washington Square Park.
Quick Tips to Green Your Semester
Your First Month

Join a Sustainability Club

There are so many student clubs that promote sustainability on campus and beyond. Your first opportunity to learn more about them is at Club Fest, but you can also check them out on the NYU Mobile app. Whether you want to reduce food waste with Two Birds, One Stone or teach environmental science to children with Sprout Up, you’ll find a club that matches your interests.

Your First Semester

Deepen Your Exploration

November means celebrating Zero Waste Week at NYU. Promote sustainability on campus and explore the topic of waste in the urban environment by joining a waste reduction challenge and touring NYUʼs recycling facility. Then, in addition to these marquee events, there is a program of events that changes every year. Highlights from previous years include ecopreneur panels and clothing swaps as well as an exhibit of waste that NYU creators turned into art installations.

NYU’s Green Zone training is held several times each year. But why not start your first year out strong by taking it it in the fall? During this two-hour session, anyone in the NYU community can learn key concepts related to sustainability. They also reflect on attitudes and behaviors around environmental impact, participate in conversations about climate change and environmental justice, and create a personal action plan.

A person holding a tote bag full of apples.
Your Second Semester

Double Down on Your Commitment

New year, new commitment to sustainability. For your New Year’s resolution, take the Cool Food Pledge to try more exciting plant-based foods. It will be especially easy considering NYU already signed on. That means you’ll find plenty of delicious plant-based options in the dining halls.

April means it’s time for Earth Day. But for us, a day isn’t enough: April is Earth Month at NYU. Get ready for 30 days of fair food festivals, sustainable apparel summits, panels about intersectional climate justice, research spotlights, and more.

Quick Tips for Spring
Any Time

Launch Your Own Green Idea

Have an idea to promote sustainability on campus or beyond? Apply for an NYU Green Grant to bring your idea to life. Offered on a rolling basis, Green Grants are awards of up to $20,000 for ideas that improve the University’s environmental footprint, foster environmental literacy and community engagement, and advance green research, design, and technologies. Awardees are creating environmental and climate justice curricula for kids, using solar power and hydroponics to fight hunger in urban settings, and developing solar powered media.

Cat has been telling NYU stories for nearly 10 years with NYU’s University Relations and Public Affairs Office of Marketing Communications and is constantly inspired by what the people of this community make real. She’s also a proud alum of the NYU MFA program in creative writing, and runs a literary magazine in her free time. When she needs to get away from words, she does work in her neighborhood gardens and parks.