Sustainability on Campus: Oberlin College

April 18, 2011

Oberlin College CyclistsEarth Day is coming!

At campuses across the country, campus leaders continue Oberlin College, in Oberlin, Ohio, which has incorporated their commitment to sustainability into a high-profile campus event, their eco-friendly Commencement/Reunion weekend.

Green Commencement/Reunion Weekend

In 2007, Oberlin College held its first ecological Commencement/Reunion weekend. The “green commencement/reunion” program provided more than 5,000 alumni, family members and friends a variety of ways to reduce their carbon footprint during the four-day event. Since then, they have expanded the number of green initiatives and ways to reduce their environmental impact.

Green Commencement/Reunion Weekend Initiatives

  • BYOB – Bring Your Own (Reusable) Bottle – Eliminate single-use water bottles wherever possible.
  • Bio-ware– Plates, cups, and other eating utensils are made of a special compostable material.
  • From Print to Online – Printed reunion directories were replaced with online connections.
  • Bike Rentals – Attendees are encouraged to park their cars for the weekend and get around campus and town by using bike rentals.
  • Recycled Paper – Graduation and reunion programs are printed on 100% post-consumer paper.
  • Rideshare – Attendees are encouraged to carpool and share rides to and from the airport.

Bookstore Offers Eco-friendly Products

The move toward a greener campus extends to the Barnes & Noble College Oberlin Bookstore, which sells “green” products throughout the year. They’ve also partnered with a student organization on campus, SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise), to encourage the campus and surrounding community to use tote bags instead of plastic bags when shopping.

“Every time someone comes through our line and they use their own bag, even a backpack, their name is put into a drawing to win a $10 gift card,” said Scott O’Grady, Oberlin College bookstore manager. “Whenever we can, we like to work with the students and support what they do.”

Why not show your “green” side? Visit to find your bookstore and ask about the eco-friendly products they carry. And learn more about Barnes & Noble College’s committment to sustainability.

What types of “green” graduation or reuinion programs does your campus have? Check out what Florida International University is doing to make their graduation ceremony “green.”