Green UO

Solar panels in the glass entrance to the Lillis Complex.

Here in the pristine northwest, green is more than just a school color. It’s a lifestyle in which each of us makes daily, conscious choices about resource use, conservation, and preservation. At the UO, you’ll join a community that leads the charge in finding creative solutions to environmental problems. And you’ll start tackling those problems from day one—both within the classroom and way, way outside. Here are just some of the ways you can get involved at the UO: 

Major Impact: Environmental issues feature in courses across campus, from business to architecture to sociology to marine biology, and are the primary focus of the UO’s programs in environmental studies and environmental science.

Student Groups: Engaged and active UO students have founded multiple student groups devoted to sustainability, including the Coalition Against Environmental Racism, which focuses on how pollution and resource depletion affect communities of color, and the Environmental Leadership Program, which teams students with nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses to address local environmental needs.

Live Green: A residence program for undergraduates, the Community for Ecological Leaders (CEL) brings together students who understand the importance of environmental sustainability and want to work on solutions to the challenges of our time. The CEL also offers Orientation Trips prior to the start of fall term, including backpacking from the source of Eugene's water supply to the local waterworks.

Kinetic Energy: A bank of 20 elliptical workout machines in the UO Student Recreation Center captures kinetic energy and feeds it to the university’s power grid, 50 watts per 30-minute workout. The 6,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity produced annually are nearly enough to power a small energy-efficient home for a full year. The building's power usage is also offset by a student-funded photovoltaic system on the gymnasium roof.

Green Chemistry: The first of its kind in the nation, the UO’s Green Chemistry sequence focuses on reducing, recycling, or eliminating toxic chemicals used in the laboratory, without stalling scientific progress.

Sustainable Cities: The Sustainable Cities Initiative is a cross-disciplinary organization at the UO that promotes education, service, public outreach, and research on the design and development of sustainable cities. In the Sustainable City Year Program, students and faculty partner with a city to assist in developing sustainability goals and projects.

Study Abroad: The UO provides access to numerous study abroad programs with an environmental focus, including a four-week summer program to study biodiversity, sustainability, and conservation in Panama.

Urban Farm: The UO Landscape Architecture Program calls the Urban Farm its “outdoor university classroom.” The acre-and-a-half garden just north of the main campus is a model of productive urban space, where students learn about nature through growing food and composting.

Getting Around: The Bike Loan Program provides access to reliable, sustainable transportation for the student body, and bike parking is plentiful across campus. Students also ride free on Lane Transit District buses, including the low-emission, hybrid-electric EmX line that runs past campus along Franklin Boulevard.

Environmental Law: The pioneering efforts of the UO School of Law led to the groundbreaking Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, including the first public interest environmental law clinic in the country. The Green Business Initiative Student Association group sponsors an annual symposium.