Students in the stewardship garden


St. Thomas infuses sustainability into every aspect of campus life, from academic programs and student activities to facilities and dining operations. We are working as a community toward a goal of carbon neutrality by 2035, which is why St. Thomas' Board of Trustees approved a university commitment to divest our endowment from fossil fuels.

Our understanding of (and commitment to) sustainability is grounded in our identity as a Catholic university. Our plans embrace the principles of caring for creation, environmental stewardship, and advancing the common good on a shared planet. When it comes to sustainability,

Geology professor Lisa Lamb instructs members of the Sustainability Living Learning Community (LLC) during a soils lab at Hidden Falls Park.

Sustainability in Academics

By weaving sustainability throughout our curriculum, St. Thomas educates the next generation of morally responsible sustainability leaders. Here's how:

  • Sustainability minor and available
  • to support student-faculty research collaborations
  • 160 courses that address sustainability from over 80% of academic departments
  • Over 150 regional and on-campus sustainability projects in courses across 25 disciplines
  • Nearly 30% of our faculty members conduct research on global sustainability challenges
  • Study abroad through one of 50+ programs that focus on sustainability around the world
chef looking at ingredients

Green Operations

Dining Services and Facilities Management are two key St. Thomas partners committed to advancing sustainability through greener procurement strategies, diversion of food waste, and ongoing education while partnering with all members of the campus community. Students are very engaged and often lead educational opportunities about waste reduction, recycling and composting. Ongoing efforts include:

  • Reducing plastic and single-use packaging
  • Expanding and advertising sustainable dining options and operations
  • Purchasing more local and sustainably-sourced food options
  • Providing compost collection in residence halls
  • Collecting batteries, electronics and plastic bags for recycling

Read More About Sustainable Dining Services

girls riding on bike

Sustainable Transportation

As a centrally located university, students and visitors can easily use mass transit or pedal power to get around campus. Initiatives include:

  • Discounted bus passes
  • Bike repair stations
  • Secure bike storage in residence halls and the Anderson Parking Facility
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
More Details on Campus Transportation Options
president rob vischer

We are called to be stewards of creation and to take intentional actions to care for our common home. Every member of the St. Thomas community has an important role to play in reaching our sustainability goals, and as an educational institution we have a unique responsibility to lead in the present and equip students with tools and inspiration to create a better future.

Rob Vischer, President

Campus Initiatives

pollinator path sign in garden

Pollinator Path

The Pollinator Path is a series of gardens, some planted to attract pollinators and some planted for aesthetic purposes. They provide critical food and habitats for a wide variety of pollinators and a "living laboratory" for students and the community to study pollinator activity and learn how to support declining pollinator populations.

student by microgrid on roof


St. Thomas has one of the only student-focused microgrid research facilities in the nation. Students help develop technology and are trained to shape the evolution of energy in the face of climate change.

Students holding vegetables in the Stewardship Garden

Stewardship Garden

Located on the edge of campus, the Stewardship Garden was created to help create a more just and local food system. The project creates research and education opportunities in urban agriculture for students and helps build community relationships on campus and with neighborhood residents. A portion of the produce from the Stewardship Garden is donated to local food shelves.

Frey Hall residence hall garden

Green Buildings

Designing new buildings for LEED certification is part of the university's larger plan to achieve carbon neutrality for 2035. The university is designing all new buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to a minimum of LEED silver standards. Frey Hall (featured here) became the first mid-rise building in Minnesota to receive LEED platinum certification.

The Impact on Campus


reduction in annual potable water use since 2014


of expenditures on electronics for products that are EPEAT Gold registered


waste diversion rate in 2019

students cleaning up mississippi river

Office of Sustainability Initiatives

The Office of Sustainability Initiatives facilitates campus sustainability by convening stakeholders from across St. Thomas and the Twin Cities to comprehensively assess, strategically plan, and implement sustainable innovations. We create academic programming for students across the curriculum through experiential, applied learning opportunities and we empower faculty to integrate sustainability into their courses.

Email us with questions!