Oberlin, founded in 1833, is a small, private liberal arts College and music Conservatory. Known for having a radical, forward thinking student body, Oberlin has a very popular environmental studies department and high student involvement in community and campus environmental projects. The Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA) hosts four residential and nine dining coops on campus, each of which prioritizes local food consumption and vegan or vegetarian diet to varying degrees.
The college administration has committed to meeting (at minimum) the LEED silver standards on any new construction or renovations. The Campus Dining Service (CDS), facilitated by Bon Appetite, also prioritizes responsible purchasing of local foods. The college’s Office of Environmental Sustainability support student sustainability efforts and works with the administration for greater sustainability. Oberlin College was also one of twelve founding signatories of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment: a commitment to, among other things, an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.
To learn more about environmental work on campus and to get in touch with student leaders, take a look at our environmental events calendar and list of campus groups, institutions and programs:
Campus Offices, Organizations and Programs
- Coal Working Group — coming soon!
- Compost Working Group — coming soon!
- Department of Environmental Studies — coming soon!
- Green EDGE Fund
- Green Tea — coming soon!
- Headwaters Magazine
- Oberlin Earth First!
- OhioPIRG, Climate Change Campaign
- Office of Environmental Sustainability
- SEED (Student Experiments in Ecological Design) House
- Slow Foods Oberlin
College Environmental Policy
From the Office of Environmental Sustainability website’s declaration of college policy.
The core mission of Oberlin College is the education of its students. One aspect of such education is the demonstration by its actions of the College’s concern for, and protection of, its physical environment.
Oberlin College must be a responsible steward of the environment. As such, the College will seek 1) to reduce the rate at which it contributes to the depletion and degradation of natural resources; 2) to increase the use of renewable resources; and 3) to consider other measures that can enhance the physical environment in which we live. The development of priorities and the implementation of decisions regarding energy production and use, the use and development or our grounds, facilities construction, modernization, maintenance, transportation, and materials use will be informed by the environmental impact they have. The President or delegated officials will periodically advise the community of the College’s progress in this area.
This policy statement comes out of the work of the Environmental Policy Advisory Committee (EPAC). Former President Nancy Dye appointed this committee to produce a comprehensive report with recommendations and goals for the College’s environmental stewardship. This report will serve as the basis for Oberlin’s implementation of its environmental policy.
Steering Committee Representative(s)
Erika Zarowin, Class of 2011