Colleen Flaherty

Sustainability Institute at UNH



To schedule an interview with Tom Kelly, UNH's Chief Sustainability Officer or Miriam Nelson, UNH's Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer:

Michelle Fox, Program Support Assistant

Sustainability Institute at UNH




Talking Points

Home to the nation’s oldest endowed program, sustainability has long been a core value of the University of New Hampshire. It shapes our culture, informs our behavior, and is a guiding principle of everything we do. The Sustainability Institute was developed to reflect this belief system, and act as convener, cultivator and champion of sustainability on campus, in the state and region, and around the world.

Today, the Sustainability Institute is recognized nationally as a leading authority on sustainability within higher education. Led by Dr. Tom Kelly, one of the country’s most respected leaders in the field of sustainability, and supported by a nationally acclaimed team of faculty fellows, the Sustainability Institute encourages full participation in the creation of a sustainable world. We work closely with educators, students, policymakers and researchers in our own community and beyond to bring learning in sustainability to life.

Our unique approach helps reveal the powerful, practical and positive impacts of sustainability by cultivating a deeper and more informed understanding of its true nature. We believe sustainability goes far beyond “green” and extends across and beyond disciplines that include everything from the food we eat to the culture in which we live. By integrating this authentic view of sustainability into the heart of our curriculum and operations, we encourage personal, local and national examples of genuine leadership in the field of sustainability.


Latest News

UNH Lowers Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 26 Percent

The University of New Hampshire lowered its greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 26 percent compared to a 2001 baseline, it reported in its latest greenhouse gas emissions inventory, released today. Based on current emissions reduction goals set forth in UNH’s Climate Action Plan, called “WildCAP”, the university is well on the way to achieving its goal of reducing emissions 50 percent by 2020. (4-09-13) Story >>>


UNH Archaeology Students Unearth Original Campus Train Depot

Students at the University of New Hampshire are unearthing the site of the original train depot that used to be on the great lawn near Morrill Hall until it was moved after a tragic 1905 train accident. (4-10-13) Story >>>


UNH Scientists Document First Expansion of ‘Sea Potato’ Seaweed Into New England

There’s a new seaweed in town, a brown, bulbous balloon befitting the nickname “sea potato.” Its New England debut was spotted by two University of New Hampshire plant biology graduate students; now researchers are keeping a close eye on the sea potato’s progress to determine whether there is cause for alarm. (4-03-13) Story >>>


Sustainability Initiatives

Awards & Accolades

Images and captions

All credits go to UNH Photographic Services except "The Sustainable Learning Community," which goes to artist Dennis Balogh, the UNH Foundation, Inc., and the University Press of New England.

Cogeneration plant


Caption: UNH was an early signer of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. A campus-wide Energy Task Force is developing a climate action plan to steer the university towards climate neutrality, and operational efforts like the on-campus combined heat and power plant will help the campus meet the goals of this plan as part if its Climate Education Initiative.



The first university to meet its energy needs with landfill gas, UNH is selling the renewable energy certificates (RECs) associated with EcoLine to help finance the capital costs of the project and to invest in additional energy efficiency projects on campus.

Local Harvest Feast


Caption: Students and community members line up in droves to attend UNH's annual Local Harvest Feast of gourmet menu items made from local and sustainble foods. The feast is part of UNH's Local Harvest Initiative, the goals of which are to increase procurement of locally, regionally, and sustainably grown and produced items (including organic and Fair Trade), conserve water and energy, reduce waste (including through composting), and educate students, staff, faculty and community members about our local agricultural landscape and its role in sustaining our physical and economical health and well-being, now and in the future.

Organic Dairy Research Farm


Caption: UNH’s Organic Dairy Research Farm, the first at a land-grant university in the country and made possible by the generosity of donors like Stonyfield Farm, provides research to New England farmers and training to UNH students as part of UNH's Food & Society Initiative. "UNH is a recognized leader in sustainability, in large part because of the innovative work we do to advance sustainable agriculture, food, and nutrition in our state and region," says UNH President Mark Huddleston."Our impact on campus ripples out into the state, nation and world as our graduates take their knowledge and experience with them-helping to guide and educate their new communities in the ways of sustainability."

Organic Garden Club


Caption: Founded in 2003, the student-run UNH Organic Garden Club (OGC) maintains a two-acre site on a 30-acre, USDA certified organic parcel of land on the UNH Durham campus -- the first certified organic land on campus. They supply their own on-campus farmer’s market, UNH dining halls, and dinners for local shelters and the larger community with the variety of produce they grow, including heirloom varieties.

UNH Unplugged


Caption: As part of its Climate Education Initiative, every fall UNH students compete in the UNH Unplugged Student Energy Challenge to see which residence hall or apartment can use the least amount of energy.  

The Sustainable Learning Community


In 2009, over 60 authors from across and beyond campus authored “The Sustainable Learning Community: One University’s Journey to the Future” detailing UNH’s 10-plus years of sustainability innovation and leadership.

UNH student biking on campus


Caption: University of New Hampshire students are embedded in a culture of sustainability. A “day in the life” of a UNH student could include waking up in Energy Star rated residence hall, biking or taking a biodiesel or compressed natural gas shuttle bus to get around campus, dining on local food and Fair Trade coffee, working at the on-side student organic garden club site, taking classes in everything from alternative energy to food and society, interning or conducting research in areas of sustainability, and attending a speaker, film, discussion, or performance on campus.

Wildcat Sculpture


Caption: Sustainability is about thriving, not just surviving, so UNH includes social and cultural issues in sustainability. Its Sustainability Institute has co-sponsored Human Rights Watch films and a Fair Trade Fair, offered cultural excursions to museums and the performing arts, collaborated in making a documentary about the late Ed and Mary Scheier, former UNH faculty who were celebrated potters, and worked with administrators, faculty, staff and students to develop campus aesthetic guidelines under which the first piece of public art arrived on campus – the Wildcat sculpture in front of the Whittemore Center.

Wildcat Transit


Caption: In 2007, UNH Wildcat Transit – the largest public transportation provider in the state—provided more than 1 million passenger trips, a new record. UNH transit buses and shuttles run mostly on alternative fuels like biodiesel and compressed natural gas. Named an EPA and DOT “Best Workplace for Commuters” since 2004, UNH's transportation demand mangement efforts also include an on-campus Amtrak rail station, dedicated walking and bicycling paths and solar-powered lit shelters, ridesharing, carpooling, and an ever-growing suite of alternative fueled and clean technology transit and non-transit vehicles called “Eco-Cat.”