Sustainability and climate action are at the heart of Barnard’s core vision and values. As an academic institution, Barnard has a unique opportunity and special responsibility to pilot innovative programs and set audacious goals that can serve as a model for campuses around the country. The College also must ensure that its graduates are equipped to meet the challenges of climate change.  

It is the College's intention to involve and integrate students, faculty, and staff into promoting sustainable practices, reducing our environmental footprint, and encouraging the adoption of effective and efficient programs that demonstrate our commitment as a leader in the urban environmental landscape. 

Here are some of the ways in which the College is approaching climate action:

  • Academics: supporting and expanding the research and teaching of our world class faculty on climate change, the environment, and sustainability
  • Finance and Governance: including screening our endowment from fossil fuel companies that sow misinformation about the science of climate change
  • Campus Operations and Culture: building on Barnard's strong foundation to create a more sustainable campus and reducing carbon emissions 

Campus Conversation & Climate Action Vision Statement

During the 2017-2018 academic year, the College hosted a workshop series in which faculty, staff, and students worked towards the creation of a shared climate action vision statement. The workshops focused on consumption and waste, energy, the local environment, curricula and research, and campus culture. Faculty, staff, and students tackled tough questions about the choices community members make individually and collectively on campus and about social and political engagement outside Barnard’s campus.


At the conclusion of this process, the Sustainable Practices Committee presented a draft vision statement with comprehensive proposals for operations, campus culture, and academics—examples include eliminating disposable plates and forks and making climate action a formal part of the curriculum.

Provide Feedback

Members of the community can provide feedback to the climate action vision statement. In the fall of 2018, the Committee will ratify the finalized plan.


Review the Vision Statement 

Core Issues

Consumption & Waste

Barnard has a long history of addressing issues of consumption and waste on campus and is currently enhancing efforts to continue to engage the entire community. This year, the College is enhancing waste collection and recycling on campus by regularizing bin locations and signage, introducing single stream recycling, piloting organics (food scraps) collection, and increasing education and awareness in our community of proper waste sorting.

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As a leading New York academic institution, Barnard has participated in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's PlaNYC2030, a commitment to enhance the urban environment of all five New York City boroughs. Barnard completed the first stage of the challenge early, achieving a 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in just six years and signed on for the second phase, a 50% reduction by the year 2025.

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Local Environment

Barnard is working to actively care for our own campus and physical spaces and to create connections with our community neighbors. Learn more about students launching a community garden, faculty raising bees, and partners in creating change in Morningside Heights.

Experience the Local Environment



Curricula & Research

Barnard offers a variety of courses in sustainable sciences and theory, and works closely with the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Expand your career path, and get connected with a network of internships and courses that will help you gain experience in environmental awareness.

Get Involved



Student Initiatives

Barnard students have created many groups to collaborate for better practices on campus and in the community. Through research, policies, protest, and volunteer engagement these groups are a diverse and engaged team working across campus and the city for climate action.

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