Office of Energy and Sustainability

Governance and Policy

Environmental Policy and Implementation Plan

In 2004, the Board of Trustees adopted the Environmental Policy.

In Fall 2015, General Faculty adopted the Environmental Policy Implementation Plan. This document was a culmination of a multi-year effort by the Committee on Environmental Sustainability (CES) to update and revise the Environmental Policy. Building upon the principles laid out in the 2004 policy, the Implementation Plan clarifies progress and charts strategies to achieving stated goals.

Carbon Neutral by 2025

Oberlin College took a leadership role in environmental stewardship when former President Nancy Dye established Oberlin as one of the nation's first institutions of higher education to accept the goal of climate neutrality by signing the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (formerally ACUPCC; now "Carbon Commitment").

As a charter signatory in 2006, Oberlin was one of the first four schools in the United States and the first in its peer group to sign the commitment. Oberlin College selected the year 2025 to achieve carbon neutrality.

In 2015, Second Nature added an additional commitment opportunity to their framework - resilience . Oberlin signed this commitment in the charter signatory period taking leadership to work alongside the greater Oberlin community to increase our community resilience. 

Carbon Commitment + Resilience Commitment = Climate Commitment

Oberlin College is a signatory of the climate commitment.

In June 2006, the Oberlin College Board of Trustees adopted a policy that all new construction and major renovations on campus have to be designed and built in accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver standard. The adoption of this standard will significantly reduce the use of resources on campus in the future, as the built spaces will both be built more efficiently and perform more efficiently.

Please see our Buildings page for additional information.

Oberlin College's newest Strategic Plan 2016-2021: Institutional transformation through an inclusive approach to academic and musical excellence includes "Directions for the Future" includes the following:

Define and set in motion the necessary steps to achieve sustainability—educational, financial, and environmental.

Strategic Recommendation 3.9: Reaffirm and take tangible action toward meeting Oberlin’s commitment to environmental sustainability. This includes creating an actionable and financially feasible plan for achieving Oberlin’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2025.

Oberlin's core mission is education. Oberlin College's General Learning Outcomes include sustainability, such that an Oberlin education:

"Should develop an enduring commitment to acting in the world to further social justice, deepen democracy, and build a sustainable future."