Campus Sustainability buildings energy food materials transportation water

Campus Sustainability


performing arts center

Performing Arts Center
On April 25, 2014, the Colleges broke ground on the new Performing Arts Center (PAC)- starting the construction phase for the 65,000-square foot facility. The PAC will be the first LEED-certified building on the HWS campus. For more information on the PAC, click here.


HWS Energy Dashboard
This energy dashboard allows all HWS residents and the public to see how much natural gas and electricity is being used by several HWS campus buildings in real time. Check it out!

Ongoing Energy Efficiency Projects

  • Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are more energy efficient that incandescent, fluorescent, metal halide and other types of more traditional bulbs. LEDs are considered for every lighting upgrade. Most exterior lighting has been replaced with LEDs or other energy efficient bulbs. Interior bulbs are continuously being replaced with more energy efficient bulbs across campus. In a recent 12-month time period, LEDs were installed in 578 emergency lights, 200 fixtures in student rooms, 25 exit lights, six parking lot pole lights, and 40 troffer style lights in the library archive.
  • Variable Speed Drives are a type of adjustable-speed drive used in electro-mechanical drive systems to control motor speed and torque- reducing electricity use.
  • Chillers are machines that remove heat from liquid, which can then be circulated through a heat exchanger to cool air or equipment as required. At HWS, few buildings on campus currently offer air conditioning via chillers, but two chillers have already been replaced with more energy efficient models.
  • Boilers are units used for heating large spaces. At HWS, old, inefficient domestic hot water boilers are consistently being replaced with more energy efficient models
  • Direct Digital Control (DDC) systems are used on campus to monitor and adjust heating and cooling to maximize energy conservation, occupant comfort, and proper system function.
  • Nest Thermostats allow facilities staff to remotely monitor temperature in small houses around campus to maximize energy conservation, occupant comfort, and proper system function.
  • CO2 Sensors allow for more accurate heating and cooling control and energy savings

Energy and Climate Committee
Established in Spring 2010, this committee evaluates, plans and implements energy efficiency and climate mitigation initiatives, projects and strategies on campus. The committee consists of Sodexo Facilities staff, the Sustainability Manager, and seeks to include student participation whenever possible. The committee suggests, evaluates, and recommends projects based on a triple bottom line analysis (i.e. environmental/social/financial).

Energy Star Purchasing Power
The Finger Lakes Institute was awarded the 2009 EPA Energy Star Small Business award for increasing the energy efficiency of its facility through energy management improvements.

The Finger Lakes Institute has 20 wells at approximately 100 feet deep that exchange the earth’s temperature to heat and cool the building.


In 2004, 12 165 W Photovoltaic (PV) modules were installed at the Finger Lakes Institute, which provide approximately 3% of the building’s electricity demand.

Wind Energy
In 2011, HWS began offsetting 100% of electricity use through the purchase of wind energy- resulting in a quarter reduction in the Colleges greenhouse gas emissions and meeting Climate Action Plans first reduction target three years early.

Read more here

Back to Top


Campus Garden
A group of HWS Students, in coordination with the Colleges’ Grounds Crew, have built a sustainable garden right on campus. The garden is managed by the Sustainable Foods Club. To find out more, please visit the HWS Sustainable Foods Club facebook page

Real Food

HWS Fribolin Farm
Through a generous donation by Carl W. Fribolin, the Colleges acquired 34-acres of farmland on White Springs Lane in winter 2013-2014. It is just over one mile from main campus in the Town of Geneva. The property includes a house, small barn, horse stables, a riding arena, two ponds, high tunnel, pasture, and acres of tillable land.

Real Food Challenge
Since 2012, the Finger Lakes Institute, HWS Environmental Studies Program, and Office of Sustainability have supported the student-led pursuit and commitment to the national Real Food Challenge (RFC). The RFC mission is "to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources - what we call "real food" - by 2020."

Sodexo Dining

  • Cage free - all shelled eggs sourced by Sodexo Dining are cage free certified
  • Dietary needs - The main dining hall offers a variety of choices daily for those with dietary needs; including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, and others
  • Fair Trade - all Aspretto coffee and teas at HWS are fair trade certified and ethically sourced
  • Local Food - Sodexo sources local foods and beverages from a variety of local providers, including Red Jacket Orchards (local fruits and juices), Byrne Dairy (all dairy products from local farms that do not use rBST), Chobani (local yogurt), Boulevard Produce (local fruits and vegetables when in season and available), Midstate Bakery (local bread), Aspretto Coffee and Teas (fair trade certified and ethically sourced), and Purdy & Sons (local meats).
  • Seafood - Sodexo has committed to 100% of their fish and seafood purchases will be sustainably certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or the Best Aquaculture Practices by 2015.

For more information about Sodexo Dining sustainability initiatives, click here.

For more information about current and historic HWS Food and Agriculture initiatives, please visit the Food Studies Archive.

Back to Top



What is Recyclable?
For complete guide to HWS recycling, click here. HWS is located in Ontario County NY, which operates a zero-sort recycling system. That means that all recyclables go into one blue bin, which are then sorted at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) located a few miles from campus on NYS Routes 5&20 in Stanley, NY.

What is compostable?
For a complete guide to HWS compost, click here. All organic waste in the main dining hall Saga, The Pub, and The Cafe is collected. This organic waste is picked up and processed into compost by Cayuga Compost located in Trumansburg, NY, approximately 34 miles from campus.

HWS has recently made composting of organic waste at catered events more successful through signage, volunteers, and outreach. We hope these efforts not only decrease organic waste to landfills, but also raise awareness amongst faculty, students, staff, alum, parents, and other campus visitors.

Why: Approximately 15% of the municipal waste stream is food waste. Organic waste is one of the primary contributors to methane production in landfills, which is a highly potent greenhouse gas. Landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States.

Compost Program
All pre and post-consumer food waste in the dining areas is currently composted by a local private company. Dining services composts approximately 1.2 tons of food waste each week.  In addition to food waste, The Colleges now purchases some compostable serviceware, including straws, to-go containers, and others.

Electronic Recycling
Electronics can be better understood as anything that plugs into an outlet or requires a battery, including batteries themselves.


HWS faculty, staff, and students should use local electronic retailers for their ewaste disposal, such as Staples (located in the Tops Plaza on NYS Routes 5&20 across from Wegmans). For alkaline batteries, please dispose of them in the bin located in the Scandling Center.

Why: "Electronics are made from valuable resources, such as precious metals, copper, and engineered plastics, all of which require considerable energy to process and manufacture. Recycling electronics recovers valuable materials and as a result, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution, save energy, and save resources by extracting fewer raw materials from the earth.” (US EPA)

HWS has been a part of the Recyclemania movement since 2008, which is a nationwide competition between colleges and universities to see who can recycle the most and reduce waste.

Trayless Tuesdays
Elimination of trays has proven to cut food waste on college campuses. Every Tuesday Sodexo Dining Staff and students help to reduce food waste in the main dining hall, Saga. Cutting food waste also reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with hauling.

Water Bottle

Water Bottle Refill Stations
Over 12 water bottle refill stations have been installed on campus. Water bottle refill stations ease access to cold, safe drinking water and encourage the use of reusable water bottles. Reusable water bottles greatly reduce the use and disposal of single use plastic water bottles.

IT Purchases and Policies
Information Technology brings the Colleges the best technology available for our needs. It takes into account environmental concerns when selecting products; is finishing the transition to Multifunctional Devices that reduce the Colleges’ “tech” footprint; has implemented a two-sided printing default; and is working with the Colleges on a “paperless” initiative.


Back to Top


HWS is a residential campus located close to downtown Geneva and other local amenities. From Scandling Center, you can walk almost anywhere you need in 10 minutes.

Yellow Bike Program
The Yellow Bike Program kicked off in the Fall 2008 Semester with a new Bike Shop, two bike shop managers, over 70 yellow bikes, many new bike racks, and an electric truck to keep bikes distributed around campus. The Yellow Bike program continues to be a success every year as students look for a low-impact mode of transportation in and around campus. To find out more about the Yellow Bike program and how you can get one, email

The Colleges have two cars—one is a hybrid and the other is a compact sedan.  These vehicle are an environmentally friendly transportation alternative.  HWS members pay a $25 annual fee, and rates on all Zipcars start as low as $8 per hour and $66 per day.  Gas, insurance, reserved parking spots, up to 180 miles of driving per day and roadside assistance are included in the hourly and daily Zipcar rates. Cars can be reserved for as little as an hour or for multiple days

The HWS campus shuttle will bring you all over Geneva, whether you need to go to Wegmans, downtown for a quick bite, the gym, or even the movie theatre. Click here for campus shuttle pickup locations and times.

Vehicle Fleet
The vehicle pool consists of ten 12-person vans, one minivan, and one car. They are available on a charge-back rental plan for educational/departmental trips, athletic trips, and established clubs/group trips. Requests are taken on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED BASIS. The Office of Conferences and Events/Van Fleet Services must receive a reservation request in writing at least one (1) week prior to the scheduled trip departure. Please complete and submit the Van Request form to the Office of Conferences and Events.

Green Surcharge
there is a $5 Green Surcharge added to every campus parking ticket to encourage alternative transportation and decrease campus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with commuting. The money is used for campus sustainability and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction projects.

Back to Top


Green Seal

Cleaning Products
For wet floor cleaning, the Colleges use a chemical-free unit that cleans without the environmental and human health issues associated with producing, transporting, packaging, using, and disposing of harsh cleaning chemicals. The unit’s hygienic tanks allow for easy access and sanitation to reduce mold, bacteria, and other contaminants that can grow in enclosed tanks. Additionally, the floor cleaning machine uses 90% less detergent and 70% less water than conventional scrubbing.

Hand Soap
For hand cleaning, the Colleges use a bio-degradable foam soap certified by EcoLogo and Green Seal. Green Seal is a non—governmental organization that sets environmental standards for products and works with applicants to certify their product under Green Seal environmental criteria.

The Colleges only use paints that are near zero VOCs.

Stormwater Management Initiatives

  • Green Roofs - The Colleges have installed three green roofs, one on a residential hall (Comstock Hall), one on the main student center (Scandling Campus Center), and one on the new Performing Arts Center (PAC). The first two pilot projects were initiated by students and the Climate Task Force as a means to help with stormwater management, reduce heat island effect, extend the lifetime of the roof system, and improve energy efficiency through increased insulation value. The PAC green roof helps in achieving LEED accreditation.
  • Rain Barrels - The Finger Lakes Institute’s Store the Storm project has promoted rainwater harvesting techniques. Installing a rain barrel is an easy way to protect our environment and save money. A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains or streams. Rain barrels reduce the flow of untreated storm runoff into bodies of water, like the Finger Lakes. Installing a rain barrel will minimize runoff pollutants into our waterways, conserve treated drinking water, and reduce demand on the wastewater treatment system. Using a rain barrel not only helps protect the environment, it saves money and energy. 
  • Permeable Pavement - The Colleges have installed permeable pavement at the Finger Lakes Institute as a demonstration project. The permeable pavement was installed on the steep western slope of Seneca Lake, where it aides in the infiltration of rainwater running off nearby roads, sidewalks, driveway, and the hillside.
  • Ponds - The Colleges have three retention ponds. Landscape strategies have been deployed to integrate the ponds into the aesthetic of the campus, create habitat for wildlife, and slow and clean run-off. Odell’s Pond, the largest of three detention ponds, is located in one of the lowest elevations of campus to collect stormwater from nearby roads, sidewalks, driveways, athletic playing surfaces, and other impermeable surfaces. Odell’s Pond serves as a temporary reservoir, allowing for stormwater to slowly flow into a nearby wetland. Odell’s Pond is part of a multi-step stormwater management system.
  • Rain Garden - The Colleges have a demonstration rain garden installed on the hillside of Seneca Lake behind the Finger Lakes Institute. The 300 square foot rain garden is designed to soak up rainwater running off nearby roads, sidewalks, driveways, and the hillside. The rain garden recharges local groundwater; reduces the potential of home flooding; creates a habitat for birds and butterflies; protects Seneca Lake water quality by filtering pollutants; reduces erosion of the steep western banks of Seneca Lake; reduces the burden on municipal grey infrastructure; and allows 30% more water to infiltrate than a path of grass the same size. Native plants were selected for the garden because of their winter hardiness, ability to grow in clay soil, and resistance to disease and insect pests.
  • Swales - The Colleges have a number of vegetated swales, many of the vegetated swales offer a first entry to storm water before it flows into a retention pond or down steep slopes surround the Finger Lakes.

Water Use Reduction Initiatives

  • Appliances - Sodexo now uses new Ecolab Apexä dishwashing systems that use non-caustic chemistry, 95% less packaging material than prior methods, and saves approximately 22.4 million gallons of water annually, or about enough to fill 34 Olympic-sized pools.
  • Fixtures - All major building renovations and new construction on campus utilize water efficient fixtures, including low flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads. For instance, new tank style toilet installations, as well as replacements or upgrades are low flow (1.3 gallons per flush) models (approximately 170). 80% of the remaining flushometer style toilets have been upgraded to low flow valves (1.6 gallons per flush). There are approximately 300 showers on campus.  Most of the existing (95%) and any new showers utilize low flow (1.5 GPM) heads.
  • Irrigation - For the few irrigation systems that HWS does operate, one includes a rain sensor. The other systems are scheduled using weather data and personal inspection of soil moisture. They are set to run based on weather information, projected use, and monitoring of conditions.
  • Plantings - HWS landscape choices consider plants that do not require irrigation, can tolerate the conditions of our climate, and are appropriate for soil type. Native species are used as often as possible.

Back to Top

More Info


Complete this online certification to become an EcoRep!


If you have any questions or comments about sustainability initiatives at HWS please feel free to contact us at or (315) 781-3676.


In 2015, HWS ranked No. 53 of 153 schools who reported to Sierra's "Cool Schools" list, earning the highest possible rating in the categories for co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives, as well as innovation in sustainability.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.