Carbon Neutrality

During Hobart and William Smith’s 2007 Convocation, President Mark D. Gearan announced four core strategies for the Colleges in the near future—Inclusive Excellence, strengthening the Office of Community Engagement and Service Learning, the Geneva Partnership, and Sustainability. In that same month he signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, committing the Colleges to climate neutrality by 2025.

Over 600 signatories of the Carbon Commitment pledge to fulfill a three-step constitution that includes expediently initiating a comprehensive plan for climate neutrality, taking tangible action to reduce greenhouse gases, and publicizing the action plan, inventory and progress. The Commitment recognizes the unique responsibility that institutions of higher education have as role models for their communities and in training the people who will develop the social, economic and technological solutions to reverse climate change.

You can see our current emissions on the Second Nature webpage.


The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) helps track and measure the sustainability of 700 colleges and universities in 21 countries around the world. This is accomplished with a transparent, self-reporting framework called Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

STARS measures sustainability comprehensively across all areas of higher education with reporting metrics ranging from academics to operations, all the way through employee satisfaction, and even investments. It allows institutions to benchmark their performance amongst peer institutions and incentivizes change with public recognition. The past three years Hobart and William Smith Colleges has obtained a silver ranking and with your help we can reach gold!

You can see our most recent report on the STARS webpage.

HWS Food Purchasing Assessment

Since 2012, Hobart and William Smith students have worked to recognize and support an institutional commitment to procurement of ‘real food’ – food that is local or community based, fair, ecologically sound and/or humane. Through utilization of the Real Food Challenge Calculator Tool, students have analyzed Sodexo Dining Service food receipts to calculate the percent ‘real food’ purchased by HWS.

Bee Campus USA

Hobart and William Smith Colleges leads efforts to benefit pollinators on campus and in Geneva, NY. Our students and campus community incorporates pollinator conservation and education in our land management, coursework, service learning, research, and community engagement. In working collaboratively with Sodexo Campus Services, our campus landscape is maintained, managed, and conserved with pollinators in mind. Hobart and William Smith Colleges became a Bee Campus USA affiliate in February 2019 by forming a leadership committee of students, faculty, and administrators/staff and began work on creating a HWS Pollinator Habitat Plan. The committee, led by Kristen Brubaker, works to mobilize integral programs to raise awareness, expand habitat, and celebrate gains for pollinators, through such efforts as developing a campus habitat plan, hosting events and workshops, sponsoring service learning projects, and offering pollinator focused curriculum and public outreach.

Tree Campus USA

In 1877, brothers William, Thomas, and Edward Smith purchased an amount of acreage of White Springs Farm to expand Geneva's first nursery which they created in 1846. For over a century, tree conservation has remained an integral value to HWS as nurseryman William Smith later founded William Smith College in 1908. In recognition of the Colleges' excellence in tree care and education, the Colleges has retained a designation of Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA since 2012. HWS interns have conducted an inventory of trees on campus to focus their investigation on calculating the monetary and environmental value of our urban forest. The HWS Tree Advisory Committee meets twice a year and endorses a Campus Tree Care Plan and other Sodexo HWS natural resource conservation policies and procedures.