What is sustainability?

A practical definition of sustainability developed by the Brundtland Commission is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The central idea that our resources are finite and the rate and way in which we use them must be altered has held strong through the various interpretations. Purchase has invested not only in our students’ future but also in society’s future by focusing on sustainability measures.

However, sustainability is a complex interdisciplinary concept. Sustainable practices not only support the natural environment and ecological health, but also social equity and economic vitality. Sustainability is used to understand the interconnections between the three aspects. To better understand the concept and the linkages, read about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how Purchase is utilizing the goals for a more sustainable future.


  • Carbon footprint depicting the factors of human activity

    Environmental Benefits of Telecommuting

    The Sustainability Advisory and Outreach Committee (SAOC) gathered members’ transportation data to show the positive environmental impact from telecommuting due to COVID
  • 50 Years Earth Day 2020

    50 Actions for 50 Years

    Join others in the Purchase community by challenging yourself to take these 50 actions for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020!
  • UCapture logo with polar bear "UCapture is the easy, fun and free way to combat climate chan...

    UCapture at Purchase College

    Purchase has partnered with UCapture to decrease our carbon footprint by online shopping!

  • Plastic Bag with prohibition sign

    Plastic Bag Ban

    On March 1, 2020, a new bag waste reduction law took effect in New York State, including campus where hundreds of thousands of bags are used each year!