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.


  • Bioswale in the West 1 Parking Lot

    Purchase is a Top Green College

    According to the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2022 Edition, a unique resource for students interested in attending colleges with strong commitments to the environment and sustainability.
  • Tree Swallow (bird) sitting atop a nest box near the athletic fields

    Creating Space for the Birds: Nest Boxes

    Have you noticed the new bird nest boxes around campus? The Environmental Studies department is using these boxes to monitor and conserve bird species in our area.
  • Student Services Building Entrance

    Purchase Ranked for Environmental Responsibility

    Purchase College achieved a 92 out of 99 green rating in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition.
  • 10th Annual Green Business Partnership Award Ceremony winners

    Purchase Wins Energy Award

    Purchase College is being recognized for our “Outstanding Achievement in Energy” at the 10th Annual Green Business Partnership Awards.