Living Green

Sustainability is an integral part of living and learning at Purchase College from move-in to commencement.

We hope to inspire all students to abide by and advance our standard of sustainability during their time on campus. With so many opportunities that offer different levels of engagement, students can find a way to be a more sustainable member of the Purchase community that fits their level of commitment.

Green Leadership Opportunities

Students gain professional experience through sustainability-related committee work and internships.

PSGA GreenFee Council

The Green Fee Council  is the student-run entity that guides the sustainability efforts of the PSGA. They allocate a budget created from the mandatory student activity fee for green initiatives, programs, and projects on campus

The Student Sustainability Coordinator chairs the Green Fee Committee. 

Compost Master

The Compost Master loads the Rocket Composter with food waste from The Hub twice a day and moves the finished compost to a curing site near the Native Plant Garden for use in the plant beds.

PSGA FreeStore/FreeNew Coordinator

FreeNew collects useful items, which would have otherwise been sent to a landfill, during move-out times and gives them back to the student body—at no cost—the following semester. Items are stored in sheds around campus. 

The FreeStore responds to the issue of waste and food insecurity in our campus community by providing an array of items, such as clothing, art supplies, non-perishable food, household goods and appliances, books, magazines, and more.

Food Recovery Network

Purchase College is an official chapter of the Food Recovery Network, which seeks to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food from on-campus dining locations and following events that would otherwise go to waste and redistributing it to students with food insecurity.

Purchase College Senate Sustainability Advisory and Outreach Committee

Comprised of faculty, staff, and students, the Sustainability Advisory and Outreach Committee works to establish a culture of environmental stewardship as a fundamental practice and priority for Purchase College, both immediately and for the future.

2023-2024 Sustainability Leaders

Events and Volunteer Opportunities

Exciting events are being planned all the time. Stay informed by subscribing to our newsletter or visiting our News and Events web page.

Our most significant events include Campus Race to Zero Waste, Earth Week, and Food Recovery.

Sustainability Curriculum

Interested in taking a sustainability-themed course? Check out our most recent course inventory of classes that involve sustainability topics, like our Environmental Studies major and minor.

Sustainability Internships

Starting in Spring of 2024, 5 new sustainability internships are being offered. An overview of each can be found below and additional information regarding learning outcomes, qualifications, and hours can be found on JobScore.

  1. Campus Composting Internship: Purchase College is helping reduce food waste through a composting program using an industrial composter, called The Rocket (located behind the Hub). Right now, the Rocket gets pre-consumer food scraps from the Hub and produces high quality compost that can be used in campus gardens. We seek interns interested in helping this program to grow to its full extent by working to keep the Rocket running at capacity while also expanding this program to capture more food waste.  Responsibilities include working closely with Compost Master to organize schedule to keep Rocket running full time, determining feasibility of expanding compost program to post-consumer waste and meet with stakeholders about this possibility, and meeting with other sustainability interns, student sustainability coordinator, and mentors regularly to coordinate sustainability programs at Purchase.
  2. FreeStore Internship: Purchase College maintains the FreeStore on campus, which is a space run by PSGA to allow for student clothing and housewares swaps using a donation/counter-consumerism based structure. This space provides an important resource for students and is critical to a zero waste and sustainability movement. Responsibilities include working closely with FreeStore Director to maintain FreeStore, including scheduling open hours and maintaining space, considering options to increase donations, including working with Broadview and faculty/staff, organizing FreeNew sheds to prepare for move out and develop robust protocol for future years, and meeting with other sustainability interns, student sustainability coordinator, and mentors regularly to coordinate sustainability programs at Purchase. 
  3. Land Stewardship Internship: Purchase College is home to 500 acres, which includes 100 acres of protected forest and stream ecosystems. This intern will work on projects related to preservation, education, and outreach about our natural areas. Responsibilities include choosing, developing, and executing a project of interest that can be completed within the semester with the help of a mentor, and meeting with other sustainability interns, student sustainability coordinator, and mentors regularly to coordinate sustainability programs at Purchase.
  4. Native Plant Garden Internship: The Purchase College Native Plant Garden is home to 24 species of flowers native to eastern North America that provides important benefits for local pollinators and wildlife. Started by a group of students, faculty, and staff in 2019, the Native Plant Garden offers a unique opportunity for experiential learning right here on the Purchase College campus. Responsibilities include weekly care, watering, and monitoring of health of native plants being head-started indoors at the Natural Sciences Building (January – March), monitoring and weeding of garden area in late spring (April – May), coordination of garden planting events (May),  outreach (through signs and social media) to community, and meeting with other sustainability interns and mentors regularly to coordinate sustainability programs at Purchase.
  5. Zero Waste Internship:  The Purchase College Sustainability Advisory and Outreach Committee (SAOC) is committed to reducing waste on our campus. We seek interns to work on reducing waste across campus, which involves complex interconnections between food waste, recycling programs, public outreach, and administrative oversight. We have a lot of work to do in this sector but this is a priority of SAOC and a mandate from the state, which means big changes are coming and you can be a part of making this happen. Responsibilities include working closely with the campus Sustainability Coordinator on waste audit and furniture donation program, meeting with the SAOC subcommittee on plastics to work on programs to reduce plastic waste, including individual responsibilities to be determined, coordinating outreach (signs and social media) to educate campus about recycling and reducing waste, and meeting with other sustainability interns, student sustainability coordinator, and mentors regularly to coordinate sustainability programs at Purchase. 
  6. Food Recovery Network Internship: The Food Recovery Network (FRN) is the largest student movement fighting food waste and hunger in the United States. America wastes approximately 40 percent of the food it produces, despite confronting a growing problem of food insecurity across the country.
    One in every six Americans do not know when their next meal is coming. With the urgency of hunger worldwide, and the spread of food insecurity across U.S. colleges campuses, we have a responsibility to respond. The Purchase College FRN Chapter aims to provide resources to food-insecure students by participating in food recovery, donating food to those in need, and enhancing public awareness through education and advocacy. Our goal is to make the USDA and EPA food waste reduction goal of 50 percent by year 2030 a reality, and to turn the tide on hunger and food-insecurity. Food Recovery Facilitators will assist in campus food recovery efforts, staff the pantry, and participate in FRN organizing to combat food waste and insecurity among the campus community. Responsibilities include familiarizing yourself with the FRN manual and CHIP Toolkit, attending meetings and coordinating tasks of the FRN chapter, participating in ongoing food recovery runs and deliver food to designated locations (on campus or to partner agency),  tracking recovery data on FRN’s national database, assisting with developing public education and awareness materials, maintaining student confidentiality, compiling recipes of the week, and meeting with other sustainability interns, student sustainability coordinator, and mentors regularly to coordinate sustainability programs at Purchase.  

Training will be provided for all interns.