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Turn your winter from gray to green with these sustainable activities

  • University News
  • Sustainability

It is easy to feel gloomy this time of year: The holidays are far behind us, and spring feels lightyears away. From brand new initiatives to record numbers, keep reading for sustainable success stories to help combat the gloom and gray.

Going outside may require protection from the cold, but the community can breathe easier — literally. Pitt’s greenhouse gas emissions continue a downward trend, and the University is on track to achieve carbon neutrality by 2037. The FY22 Greenhouse Gas Inventory reported a total of 173,006 metric tons of CO2e, 36.7% below Pitt’s FY08 baseline. With numerous initiatives across campus, including record-breaking POGOH ridership, completion of the Vesper Gaucho Solar Farm and a Pitt Sustainability Challenge winner, the Pitt community can look forward to even more gains in the FY23 inventory.

Thinking of getting a jump on spring cleaning? Refresh your space and help those in need by donating surplus and gently used items. In 2023, Pitt redirected more than 23 tons of surplus from landfills to communities in need through donations at Clean and Swap and Clutter for a Cause. Surplus furniture from renovations at Hillman Library and The Eatery also got a second life: Through Pitt’s partnership with Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, surplus items — including furniture, mattresses and medical supplies — went to local and international medical practices in need.

Sustainability efforts at Pitt only look to expand further throughout the year. The University has joined other prominent organizations for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge. The challenge focuses on reducing specific types of greenhouse gas emissions and sharing successful reduction strategies. The community can also look forward to new rooftop solar arrays, a sustainable supplier showcase, new zero waste laundry options and more.

While we must wait to know if Punxsutawney Phil’s weather predictions are correct, the future at Pitt is guaranteed to be green.

Shake off the winter blues

  1. Transform your workspace into a sustainable hot spot through the Green Office and Green Lab programs.
  2. Grab lunch, shop for groceries or pick up a sweet treat at the Pitt Farmers Market.   
  3. Whether you are grabbing a coffee or a to-go meal at the dining halls, Choose to Reuse! Bringing your own container doesn’t just cut back on trash — sometimes it saves you money, too.
  4. Spend more time outside by becoming a Tree Tender, exploring the self-guided Tree Trek or relaxing in one of the multiple pollinator gardens on campus.
  5. Feeling anxious about the climate crisis? Find connection and support in the new Circles book club.