wade_troxell_for_mayorSustainable practices are second nature for the majority of students at Colorado State University, according to Jacob Kimiecik, the Director of the Student Sustainability Center. While the City of Fort Collins and CSU work together to reach sustainability goals for the future, alternative transportation, clean energy, a thriving economy and water innovation are just a few of the expected results.

Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell is one of 27 mayors in America who signed the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, encouraging President Obama to fight for a climate agreement at the upcoming 21st Conference to the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. Mayors from other Colorado cities including Aspen, Denver and Boulder, signed the letter as well. COP21 is the world’s largest climate negotiation, according to Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Fort Collins Jackie Kozak-Thiel.

“So much of the action around climate change in the (United States) and around the world is happening on a local level,” Kozak-Thiel said. “Fort Collins was a natural fit for us to join the national climate action agenda because we had just passed the Climate Action Plan Framework this past March with ambitious goals.” Read more here.

A living green wall, solar panels, waste-to-energy programs and a platinum STARS rating.

These are only a few of the elements that make Colorado State University the most sustainable university in the nation, according to BestColleges.com and theAssociation for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. After reviewing more than 240 institutions around the country, the list of the 50 greenest colleges was generated using the following categories: academics, engagement, operations and planning and administration. These standards were scored by the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).

The No. 1 greenest university award comes just four months after CSU was named theworld’s first platinum-rated STARS institution. Research, alternative transportation, recycling and sustainable food practices, among others, contribute toward CSU’s green initiatives.

Programs including the Student Sustainability CenterEco LeadersSustainability Leadership FellowsASCSU Environmental Affairs and other organizations on campus helped CSU earn the platinum STARS rating. Research opportunities, educational programs and campus engagement are continuing to benefit members of the CSU community.

Illustration by Christina Vessa.

Using mosquitoes in Liberia to detect viruses before they become a global threat. Researching antibiotic resistance in livestock. Tracking air pollution in national parks.

These are only a few of the interdisciplinary research topics of the 20 newly-named Sustainability Leadership Fellows for the 2015-16 academic year.

Ph.D. and postdoctoral students in research and educational science fields are working together to focus on communication and leadership development for the fifth year in a row through the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.

“These are our next thought leaders,” said Anita Weller, Research and Outreach Coordinator for SoGES. “These are the next group of people (studying) sustainability science, and they’re going to be producing a lot of the information that we need to use to solve these grand challenges.” Read more here.


You can travel 80 miles using battery power from a BMW i3.

I drove this electric vehicle for three days, while applying its performance, cost and efficiency to my life as a student.


As industry growth is rising, universities are encouraging consideration of alternative transportation. Free charging stations, tax credits and local organizations help universities promote this technology to their communities.

Drive Electric Northern Colorado promotes electric vehicle use, while engaging and educating the community through programs like the Drive Leadership Program, which offers extended test-drive opportunities.

The i3 is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that uses a small internal combustion engine, working with battery power. Read more here.