greenROUTES history

Strong Student Involvement and the History of GreenROUTES

During the 2006-2007 academic year a group of third-year students in the Environmental Studies Department's “Community-Based Research Project” class formed GreenROUTES, to Redirect Our campUs Toward Environmental Sustainability (ROUTES). These students were: Geoff Pushee, Alexa FitzGerald, Sean Wheeler, Kris Ramsay, Stephanie Goggin, Chris McClellan, Stephanie Seavy, Brian Valle, Anna Clark (see photo from left to right.) They completed the first campus sustainability assessment for Colby-Sawyer College and their project involved working with several programs and departments at the college to determine an action plan for reducing the environmental impact of campus activities. They also recommended that President Galligan sign the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Read more about the 2007 Student GreenROUTES Project.

In 2008-2009 another group of students revisited the GreenROUTES project with specific focus on the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment. These students completed the college's first Greenhouse Gas Inventory, a comprehensive sustainability analysis using the STARS assessment tool (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) and developed a comprehensive set of policy recommendations to reduce the college's carbon footprint. Both reports served as a foundation for our Climate Action Plan. Read the 2009 Student GreenROUTES Report.

Acting on the findings and recommendations of both GreenROUTES student groups and with the intention of acquiring support in meeting its obligations under the ACUPCC, Colby-Sawyer College hired its first Sustainability Coordinator in September of 2009. Building upon the initial success of the original GreenROUTES student projects and the campus-wide association of the name “GreenROUTES” with sustainability, Colby-Sawyer College has chosen the GreenROUTES brand as the umbrella for all of its future sustainability initiatives.

Looking Back at Where We've Been

The remarkable setting of Colby-Sawyer College and the beauty surrounding it have always inspired those involved to instinctually foster respect and stewardship for the land. The wellbeing of students, employees and the greater college community are at the forefront our strategic planning, and our surroundings have been recognized as both an asset to the college and a source of pleasure for its members. The partial list below captures some of the actions the college and its members have taken over the years to practice social, fiscal and environmental responsibility.


  • Changed from heating oil to more efficient and cleaner-burning propane
  • Upgraded lighting across much of campus, including replacing many incandescent lights with more energy efficient compact fluorescents Installed automation systems for many boilers, heating valves and A/C units
  • Installed pumps for heating circulators in dorms that use 50% less energy than existing pumps
  • Installed more high performance windows in most residence halls (nearly 1100 representing almost half of campus)
  • Facilities received Public Service of New Hampshire Energy Efficiency Award
  • Added insulation in attics of many buildings Upgraded underground utilities
  • Increased purchase of Energy Star Appliances
  • Replaced older faculty computers with Energy Star compliant and EPEAT Gold-certified models


  • Initiated no idling policy for visiting busses and for campus vehicles at away games
  • College President drives hybrid vehicle


  • Upgraded water and sewer lines
  • Tree nursery planned for campus
  • Use of Eco-Lab non-toxic cleaning supplies in Facilities for Housekeeping & Maintenance/Grounds


  • “Tray-less” meals offered in dining hall to save on food waste and energy
  • “Chows for Sows” buckets used to collect food scraps for local pigs, keeping organic materials out of the landfill
  • Recycled napkins in dining hall
  • Reusable mugs issued to first-year students
  • Eco-friendly Green Mountain to-go cups offered in dining hall
  • Black River Produce provides vegetables from local farms
  • Replaced takeout boxes w/paper wrappers
  • Using Eco-Lab environmentally friendly cleansers in
  • Dining Hall Replaced frozen and canned vegetables with fresh options


  • Part-time Recycling Coordinator provided education to campus community, supervised student workers, gathered statistics regarding materials collected, facilitated collection of hard-to-recycle items, and set up recycling areas in buildings and for special events
  • Recycling efforts increased so that collection bins are now available in every building
  • Options exist on campus to recycle paper, cardboard, cans, paper and glass
  • Periodic collection of inkjet cartridge and batteries for recycling
  • Vermiculture compost bin in Environmental Studies “Green Suite”
  • Several departments exploring and/or instituting “paperless” options for many processes such as employee applications, admissions, and internal communications
  • Students for a Greener Campus painted recycling bins for dorms
  • Facilities composts grass and leaves for use in landscaping
  • Instituted print count software to build awareness about paper usage
  • Received Document Imaging grant to reduce paper consumption and streamline online data storage
  • Internal recycling program for office supplies and furniture
  • Eco-friendly paper and inks used in Colby-Sawyer Alumni Magazine


  • College Strategic Plan updated to include: “Committed to creating an environmentally sustainable campus community”
  • Added Environmental Studies Department, including majors in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies
  • Several Environmental Studies courses developed, including an exploration area in Environmental Literacy
  • Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) include environmental sustainability as a focus area for projects (won Regional Award for their “Bring Your Own Mug” Project, see: http://www.colby-sawyer.edu/business/team.html)
  • Students for a Greener Campus (SGC) Club initiated
  • Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) exploring ways to “go green”
  • “Lights Out” event with dorm competitions to reduce electricity use and raise awareness
  • Student Government Association (SGA) involved in sustainability discussions including print quota and paper cup usage in dining hall
  • Workshops conducted for faculty on using Blackboard to reduce paper usage in the classroom and “go green”
  • Committee for Faculty Development and Research sponsored discussion on sustainability
  • Colby-Sawyer representation on New London Energy Committee
  • Environmental Studies “Community-Based Research” course conducting Natural Resources Inventory for the Town of New London
  • Hired Sustainability Coordinator
  • Created Sustainability Task Force