Campus Conservation Nationals

Case Western Reserve is just getting into the game with Campus Conservation Nationals [link removed due to defunct website] (CCN), a national initiative to encourage students to reduce water and energy consumption. In 2015, the Office for Sustainability and the Student Sustainability Council pitted campus residence hall areas each other to reduce their energy usage: Northside, Northwest and Southside. Students were encouraged to pledge to take energy saving actions and the results were tracked by area and displayed via an online dashboard. Southside won by reducing their energy consumption 12%, winning not only a trophy and glory but also a new water filling station for the common areas in the South Residential Village halls! This event has now morphed into our Annual Campus Res Hall Energy Contest. 

Sustainability Pre-Orientation Adventure

The Office of Energy & Sustainability collaborates with the Office of First-Year Experience and Family Programs to host a pre-orientation adventure with a sustainability theme.  Each August, first year and transfer students are able to elect to participate in an adventure the weekend before Orientation week.  Students who have joined the Sustainability Adventure have toured a Quasar site, a commercial digestor facility, gotten a backstage view at the Cleveland Indian’s sustainability efforts, participated in beach clean-ups, visited a local reclaimed wood workshop Rustbelt Reclamation, toured Mitchell’s Ice Cream’s local ice cream kitchen and heard from Pete Mitchell, one of their co-founders, the sustainability story behind the business, ate lunch at the historic West Side Market, visited local farms, and much more.  

Think Beyond The Classroom: Orientation at the Farm

The Office of Energy & Sustainability also partners with The University Farm and The Office of First-Year Experience and Family Programs to host an event at the farm during Orientation Week. Started in 2014, the intention behind the event is to introduce new students to the University Farm, and inform them in a fun, interactive experience that CWRU is lucky to have not only a green campus, but a green campus where hands-on research, volunteering, and recreation is abundantly available. Attendees can anticipate a local breakfast made with some produce grown at the farm; presentations; hikes and tours by farm researchers and staff—as well as faculty members and community members—and field games.


Each year, CWRU participates in RecycleMania, an 8-week recycling competition during February and March between colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada. RecycleMania is an opportunity to benchmark how much our university recycles, and how much goes to the landfill. Through the competition, we hope to raise awareness or recycling practices on campus; boost excitement about recycling by engaging the campus community in a friendly rivalry; and reduce the overall climate impact of our university.

To learn more about the program and our efforts, check out the RecycleMania website and follow our Facebook and Twitter pages during RecycleMania season. 


Students moving out of their residence halls for the summer and leaving campus after graduation leave behind piles of clothes and other household items that still have plenty of life left in them. The Office of Energy &  Sustainability partners with The Offices of Housing, Residence Life, and Greek Life to coordinate an annual collection drive known as REScycle.

During REScycle—usually beginning during the reading period and continuing until after graduation—large boxes labeled “REScycle donation location” are placed in the first floor common area of all residence halls and participating Greek houses. Students are welcome to place all unwanted items in good condition into the boxes to donate.

Items we can handle include (but are not limited to):

  • Clothes (no underwear please, although bras and bathing suits are acceptable);
  • Shoes;
  • Coats;
  • Sheets + Blankets (no mattress pads);
  • Dishes, Pots + Pans;
  • Books, Notebooks + School supplies;
  • Small Housewares + Electronics; and
  • Toys + Sports Equipment.

Larger furniture items that are unbroken can be donated by making a request via the Housing Work Order system. Staff members will contact you and arrange for a pick-up. Donated items are sent to Simple Recycling, who partners with local non-profits and resale shops to fundraise for groups such as the City Mission. Any non-perishable food items are donated to the Food Bank. Also, any unwanted electronic item, working or broken, can be put into a REScycle donation location, to be sent to our e-waste recycling partners at RET3. 

In the first year hosting REScycle in its current format, we did not measure the volume of materials we donated to the Thea Bowman Center in the nearby Mount Pleasant Neighborhood, but it included at least 150 garbage bags of clothing and shoes, and many large boxes of household items and school supplies. In 2013, after switching to working with Simple Recycling (then, we REScycled seven tons of items. In 2014, REScycle collected over five tons of material. This year's REScycle event collected 8.8 tons of clothes and household items, and included Greek Life housing in our efforts!