Student involvement inspires and informs sustainability initiatives, programs, and policies on campus. Student engagement is the strongest asset in positive change efforts at the college. Student organizations not only encourage collaboration on broad environmental and social justice issues, but they also host events and workshops, and foster sustainability on campus and in the greater community. The Sustainability Office offers a variety of programs to help you learn about different sustainability issues on and off campus.

First-Year Sustainability Reps

The First-Year Sustainability Reps program trains incoming first-year students during their fall semester to be campus sustainability leaders. You learn about and apply your knowledge by leading peer education initiatives in the residence halls. You go on behind-the-scenes tours of the Baker solar panel installation and other campus facilities, participate in workshops, and learn first-hand from faculty and staff working on sustainability. First-Year Sustainability Reps are given a budget to design, develop, and implement a measurable and meaningful sustainability team project.

Learn About Sustainability Topics

  • Environmental leadership
  • Social and environmental justice
  • Sustainable enterprise and social entrepreneurship
  • Energy systems and the campus solar panels
  • Local water issues
  • Sustainable food, The Davidson Farm, and Dining Services
  • Recycling and compost practices
  • How to get involved in sustainability-related clubs and projects


  • Attend weekly leadership meetings on Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m. during fall semester
  • Attend two Saturday field trips to learn about sustainability in the community
  • Design creative ways to educate hall residents about sustainability
  • Write one Davidsonian article
  • Contribute to campus sustainability initiatives
  • Network with sustainability oriented students, staff, and faculty
  • Design, develop, and implement a measurable and meaningful sustainability team project with a budget provided by the Sustainability Office.

How to Get Involved

If you are a first-year student who is interested in promoting sustainability in your residence hall and becoming a sustainability leader on campus, fill out an application. Previous experience is not required.

Additionally, there are a number of established student organizations related to different aspects of sustainability, including the Environmental Action Coalition, FreeWord, Food Club, Patterson Court Sustainability Council, Davidson Investment and Financial Association, EcoTeam, the Responsible Consumption Working Group, and more. See the Student Activities page for more information.

To learn more, contact Joe St. James Lopez at, Sustainability Fellow.

Sustainability Scholars

Sustainability Scholars address critical sustainability issues through real-world, immersive summer projects. Working anywhere from the skyscrapers in Charlotte to community gardens in food deserts, students integrate problem-solving skills through a wide range of community-based projects. Email Jeff Mittelstadt at for information on applying to be a Susatainability Scholar.

  • Students receive a $3,000 stipend and on-campus housing for the duration of the program
  • Placements are with non-profit, for-profit, and government organizations
  • Ten scholars are selected
  • The program runs from the beginning of June to the beginning of August

Summer applications are available at the beginning of spring semester.

Past Projects

  • Create a plan for the City of Charlotte to implement an electric vehicles program
  • Design a sustainability village on behalf of the Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention
  • Support social entrepreneurial hub Packard Place in its goal to make the facility a living museum
  • Work to make healthy, sustainable food more accessible and affordable to low-income communities through community gardens and food stamp programs
  • Launch a clean construction campaign with a local advocacy non-profit
  • Utilize GIS to map sustainability features in Charlotte for use by Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte
  • Analyze Bank of America's role and plan for a public-private energy reduction goal and explore the company's commitment to growing demand for electric vehicle charging stations

Sharing Perspectives

You are placed with community partners across many different sectors: corporate, government, and non-profit. You and other students constantly share insights on the opportunities and challenges unique to each other's organization and sector with the student group. These multiple perspectives fuel debate and discussion around the roles of these sectors, and through their cumulative experiences students explore how effective change efforts happen in this region.

Beyond the Nine-Week Experience

The immersive project, coupled with extensive enrichment activities, are designed to transform students academically, professionally, and personally, and to ultimately, provide you with the tools to translate your experience into a career with social impact.

Past Enrichment Activities

  • Weekly peer-facilitated reflection meetings focused on exploring interpersonal relationships, worldviews, and personal challenges and successes
  • Weekly community dinners
  • Career panel and discussion
  • Résumé workshop
  • Meeting with former mayor Anthony Foxx '93
  • Three-day trip to Kentucky to learn about mountain top removal and socioeconomic inequalities in Appalachia
  • Lunch with City Councilman John Autry, environment committee chair
  • Smart growth and transportation workshop with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department
  • Meeting with Duke Energy sustainability director
  • Tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway landfill and recycling center
  • Workshop on local water issues with Catawba Riverkeepers

Sustainability in Sports Reps

Representatives from each athletic team collaborate throughout the academic year to learn why sustainability is relevant to the sports world through facilities, equipment, and social issues. The student-athletes participate in workshops and annual projects that are intended to educate their fellow athletes and to help the athletic department operate more sustainably.

Internships & Work Study

Two interns each semester focus on environmental justice in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region. These interns collaborate with the director of sustainability and sustainability fellow to establish a semester project that bridges the gap between social justice and sustainability.

Additionally, any students who qualify for federal work-study can ask to be placed with the Sustainability Office. These students manage social media and communications, analyze energy and water data, create educational materials, and manage their own creative projects within the office.

Green Grants

The Sustainability Office offers Green Grants ($100-$2,500) for innovative sustainability projects. You may apply for independent grants, or work collaboratively with student organizations, faculty, or staff. Applications are due in the fall.

To apply for a Green Grant, please complete an online application. Please read the frequently asked questions below before applying.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much can I expect from a Green Grant?
Grant amounts will vary considerably. Grants may range from $100 to $2,500. There is no representative sum because of the variety of applications received and the limited funds available.

Does my proposal have to be a major project?
No, any project - big or small - will be considered for a Green Grant.

What are elements of a successful grant?
All successful grants demonstrate a clear and tangible way that the project will continue after the student leaves. Additionally, all successful grants show a thorough plan for implementation. For example, if the proposed project involves staff at Physical Plant (carpentry, grounds, etc.), the student must already have gained approval from Physical Plant staff.

What if my plans change?
You must alert the Sustainability Office to any changes in your project or else risk losing your grant. In some cases, adjustments to your project will change the size of your award.

Are there any other requirements to receive a grant?
There are no formal requirements, but we encourage you to consider how you might communicate your project with others. Your achievements will have greater longevity on campus if you can share your experiences. Reviewers will look favorably upon proposals with a communication aspect.

Can I receive funding for a project with a faculty or staff member?
Yes, the Green Grant program encourages collaborative work with one or more faculty or staff members, or student organizations.

Can seniors receive grant money?
Yes. However, if the project will not be completed before graduation, seniors must identify who will inherit their project.

Can I receive funding for a project that has already received Green Grant funding?

No. Green grant funding is intended to be "seed" money for projects that can sustain themselves. No money will be awarded twice to the same project, unless the project is considerably different.


The Residence Life Office and the Sustainability Office oversee the Eco-House, a unique on-campus living experience for ten students interested in sustainability-minded cooperative housing. The Eco-House is paired with a number of required educational programs which are determined by residents and the Sustainability Office at the beginning of each semester. To apply to live in the Eco-House for the 2015-16 academic year, please complete an online application. Applications are due on Friday, Feb. 5 at 11:59 p.m.

Green Your Dorm Room

Check out these ideas to make your dorm room an eco-friendly space.

Energy Boost

Davidson has a commitment to purchasing only Energy Star appliances. Support our commitment by choosing Energy Star when you have the option.

Light up your life!

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are now available in all sorts of shapes and wattages, including dimmable designs. CFLs use one-fifth to one-third as much energy as a traditional bulb. Be sure to choose a lamp that is compatible.

Second Chance

Check out one of the area's many secondhand shops for furniture, appliances, and clothes. Try Goodwill or the Habitat ReStore.

Catch some Zs...

Choose linen products with natural and even organic fibers. Wool and cotton are often healthier alternatives to synthetic blends.

Power Play

Use a power strip to prevent phantom loads from electronics and appliances that draw energy even when they are turned off. Not to mention, you'll clear up that tangle of chords. Make sure you still switch off your power strip when you leave the room.

Dirty Duds

Use phosphate-free laundry detergent made with natural products instead of harsh chemicals to help keep local waterways clean.

Drink to Your Health

Avoid plastic water bottles by using a water filter and a reusable canister. Get a Cat CUPPS sticker and put it on a reusable mug or bottle to use in your room, Commons, and the Davis Café—it saves you money.

Just Breathe

Get a house plant! Choose one that promotes good air quality, like Areca palm, reed palm, dwarf date palm, Boston fern, Janet Craig dracaena, English ivy, Australian sword fern, peace lily, rubber plant, and weeping fig.

Grab Some Grub

Get inexpensive metal or plastic plates, bowls, and utensils that can be washed and reused. Check the camping section at local hardware stores.

Snack Attack

Choose whole food snacks like fresh fruit, cheese, and veggie sticks. Check out the Davidson Farmers' Market for fresh local produce every Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon behind Summit Coffee and Ben & Jerry's year-round.

Tips for Eco-Friendly Choices


  • Turn off your lights when you leave the room
  • Use a desk lamp or natural light instead of the overhead light
  • Keep the lights off in your bathroom and Common Room when not in use
  • Turn your computer off when you don't need it
  • Unplug coffee makers, microwaves, and other small appliances when not in use. They draw electricity even when they're not being used.
  • Walk or ride your bike around campus and in-town. If you do need to drive, carpool.

Take a reusable bag to the bookstore, the supermarket, and other shopping excursions so you don't need paper or plastic ones.


There are recycling bins on your hall and all over campus for paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum products. The Union has recycling receptacles for plastic grocery bags, batteries, and used printer cartridges next to the post office boxes.