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Our Ecosphere

Sustainability logo involving a leaf and stem encircling the globe.

Swarthmore College has a long history of protecting the environment and the people who rely on it. From the founding of Earthlust, the College’s oldest environmental student group, in 1990 to the signing of the American Colleges and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment by former President Rebecca Chopp in 2010, stewardship of the Earth’s resources is an important part of Swarthmore’s legacy and identity. Today, these efforts center on the work of developing societies that support healthy ecosystems, and are in sync with the Earth’s cycles of abundance.

Sustainability at Swarthmore is a collective effort that engages the work, vision, and creativity of students, faculty, and staff across many divisions of the College. Our campus commitments address climate change and other environmental risks by using natural resources in a sustainable manner and educating our community. Our Climate Action Plan [pdf] ​sets ambitious but actionable goals, including carbon neutrality by 2035. Our Zero Waste plan commits us to diverting 80 percent of our waste from trash to recycling and compost by 2022. And our Environmental Studies program, established in 1992, empowers students with the knowledge to continue on as responsible stewards of the environment beyond their time at Swarthmore.

These efforts are supported by our Office of Sustainability in close collaboration with our Ecosphere Executive Committee and a host of other campus partners.