Our Sustainability Story

The University of Minnesota Office of Sustainability and the educational campaign It All Adds Up provides direction and coordination for sustainability initiatives in the Twin Cities. We are committed to reaching our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 through inclusive projects, cross-campus planning, partnerships, and working with the greater community.

Our goal is to create a culture of sustainable practices. We organize zero waste events at Huntington Bank Stadium and collaborate with departments on campus to retrofit buildings that reduce our carbon output.

We take pride in our ability to listen to students, staff, community members, and other stakeholders. Our office and efforts are not isolated. We invite everybody to join the conversation! It is key to our mission to remain accountable to the residents of the Twin Cities and include the broader campus community as we create a positive environmental impact.

Our Vision

In 2009, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents adopted a policy on Sustainability and Energy Efficiency, stating:

“Sustainability is a continuous effort integrating environmental, social, and economic goals through design, planning, and operational organization to meet current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The University is committed to incorporating sustainability into its teaching, research, and outreach and the operations that support them.”


  • 2004: Regents of the University of Minnesota adopts a policy on sustainability
  • 2006: Institute on the Environment formed
  • 2008: Former University President Robert Bruininks signs American Universities and Colleges Presidents Climate Commitment
  • 2008: Systemwide Goals and Outcomes committee formed
  • 2009: University of Minnesota Systemwide Sustainability Goals, Outcomes, Measures, and Process report released, highlighting the commitment to sustainability.
  • 2010: Standing sustainability committees formed on all campus
  • 2010: It All Adds Up campaign is expanded to include recycling and waste reduction
  • 2011: Climate Action Plan Released, outlining strategies that will most effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.The sustainability committee developed a plan for cutting UMTC emissions in half by 2021 and reducing them to zero by 2050.
  • 2012: Living Lab program established 
  • 2012: Boreas Graduate Leadership Program launched, which provides graduate students will skills to be effective environmental leaders.
  • 2015: UMN-TC hosts the annual Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference.
  • 2015: President Eric Kaler signs the White House Act on Climate Agreement, with hundreds of other higher education leaders, reaffirming the University’s commitment to addressing climate change.
  • 2016: University of Minnesota partners with Cupanion Rewards/Fill it Forward to reduce waste on campus.
  • 2020: President Joan Gabel announces MPact 2025 systemwide strategic plan, reflecting the University's commitment to build a fully sustainable future.
  • 2021: University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus reaches 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions