Let’s Talk about RIT Sustainability

a picture of the Golisano building with the text "Let's talk about RIT Sustainability"

Over the years, RIT has rolled out a lot of environmental initiatives across campus to optimize and reduce our impact. However, you must be educated on RIT’s initiatives to utilize them to their fullest potential! 

three wind turbines outside the Golisano building.

Unique Programs

RIT has tons of sustainability initiatives and programs, but we picked out some of the ones we found to be really interesting and unique! 
  1. Carbon Neutrality “As a signatory of Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Commitment, RIT has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030. This commitment is a driving force behind RIT’s sustainability strategy.”
  2. Renewable Energy15% of the university’s purchased electricity is ‘Green-E’ certified. While the majority of RIT’s electricity is purchased (not generated on campus), an increasing amount is generated by on-campus solar installations.”
  3. Goodbye, Goodbye! Goodbye, Goodbye is a recycling program at RIT that has saved 35 tons of material from the landfill. At the end of the year, students can donate anything they don’t want, and the following fall students can purchase the used items for great prices. 
  4. Wetlands Protection There are 179 acres of federally designated wetlands that weave throughout and surround the main portion of campus. The wetlands are a rich source of biodiversity and serve as an excellent subject for classes and research.”
  5. RIT FoodShare Food waste is a huge issue on our planet, leading to massive methane emissions. RIT FoodShare addresses this problem; instead of throwing away food you’re not going to use, donate it. The RIT FoodShare program was created in 2014 and “exists to address food insecurity amongst students, faculty or staff.” No proof of need is required.
  6. LEED Certified Buildings RIT has 8 LEED Certified Buildings on campus, and now requires that all new buildings be certified to a minimum of LEED Silver. 
  7. LEED Low-Emission and Electric Vehicle Parking Have an electric vehicle? That’s no problem at RIT. There are several charging stations in lots throughout campus. 
  8. Reducing Single Use Plastic Earlier this year, RIT began its “Ditch the Disposables” campaign to decrease plastic waste, banning plastic bags, straws, and stirrers on campus.
  9. Hydration Stations Ditch your single use plastic water bottles. With hydration stations all over campus, RIT makes it really easy to use and refill a reusable water bottle. 
  10. Ozzi Containers Ozzi Containers eliminate the need for single-use to-go containers. Ozzi Containers have eliminated the use of 94,000 disposable containers at RIT. 

two people using the stairs of the golisano building as other stand at the top and at the bottom of the stairs


RIT has a mixed recycling system, meaning “plastic, glass, metal, paper and cardboard recyclables can be put in the same recycling container”. Although mixed recycling makes things easier, it doesn’t mean you can recycle anything. If recycling is utilized properly, the system can save money, energy, and natural resources. 

What is "wish-cycling" and why is it destructive?

“The rule is when in doubt, throw it out. “Wish-cycling” is the practice of including an item in the recycle bin even though you are unsure if it is acceptable because you really want it to be recycled. Not only does this add to the time and cost of processing recyclables, but it can be harmful to the equipment and employees at the recycling center. Recycling right does not just mean putting the right items in the recycling bin. It is equally important to keep the wrong items out of the recycling bin and putting items in the landfill bin.”

So what can be recycled at RIT?

In short, “Recycle plastic bottles, jugs, jars and tubs. If the item is not one of those shapes, it is best to leave it out of your recycle bin.” However, there’s a lot more you need to know. Check out a full list of details on what can be recycled at RIT and always be sure to double check the helpful images on the bins before you throw something in. For a fun way to learn more about what can and cannot be recycled in our county, play Sort It Out! 

Schools and Majors

a picture of the Golisano building at RIT

If you’re passionate about sustainability, then why not make a career out of it? Sustainability is a rapidly expanding field, as these issues are becoming more pressing each day. In the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, 100% of graduates have either entered the workforce or a graduate study program within six months of graduation. 

“RIT strives to infuse innovation and creativity into every element of our campus, and sustainability is central to our success. With academic program offerings that include product and packaging design, clean technology and policy, business, and environmental management, RIT is uniquely positioned to be a transformative force in the creation of a sustainable economy. But our efforts extend far beyond the classroom, empowering student-led sustainability programs, community engaged scholarship, and regional collaborations.”

The majors in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability include Architecture (M.Arch.), Sustainable Systems (MS), and Sustainability (Ph.D.), however there are so many other majors at RIT in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. Check them out! 

Together, we can reduce our impact. Be conscious of your decisions to make the world a better place! 


Tagged: Golisano Institute of Sustainability, Majors, Rochester Institute of Technology Sustainability ,