50th Anniversary

Sustainability at Prescott College

Photo By Ken Anderson

Creating sustainability in our learning community

At Prescott College, we consider sustainability an integral part of our mission. Whether on our campus or in our classroom, we recognize and promote the importance of sustainability in maintaining the health of our communities and our surroundings. 

Sustainability on the Campus

The Village Residence Halls are the embodiment of sustainability at Prescott College. The Village has received LEED™ Platinum certification, the highest level in the standard developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. This achievement places Prescott College with the first ever LEED Platinum building in Yavapai County, AZ and one of few such higher education student housing facilities in the nation.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) certification is based on evaluation of several key areas of design for sustainability: site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.  It is the accepted standard for green building certification across the nation, and is also in common use in other countries around the world.

The Village's green features include:

  • Energy reduction of over 90% in high efficiency design modeling.
  • Over 95%, 550 tons, construction waste diverted from landfill.
  • Rainwater catchment system for irrigation for food producing landscaping.
  • Native drylands species landscaping installed with no long-term irrigation.

Right outside The Village, you'll find Butte Creek running through the heart of the Prescott College campus. This section of the creek is an exemplary restoration site. Students can get involved by joining The Butte Creek Restoration Council - whose mission is to engage the Prescott College community, our creekside neighbors, and the larger Prescott community in projects that help restore, enhance, and celebrate Lower Butte Creek as the centerpiece of our expanding campus and a vital part of the Upper Granite Creek Watershed. 

Meander through the campus and you'll see that sustainability is woven into the infrastructure, from the native landscaping to the thoughtful repurposing of construction materials and buildings. Senior Projects have taken on a life of their own and showcase the values of the students who leave their mark on the community. HUB (Helping Understand Bicycles) is one such project. It has become a permanent fixture on campus and promotes bicycle culture and advocacy. Art installations made of recycled materials, compost bins and restoration projects are also evidence of Senior Projects that have made a lasting impact. 

Sourcing over 100% of our electricity usage from renewables

Our campus now also runs completely on renewable electricity. Beside the generation of solar energy on our rooftops, 100% of the remaining energy needs of the campus are also sourced green. By sourcing green, Prescott College once again walks its talk of a life-long commitment to environment health and social justice. Supported entirely by the students, this initiative once again demonstrate their inspiring capacity to lead responsibly towards a cleaner future.

“Prescott College once again demonstrates our life-long commitment to ever-reducing our environmental footprint through innovations that help the planet and its inhabitants.” says Peter Sherman, Campus Sustainability Director. “By sourcing over 100% of our electricity from renewables, we proudly take the lead in Arizona among its many fine institutions of higher education. Our change to responsible sourcing of our electricity just shows that the inspiration that started our small college 50 years ago is alive and well in 2016-17.“

Sustainability in the classroom 

Sustainability is at the core of many Prescott College courses and is the driving force behind our Ph.D. in Sustainability Education program. As our mission states, we prepare students to "Think critically and project propose ethically with sensitivity to both the human community and the biosphere."  From Restoration Ecology to Transformational Learning and Sustainability Education courses students are learning the skills and the mindset to do just that. 

Institute for Sustainable Social Change

The institute works to strengthen local communities and organizations through service by connecting community needs with human, social and financial capital. Through the facilitation of socially engaged learning and research opportunities it aids in the realization of human potential, the development of effective leaders and provide a foundation for recognizing and addressing institutionalized injustice. Learn more.