Taking Responsibility

Addressing one of the world’s most pressing problems, climate change, requires developing scientific research and taking personal responsibility for our actions. These requirements live at the heart of sustainability at Warren Wilson, where we have committed to sourcing local and regional food in our cafeteria to reduce food transportation pollution and where each individual is contributing to our zero waste challenge by dumping all food waste into our composting system on campus.

Our sustainability efforts have been recognized by a variety of sources, including the following publications:

Our Sustainability Commitment

We acknowledge that a complex web of economic, social, cultural, spiritual, and environmental factors determine the well-being of our community.

We recognize our power as individuals, and in community, to influence these complex, interdependent relationships.

We strive to make responsible decisions that take into account the multiple dimensions of sustainability in order to ensure quality of life now and for generations to come.

Here are just some of the many ways we strive to fulfill our commitment:

  • Applied Climate Studies Masters Program – In February 2024, the college announced its plans to start a Masters of Science in Applied Climate Studies program. By doing so, Warren Wilson College is furthering its commitment to fostering the next generation of leaders and innovators in the Climate Action space.
  • Mobile Microgrid – A fleet of 10 solar powered golf carts are used to transport people and materials across campus. They also provide power for jobs too far from existing power sources on campus.
  • Solar Powered Tractors – Warren Wilson College students and faculty have, in partnership with local solar company SolFarm, built an off-grid charging system for the college’s two electric Solectrac tractors.
  • Students Lead the Way – Students have led sustainable initiatives for years, including a leading role planning the EcoDorm and divesting the College’s endowment from fossil fuels.
  • Fossil Fuel Divestment – In 2015, Warren Wilson College became one of the roughly 25 U.S. colleges and universities to pledge to divest totally from fossil fuels within 5 years. We are happy to report that the College reached 100% divestment of our portfolio in 2020.
  • Responsible Investment – As Warren Wilson College divested, new investments were made in companies that demonstrate commitment to environmental sustainability; community and economic development; social diversity in hiring; and transparency and accountability in corporate governance, among other traits. Our efforts were even used by the Intentional Endowments Network as a case study for how colleges can invest sustainably.
  • Preserving Habitat – Warren Wilson College’s central campus has been named a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat, a North Carolina Native Plant Sanctuary, and a certified Monarch Butterfly Waystation through Monarch Watch.
  • Zero Waste Initiative –In 2017, Warren Wilson wrote a Zero Waste Initiative for the College to divert 90% of all waste from the landfill by 2032 with additional efforts to reach 100% as technology becomes available.