WATCH: 5 sustainability efforts you may not know about at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt arboretum

In 2019, Vanderbilt set a goal to power its campus entirely through renewable energy. In 2021, it achieved carbon neutrality. Watch environmental science and environmental sociology major Geena Han, Class of 2024, highlight five sustainability efforts at our university that you may not know about.

1. Powering campus with renewable energy

Vanderbilt partnered with Tennessee Valley Authority and Nashville Electric Service to create a large-scale, offsite solar farm to mitigate indirect greenhouse gas effects. This project was made possible by VU alumni-founded solar developer, owner and operator Silicon Ranch.

2. Forests of the future from our acorns

Close-up of acorns in hand

Vanderbilt partners with the Tennessee Department of Forestry to increase diversity in the state’s trees. Campus acorns are cultivated for about a year before the resulting seedlings are planted all over the state.

3. Free bus rides

All Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff can use their physical Commodore Card to ride the WeGo buses free of charge, an easy, sustainable and convenient transportation option.

4. Campus Dining recycling and compost

Campus Dining has been recycling all paper, plastic, tin, aluminum, cardboard and glass since 2006. Dining also recycles food waste into compost; more than 91,000 pounds of food waste have been converted so far this semester.

5. The campus arboretum

White Oaks on the Peabody campus

Vanderbilt’s campus is an arboretum with more than 6,000 trees and shrubs that represent over 190 species. Every year, about 150 new trees are planted either for landscaping around new construction or to replace trees that die.


These are just a few of the sustainability initiatives at Vanderbilt. To learn more, visit