WATCH: 5 sustainability efforts you may not know about at Vanderbilt (Part Two) 

Bicycles parked on campus

Did you know that Vanderbilt is carbon neutral? There are sustainability programs going on all over campus that contribute to continually lowering the university’s carbon footprint.  

Watch chemical engineering major Sarah Siman, Class of 2025, highlight five sustainability efforts at our university that you might not know about.  

Want to learn about five more? Watch Part One of this series.  

1. Food Waste —> Compost —> Arboretum

Vanderbilt has been collecting food waste to be composted since 2017. Pre- and post-consumer waste is collected at dining locations, composted by a local vendor and returned to campus to support our campus landscape and arboretum.  

2. Vanderbilt Green Fund and Community Garden

The Vanderbilt Green Fund supports student-led projects that enhance sustainability on campus.   

One standout project is the Vanderbilt Community Garden behind Branscomb, open to anyone in the campus community with a love for gardening and the outdoors. The fresh produce is enjoyed by our students and donated to food insecure populations throughout Nashville. 

3. Sustainable Building

Vanderbilt was the first university in Tennessee to earn LEED certification. As of early 2024, there are 25 LEED-certified projects on campus, with more in the works, including two pilots for new certifications.  

  • The School of Nursing building is awaiting WELL certification, focusing on occupants’ health and well-being.   
  • Vanderbilt is also awaiting a Living Building Challenge petal certification, aiming for buildings made from nontoxic and ecologically restorative materials. 

4. Clearloop Collaboration

In 2022, Vanderbilt collaborated with Clearloop, an alumni-founded Silicon Ranch company, to invest in three solar energy projects that will expand access to clean energy in rural areas of the Southeast.  

  • The first solar farm will provide clean energy to about 1,000 homes in the Mississippi Delta, and Vanderbilt will receive the carbon offset credits for the life of the project. 

Clearloop also collaborated with the Wond’ry for its first annual Commodore Cup sustainable innovation challenge and is developing research partnerships with faculty members.   

5. Biking Resources

Bikes are a great sustainable way to commute to and travel across campus.  

  • There are over 2,000 bike racks across campus, five bike repair stations and 10 public shower facilities. Vanderbilt also gives out free bike helmets.   
  • If you don’t have a bike, there are several bike share options around and on campus.   


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

Check out this roundup of Earth Month events at Vanderbilt.  

See all Earth Month 2024 highlights.