Climate, Environment & Sustainability

Want to dive into a campus culture where sustainability isn’t just a buzzword, but a way of life? At Colorado College, our approach to climate and sustainability resonates with the dynamism of the Rockies themselves. It’s not about sitting in lectures and jotting down theories. Here, sustainability is woven into the very fabric of our daily experience.

Imagine stepping out of your dorm and finding yourself in the heart of an award-winning model of carbon neutrality. Geothermal energy projects humming beneath your feet and vast solar arrays capturing the Colorado sun. At CC, we don’t just study the environment, we actively protect and care for it.

From classroom discussions to campus operations, at CC, living sustainably isn’t just a possibility, it’s what we do every day. On our beautiful campus and beyond, you won’t just learn about sustainability – you’ll live it, breathe it, and contribute to it.


At Colorado College, our commitment to sustainability isn’t just a chapter in a textbook. Imagine a campus where academic departments ignite your learning with courses dedicated to sustainable practices. That’s the reality at CC. Sustainability is not just a concept - it's part of our curriculum.

In our liberal arts environment, collaboration isn’t only encouraged – it’s a way of life. Students working hand-in-hand with faculty, not just in classrooms, but in groundbreaking research endeavors focused on sustainability. One-fifth of our faculty are deeply immersed in sustainability research, underscoring our unwavering dedication to addressing this global imperative.

This isn’t just a sustainability commitment. It's a testament to our holistic approach to environmental stewardship. At CC, we don’t just teach sustainability – we embody it, in lecture halls, labs, and field study courses.

Students in the Field
Students in the Field
Students in the Field
Students Presenting Research
Academic Research
Students and Faculty in class

Some quick facts:

  • 29 out of 35 academic departments at CC offer courses that focus on sustainability.

  • As a liberal arts college, CC students and professors are highly encouraged to collaborate on research.

  • 29% of CC students graduate from a program or major that requires an understanding of sustainability.
  • 1 out of 5 faculty members conduct research that focuses on elements of sustainability.

  • 1 in 3 academic departments have one or more faculty members engaging in sustainability research.

CC is Carbon Neutral

On January 1, 2020, Colorado College became the first in the Rocky Mountain Region and among the first eight higher-ed institutions in North America to achieve a monumental milestone: carbon neutrality. But how did we do it? Through real, tangible actions right here at home.

Harnessing the power of the sun and the spirit of innovation, CC now operates on 100% local renewable energy. Our energy isn’t just green – it’s homegrown, thanks to on-site resources and a pioneering partnership with Colorado Springs Utilities. This isn’t about distant power plants. It's about power in our own backyard.

We’ve slashed our on-campus emissions by a staggering 75%, focusing on direct emission reductions. At CC, we believe in leading by example, not just balancing the books with carbon offsets. This is a testament to our unwavering commitment to sustainable practices – not in words, but in action. We don't just envision a greener future – we're creating it, right here, right now.

Some of the college's major initiatives have included:

  • CC's first high-performance energy design guidelines were written for new and renovated buildings.

  • CC has worked with Colorado Springs Utilities over the past decade to find ways to partner and meet its goals. This has helped lead to the addition of the 255 megawatts of local solar in current and planned projects for the utility.
  • East Campus Housing opened with both sustainable solar and geothermal energy systems.

  • Numerous solar PV installations were constructed on and off campus, originally initiated by students in 2008.

  • CC supports climate-friendly transportation access with EV chargers across campus, universal access to PikeRide for students and employees, and student access to MMT buses and Safe Ride.

The Community & World

At CC our vision of sustainability stretches far beyond the campus borders. It's a journey we embark on together with the larger community.

Through the State of the Rockies project, we're not just studying the environment. We're diving deep into the heart of the Rocky Mountain region, analyzing environmental attitudes and policies with a collaborative spirit that brings together minds from every corner of the community.

Our commitment doesn’t stop at the local level. Our faculty and students take their passion for climate action to the global stage, actively participating in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP). Imagine being part of those pivotal global climate discussions, where your voice and research contribute to international climate action. At CC, this isn’t a dream – it’s a reality.

These programs are the embodiment of our role in shaping a sustainable future. Our focus isn’t limited to research within the confines of our campus. We extend our reach into the community and across the globe, bringing the principles of sustainability from our classrooms to the world. At CC, we’re not only educators and learners – we’re leading the charge towards a more sustainable world.

Climate Protest
Group Photo of Students
Students in the Field
Students in the Field
Students in the Field
Students in the Field

Things to Know:

  • Our Community Engaged Scholars program through the CCE and the PIFP provides many engagement experiences for students to build connections with local organizations an nonprofits supporting a wide range of topics, gaining impactful, real-world experiences.

  • State of the Rockies looks at environmental attitudes across the West and addresses social and political issues that arise through the annual survey, including fracking policy in Colorado and heat island impacts on low-income households.
  • Faculty and students engage in topics such as refugee and migration issues, including climate migration, through classes, coursework, community engagement, and field study.

  • Office of Sustainability offers paid and unpaid opportunities to students providing experiential learning opportunities where students can lead sustainability initiatives across campus.

What We're Doing Now

This is just a small sampling of what our community has been doing recently related to climate, the environment, and sustainability. Read more about what CC alumni, students, and faculty have been up to in the Sustainability section of The Peak.

Report an issue - Last updated: 02/02/2024