student group at LOVE statue

New Student Guide

Become a part of Penn's sustainability movement

Welcome Class of 2021! Penn is committed to reducing its environmental footprint, and students play a large role in contributing to sustainability initiatives on campus.  Read about all the ways you can become involved in helping make the University a greener place:

Green Your Move-In

  • Coordinate with your roommate on what you will share—such as televisions, mini-fridges, and game consoles—so you don’t purchase unnecessary items.
  • Penn provides incoming students with reusable bags to carry your recyclables. Your bag will be waiting for you when you arrive in your room. You can also pick up a free recycling bin during NSO at the Move-In Green outreach tables in the New College House / Hill area or Upper Quad. 
  • Consider consolidating your appliances by renting a MicroFridge and microwave unit from Penn Residential Services.
  • Use LEDs (light-emitting diode bulbs) or CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) in all of your lamps to save energy. 
  • Bring reusable cups, plates and utensils.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle and a water filter. 
  • Penn is a bike-friendly campus. Bring your own bike, or utilize the Philadelphia bike share program Indego.
  • Recycle your cardboard boxes and plastic containers after you've moved in. Don't forget that bubble wrap and packing peanuts are not recyclable!

Get Involved

Visit the Participation page to learn more about:

Reduce Your Footprint

  • Familiarize yourself with Penn's recycling guidelines. Penn offers single stream recycling throughout campus, which means you can put all your glass, metal, plastic, paper, and cardboard in the same recycling bin.
  • Use LEDs or CFLs instead of inefficient incandescent bulbs.
  • Set energy-saving features on your computer.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
  • Use power strips and turn them off when not in use (e.g. when leaving for winter and spring breaks)
  • Rent or buy used textbooks whenever possible.

Take these simple steps to save water:

  • Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth and take short showers.
  • Report leaky faucets to Facilities or your college house's Info Center.
  • Only do full loads of laundry and use the "Bright Colors" (cold water) setting. 

Become Green Living Certified and win prizes for adopting green behaviors. Read our program manual to learn other ways to minimize waste, save energy and water, purchase green products, and adopt a variety of environmentally friendly habits.

Become an Expert

Explore the Penn Sustainability Office website

Visit the FAQ page to learn the basics about Penn's environmental commitments

Read Penn's Climate Action Plan to learn more about how the University is committed to:

  • Learning Sustainability
  • Conserving Energy
  • Designing Green
  • Minimizing Waste
  • Reducing Emissions
  • Purchasing Sustainable Goods
  • Promoting Local Foods

Contact us at with any additional questions.

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Penn Sustainability

3101 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104


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