Our Green SHSU

Sam Houston State University is committed to promoting an ecologically-friendly campus, while actively reducing its carbon footprint on the world. In everything we do, from the campus surroundings, to academics, to the daily operation of our buildings and facilities, we are continually taking steps to make SHSU more sustainable.

Our mission is to motivate, facilitate and coordinate change through campus-wide partnerships and projects to create a culture of sustainability at SHSU.

If you are interested in learning more about sustainability at SHSU, please email sustainability@SHSU.EDU to be put in touch with the appropriate department.

Sam Houston State University supports sustainability in many areas and is always seeking to expand support of the following initiatives:

Sustain-Icons-05 Recycling

Paper, plastic and metal

The university recycles all paper/cardboard, metal and plastics 1-7. The highest collection total to date is 112 tons.


SHSU Landscape Services uses leaves and other landscape waste from campus to produce compost that is used to improve plant health. Dining Services provides food waste form the dining halls that is mixed into the compost piles.

Sustain-Icons-04 Utilities/Energy


SHSU tackles energy conservation projects each year. One of the largest projects – retrofitting existing light fixtures in buildings with LED lights and motion-sensing lights - helps the university save thousands of dollars each year in energy savings.

Sustain-Icons-02 Reducing Carbon Footprint

Hydration Stations

Sam Houston Satet has installed hydration stations throughout campus to refill reusable water bottles. These reusable water bottle fillers provide convenient hydration and minimize plastic bottle waste. 

For example, the First Floor water bottle filling Hydration Station in the LSC has saved over 115,000 plastic bottle from our landfills and oceans equaling $217,350 in student saving in bottled water.

Visit any one of the following buildings to refill your water bottle:

Lee Drain

James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Building

Eleanor and Charles Garrett Teacher Education Center

College of Humanities and Social Science

George J. Beto Criminal Justice Ctr.

Facilities Management Shops

William R. Powell Student Health and Counseling Ctr.

Fred Pirkle Engineering Technology Center

Life Sciences Building

Lowman Student Center

Recreational Sports Center

Bernard Johnson Coliseum

Newton Gresham Library

John W Thomason Building

Belvin Buchanan Hall

BearKat Village


Sustain-Icons-01 Environmental 

Tree Planting and Management

SHSU has been designated as a Tree Campus USA every year since 2014. Trees are part of the green infrastructure on campus and provide benefits like climate moderation, improved air quality, wildlife habitat and reduced storm water runoff.

Rain Water Harvesting

The university collects and stores rainwater in cisterns located at Lone Star Hall, Health & Counseling Center and the Pirkle Center. The water is used for landscape irrigation.

Zero Waste Initiative

No landscape waste created by SHSU Landscape Services enters the waste stream or landfills. All materials are processed into products that can be used on campus such as compost and mulch. This sustainable practice is better for the environment and saves money.

Urban Prairie

There are seven acres of urban prairies on the SHSU campuses. These areas create a place for native grasses, pollinator plants and wildflowers to thrive, while providing habitat and forage for our campus wildlife.

Sustain-Icons-03 Academics

Environmental degrees

Being good environmental stewards might also mean teaching students. To carry the torch after graduating and leaving campus, environmental degrees, such as Environmental Science and Plant and Soil Sciences can be found at SHSU.

Sustainable curricula

SHSU also offers courses and electives that focus on the environment such as Habitat & Pond Management and Environmental Toxicology. So, students pursuing a degree in another field of study can still take climate change-related electives.