Our Green SHSU

Logo for the SHSU Sustainability Committee

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 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

    Sam Houston State University maintains environmental stewardship during the planning, design and construction of all new buildings.  The campus is located in a regulated electric market for electricity service; however, SHSU works closely with the electricity provider, seeking rebates and incentive funding to finance new LED lighting, sensors, and support energy saving programs. 

    Energy conservation projects include:

    • Upgrades to the East Central Plant chiller equipment
    • Replacing aged air handler equipment
    • Building envelope improvements
    • Retro commissioning
    • Installing daylight harvesting systems
    • Educating the campus community on the benefits of energy conservation
    • New buildings incorporating LEED design
    • Engaging the EDF Climate Corps fellow program to assist with sustainable projects
  • Sustain-Icons-02 Reducing Carbon Footprint

    Facilities Management continuously evaluates energy efficiency opportunities to plan for campus improvement projects.   

    Energy saving projects completed in 2018 resulted in the following SHSU Annual Carbon Impact:

    SHSU annual carbon impact 2018 results

    Hydration Stations

    Sam Houston State 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.