Campus Sustainability Initiatives


In keeping with our Jesuit, Catholic and humanistic mission, Gonzaga University takes seriously its solemn responsibility to safeguard the integrity of our natural world for present and future generations and is committed to being a leader in responsible environmental stewardship.


Through our mission, we are called to care for creation and be responsible stewards of our resources. Through this, we have a teachable moment to make our buildings living laboratories for the best available sustainable technologies and practices.

  • All new campus construction as well as large renovation projects will target the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard or equivalent. 
  • Paccar Addition - the addition to the Paccar engineering building is gold level LEED certified with the US Green Building Council.
  • Gonzaga integrates green purchasing into architectural designs, final construction documents and into the final construction of all  buildings, renovations of property or facilities owned by the university.
  • Only products with the lowest amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), highest recycled content, and low or no formaldehyde shall be used in building maintenance.
  • All carpet distributors and/or manufactures of carpet installed at Gonzaga must have a carpet recycling plan approved by Purchasing.
The use of chlorofluorocarbon and halo-containing refrigerants, solvents, and other products is being phased out, and new purchases of heating/ventilating/air conditioning, refrigeration, insulation and fire suppression systems will not contain them.

Dining Services

Learn more about sustainability in dining operations from our partners ZagDining!


For Gonzaga University,  it is important to be mindful of how we use our resources efficiently and effectively. In light of the growing pressures of global climate change, Gonzaga is exploring options to power the campus with less carbon intensive sources of energy.
Gonzaga University has taken the following steps to be mindful of our energy and resource use:
  • All energy using products purchased by Gonzaga meet the U.S. EPA Energy Star certification when available and practicable. When Energy Star labels are not available, we choose products that are in the upper 25% of energy efficiency as designated by the Federal Energy Management Program.
  • Plant Services regularly conducts energy audits to evaluate areas for improved energy efficiency.
  • Most areas on campus use high-efficiency lighting and are equipped with occupancy sensors.
  • All desktop computers, notebooks, and monitors purchased must meet, at a minimum, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPAT) environmental criteria designated as "required" (silver registration) or as higher as contained in the IEEE 1680 Standard for the Environmental Assessment of Personal  Computer Products, whenever practicable. Additional consideration will be provided for electronic products that have achieved EPAT Gold Registration.  The registration can be found at
  • Where applicable, energy efficient equipment shall be purchased with the most up-to-date energy efficiency functions.  This includes, but is not limited to, most efficient space heating systems and high efficiency space cooling equipment.
  • When purchasing vehicles, Gonzaga actively considers less-polluting alternatives to diesel such as compressed natural gas, hybrids, electrical batteries and fuel cells, as available.
  • When interior or exterior lighting is replaced, the most efficient sources economically and commercially available should be considered for use.
  • Gonzaga supports renewable energy generation in the Inland Northwest by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) equivalent to 29% of its total electricity usage through Avista’s Buck-A-Block program.


Caring for our soils and landscapes is a critical part of how we respond to our missioned call to respect the planet. Gonzaga works diligently to balance the beauty of its landscapes with practices that cause the least harm. 

  • Gonzaga participates in Spokane's "clean green" program, composting over 35 tons of leaves and needles annually.
  • 25 computerized irrigation controllers allow staff to remotely monitor and control water outputs across campus based on weather patterns, thus greatly reducing water consumption. 
  • Gonzaga manages pest problems through prevention and the use of environmentally friendly products.  We may either adopt and implement organic pest management and policy practices or adopt and implement and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy and practices using the least toxic pest control products as a last resort.
  • All landscaping renovations, constructions and maintenance performed by internal staff members or contractors providing landscaping services shall employ sustainable landscaping management techniques for design, construction and maintenance whenever practicable.  This includes but is not limited to, integrated pest management, drip irrigation, composting and use of mulch and compost that give preference to those products produced at regionally generated plant debris and/or food waste programs.
  • Landscape structures constructed of recycled content materials are encouraged.  The amount of impervious surfaces in the landscape shall be limited whenever practicable.  Permeable substitutes, such as permeable asphalt or pavers, are encouraged for walkways, patios and driveways.
  • Plants should be selected to minimize waste by choosing species for purchase that are appropriate to the microclimate. Native and drought tolerant plants that require  minimal or no watering once established should be purchased in according with the Campus Landscape Master Plan.

Information Technology

Technology provides an incredible opportunity to better understand the problems we face and make strategic decisions to address them. At the same time, failing to use the best available technology can lead to IT becoming a large source of an institutions carbon footprint. Gonzaga is working to limit that impact by making smart decisions on future purchases and current practices.
  • Most classroom technology equipment is repurposed, sold, or recycled at the end of its life.
  • Most computers and monitors are recycled.
  • All scrap metal is recycled.
    Energy efficient LCD monitors are paired with all desktop computers and on thin clients across campus.
  • All PC's purchased are Energy Star compliant.
  • All printers and MFP's purchased or leased are Energy Star compliant.
  • All power strips/surge suppressors purchased are Energy Star compliant. 
    The remote classroom management system shuts down the data projectors in all classrooms after 1 hour and 50 minutes of continuous operation.  All of the projectors are automatically cycled off if they are on at 9:30pm each evening.
  • Whenever practicable, purchased copiers and printers are compatible with the use of recycled content and remanufactured products.
  • Remanufactured toner cartridges are to be used in all copiers and printers wherever feasible.
  • All energy products purchased by Gonzaga meet U.S. EPA Energy Star* certification when available and practicable.  When U.S. EPA Energy Star* labels are not available, all purchasing units choose energy products that are in the upper 25% of energy efficiency as defined by the Federal Energy Management Program.
  • Suppliers of electronic equipment, including but not limited to computers, monitors, printers, and copiers, shall be encouraged to take back equipment for reuse or environmentally safe recycling when deemed appropriate by Gonzaga.
  • Whenever possible Laser and InkJet Cartridges are be properly recycled.
  • Complete list of sustainability measures taken by IT.


What we purchase speaks so much to our commitment to being in balance with our world. At Gonzaga, we make purchasing decisions that are intentional and sustainable.
  • Gonzaga University is proud to have been the first institution on the Eastside of Washington State to use Office Depot’s Greener Office Delivery Service.  In an effort to reduce waste and promote sustainability, the majority of Office Depot orders will be delivered in 40% post-consumer recycled bags rather than cardboard boxes.  These bags are lighter, use much less wood fiber than cardboard boxes, and will not contain any air pillows.
  • In November of 2011, President Thayne McCullough approved a Sustainable Purchasing & Design Policies (SPDP) that committed Gonzaga to purchasing sustainable and environmentally-friendly products.  It also ensures that Gonzaga is limiting its affects on the environment by using products which reduce the use of water, energy, and land.  For more information about the SPDP... 
  • Compostable plastic products shall meet American Society for Testing and Materials  (ASTM) standards as found in ASTM D6400-04. Biodegradable plastics used as coatings on papers and other compostable substrates shall meet ASTM D6868-03 standards. 
  • At Gonzaga, all of the white paper purchased would be at least 30% post-consumer content recycled paper. 
  • Gonzaga completes an annual ecological footprint analysis of its paper purchasing/use. More...
  • Paper, paper products, and construction products made from non-wood, plant based contents such as agricultural crops and residues are encouraged wherever practicable.
  • Ensure that all wood and wood contained within the products Gonzaga purchases is certified to be sustainably harvested by a comprehensive, performance based certification system.  The certification system shall include independent third-party audits, with standards or equivalents to , or stricter than, those of the Forest Stewardship Council certification.
  • Packaging that is reusable, recyclable or compostable is preferred, when suitable uses and programs exist and eliminate packaging or the use of the minimum amount of necessary for product protection, to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Purchase or use of previously used or salvage wood and wood products are encouraged whenever practical.
  • Cleaning solvents are biodegradable, phosphate free, and citrus-based whenever their use will not compromise quality of service.
  • Paints should be low or no VOC when not cost prohibitive.
  • Industrial and institutional cleaning products that meet Green Seal Certification standards or environmental preferability and performance shall be purchased or required to be supplied by janitorial contractors.
  • All surfactants and detergents used shall be readily biodegradable and shall not contain phosphates.
  • Where practicable, vacuum cleaners that meet the requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute "Green Label" Testing Program--Vacuum Cleaner Criteria, are capable of capturing 96% of particulates 0.3 microns in size, and operate with a sound level less than 70dBA shall be used by in-house staff and required for janitorial contractors. 
  • Whenever possible, products and equipment should not contain lead or mercury.  For products that contain lead or mercury, preference shall be given to those products with lower quantities of these metals and to vendors with established lead and mercury recovery programs.


  • Gonzaga University participates in Spokane Country's commute trip reduction (CTR) program. This provides faculty and staff with more opportunities for carpools, public transit and vanpools than they would otherwise have, and does things like charge a premium for parking for SOV (single occupancy vehicles) in order to discourage people from driving by themselves. Sign up today at and enter your commute! Use worksite code ELQN for Gonzaga University.
  • Gonzaga offers car sharing with Zipcar; a cost-effective and environmentally-conscious option for occasional drivers. Gonzaga University students, faculty and staff age 18 and older can join Zipcar for a $25 annual fee and will receive $35 in driving credit. Members of the Spokane community and visitors to campus are also eligible for Zipcar membership and benefits. Car's are located just outside College Hall and Coughlin Hall.

Waste Reduction, Recycling, and Composting

  • In 2008, the Gonzaga Student Body Association (GSBA) proposed a bottle water ban to ZagDining.  ZagDining is responsible for all of the food services on campus and a ban on plastic water bottles on their part ensured that no plastic water bottles would be sold anywhere on campus.  The policy was implemented in September 2008 school year.  First year students are given re-usable water bottles at the beginning of the year during orientation. All dining facilities allow the students to fill their re-usable water bottles.   
  • Compost is collected from all campus food sites, residence halls, apartments, and beginning Fall 2015, at marked bins located across campus. Learn more about composting.
  • Since 2011, all student course evaluations are electronically completed on-line. In addition to saving more than 100 hours of labor, shifting to online evaluations is expected save between 120,000 and 150,000 sheets of paper (more than 24 cases) and 8,000 to 10,000 large manila envelopes and labels. 
  • 25% post-consumer waste recycled paper should be the standard for all applicants where economic use of paper and quality of service is not compromised or the health and safety of employees prejudiced.
  • All recyclable materials are recycled through Gonzaga's recycling program.  This includes, but is not limited to: paper, newspaper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, steel and batteries.
  • The use of multiple use (as opposed to virgin, single use) interoffice envelopes are used whenever practicable.
  • The use of reclaimed stone and brick and the use of secondary or recycled aggregates will be specified whenever practicable.
  • Transportation products, including signs, cones, parking stops, delineators, channelizers, and barricades shall contain the highest post-consumer content practicable.
  • Products that are durable, long lasting, reusable or refillable are preferred whenever feasible.
  • All documents (by Gonzaga and suppliers) are printed and copied on both sides to reduce the use and purchase of paper, whenever practicable.
  • All surplussed desktop computers, notebooks, and monitors shall be disposed of through the WA Department of Ecology's E-Cycle Washington program or equivalent.
    Recycling has long been an important part of Gonzaga’s waste reduction efforts. Learn more here.
  • The end of the year student move-out process has been incorporated into Gonzaga's sustainability plan.  At the end of the year the local Catholic Charities sets up PODs at various points around campus to collect unwanted items.  This process helps divert over 6 tons of waste and puts unwanted items to use.


  • Gonzaga purchases only the most water efficient appliances available that meet performance standards.  This includes high performance fixtures like toilets, low-flow faucets, and aerators; and upgraded irrigation systems.

Student Projects

Gonzaga Environmental Organization (GEO)

The Gonzaga Environmental Organization exists to promote the creation of a greener campus and community, the protection and enhancement of nature, and education about and enjoyment of our environment, all through action and leadership.

For more information please visit the GEO facebook page.

GU Outdoors

GU Outdoors provides students with an opportunity to explore the wild areas surrounding Spokane with trips for rafting, backpacking, snowshoeing, etc. It gives them the chance to learn skills related to these activities as well as to learn about the wildlife and ecology of the Inland Northwest.

For more information about GU Outdoors contact David Gilbert, visit them in the basement of Crosby, or see the GU Outdoors website.

Environmental Law Caucus

The Environmental Law Caucus fosters a greater awareness of the environment and its conservation through events designed to enhance our community. Through social and educational functions, students will learn more about the Pacific Northwest and may even identify a new area of interest within the law as well. The Environmental Law Caucus helps promote community, friendship, and an appreciation of the environment. All students are welcome to join.

For more information please visit the Environmental Law Caucus page.

Real Food Gonzaga

Real Food Gonzaga serves as a resource and a voice for students who seek to understand the ethical implications of our eating habits or gain better knowledge of nutrition. Real Food Gonzaga is also a vehicle of change toward a sustainable and ethically just food system. A student run initiative, Real Food Gonzaga strives to educate students about our current food system at Gonzaga and its implications on campus and in our greater Spokane community, as well as the affects of our personal eating habits on our bodies, our communities, and our earth . As a student movement, we will work to align our food system with our University Mission Statement.

For more information contact Club President Angela Rae.

GU Without Borders

Gonzaga Without Borders is dedicated to educating students and faculty about international service and global engagement. GWB is working on a long term international development project and monthly local community service.

For more information contact 

Net Impact

The Gonzaga University Undergraduate Net Impact Chapter provides students with the resources and opportunities necessary to be active, informed global citizens and powerful catalysts for social good throughout their careers and their lives. Our goal is to help you discover your passion and then plug you in with opportunities to use your talents to work towards your passion.

For more information visit the or send questions to