steps to take


Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2015 the Board of Trustees approved a motion to divest from all fossil fuels. The New School has also made several commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emission, including achieving carbon neutrality by 2040. You can help reduce emissions by pledging to:

  • Unplug Electronics or Use Power Strips: Appliances that are turned off but left plugged in continue to draw power.

  • Use LED (Light Emitting Diode) Lightbulbs: LED bulbs use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times as long as incandescent.

  • Adjust thermostats: A few degrees can decrease the heating and cooling load of your home or dorm room 2-to-3 percent.

  • Wash clothes in cold water: Water heating consumes about 90 percent of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Using warm instead of hot water will cut energy use in half.

  • Enable efficiency settings on computers and phones: Activate the power management features on your computer.

  • Walk, bike, or take mass transit: The New School couldn't be better located to rely on one of the world's greatest bus, subway, and commuter rail systems. There are also a number of bike lanes and Citi Bike stations around campus. If you leave the car at home and think twice about hailing a cab or requesting an uber, you will help to reduce The New School's Scope III (indirect) emissions .

  • Take the stairs if you can: Taking stairs instead of elevators saves a small amount of energy , but it will also burn calories.



It has been estimated that food production and consumption creates up to 29% of global carbon emissions. In addition, it is estimated that 1 in 9 people worldwide, or almost 1 billion, suffer from chronic undernourishment. The New School Dining’s program is a critical component of The New School’s environmental initiatives. Our mission is to provide farm-to-table real food promoting the health of our students, community, and planet. You can support this mission by pledging to:

  • Choose local and seasonal produce: Supporting local farmers keeps cash in the local economy. Food from local farms also travels fewer miles and is often less environmentally damaging than conventional produce. Shop at the Union Square Greenmarket or sign up with Corbin Hill, the farm share on campus, plus read labels to learn the origins of your food.

  • Know what you're eating: There is some debate about organic food, how sustainable it is, and whether it is worth the extra money. Be diligent about knowing where your food comes from.

  • Eat less meat: Meat production is extremely resource intensive and polluting compared to growing fruits and vegetables. Cut down on the amount of meat you eat, and instead try introducing soy or other vegetable proteins into your diet. Not ready to commit to vegetarianism? Not ready to cut out meat entirely? Start with Meatless Mondays.

  • Choose sustainable seafood: Of the world's seafood stock, 80 percent are currently exploited, depleted, or recovering. The Monterey Bay Aquarium maintains a highly respected guide to navigating sustainable seafood choices (get the app).



Water in New York City is inexpensive, clean, and plentiful, but we only need to look to California for an example of how rapidly this can change. You can contribute to The New School’s water-related sustainability goals by pledging to:

  • Take shorter showers: Taking a 10-minute shower instead of a 15-minute shower reduces water use by 12-35 gallons a day or 12,775 gallons a year. And only taking a 10-minute shower every other day would reduce your water consumption by an additional 4,500-12,000 gallons a year. Go above and beyond: Install a low-flow shower head that can cut water use by more than half.

  • Turn off the water: Water is a finite natural resource and it takes energy to treat it, heat it, and deliver it to your tap. Some faucets use as many as five gallons of water a minute. For two dollars, you can purchase an aerator that will cut that to half a gallon per minute. Turning the tap off while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing dishes will further reduce your water footprint.


Waste/ pollution

In FY2015 The New School disposed of 1,307,274 pounds of landfill waste, 814,382 pounds of recycled material, 389,551 pound of compost, and 33,339 pounds of e-waste. You can help reduce waste at The new School by pledging to:

  • Reduce: Consider alternatives to products with wasteful packaging before you buy them. Practice the principle of "buying what you can eat and eating what you buy." Avoid using take-out containers when you plan to dine-in at The New School Cafeteria.

  • Recycle correctly: Recycling is required by law in New York City. Read the signs above bins on campus to help improve The New School’s diversion rates.

  • Compost: Compost is collected anywhere food is sold on campus. Composting improves our waste diversion rate, reducing the amount of waste that needs to be shipped to an out-of-state landfill or incinerated. And the finished compost, or humus, is used by East Coast landscapers and farmers. Follow signs by compost bins to learn what can be composted -- more than you might think!

  • Print mindfully: The university has mandated the use of 100 percent post-consumer recycled content copy paper in all desktop printers, fax machines, and floor copiers. Delivering paper to the university and carting it off for recycling uses fuel. Use less paper with double-sided printing and copying. Read what you can on a computer, tablet, or phone.

  • Recycle e-waste: Tossed-out gadgets and batteries leach harmful chemicals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium into soil and water via landfills. You can recycle batteries, cell phones, and old mp3 players in the blue tubes in most buildings on campus. Other forms of e-waste can be recycled at events hosted by the Lower East Side Ecology Center or at SAFE Disposal events around the city.

  • Invest in a reusable mug: 16 billion paper cups are used for coffee every single year. This translates to over 6.5 million trees cut down, 4 billion gallons of water wasted, and enough energy used to power nearly 54,000 homes for a year. Most coffee bars, including The New School's, will give you a discount for bringing your own mug.

  • Be thrifty: Clothes donated to GrowNYC will either be donated or repurposed into cleaning rags. You can also donate to and buy from Housing Works. They use their proceeds to help advocate for the HIV/AIDS community. Short on cash?? Check out Beacon’s Closet. They will pay you for the clothes you donate! All of these efforts prevent clothing from ending up in landfills.

  • Say no to the bag!: The U.S. uses over 100 billion plastic bags per year, and less than 1 percent of them are recycled. Paper bags are equally wasteful because they require energy to manufacture, and then take up space in landfills. A reusable tote bag can last for years, is easier to carry, and makes a strong statement. Some stores even offer a discount when you bring a reusable bag.

  • Go Paperless: Estimates indicate that if everyone in the United States did not take an ATM receipt, that would save a roll of paper long enough to circle the earth between 5 and 15 times! Say no to ATM receipts, sign up for online banking, and reduce junk mail.


climate citizenship

The Tishman Center seeks to turn a climate of degradation into a climate of environmental consciousness, to turn a climate of short-term gains into a climate of long-term sustainability, and to turn a climate of apathy into a climate of change. As a member of the New School community you can help us design a future we want to live in by pledging to:

  • Join a sustainability focused student organization: Meet other sustainability-minded students by joining organizations like the Sustainable Cities Club, Net Impact, and oikosNYC, or start your own!

  • Participate in a Tishman Center Event: Learn from students, faculty and community leaders during one of our upcoming events.

  • Be an advocate on campus: Talk to your supervisor or department chair about incorporating sustainability into policies. Talk to your friends and coworkers about the Sustainability Pledge.