Earth Days at Columbia

Earth Day is April 22, 2016 and is an environmental movement that is now 46 years old. The first Earth Day in 1970 led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. 

Earth Day in 1970 marked some interesting activities on Columbia's Morningside campus as well. Read on for a look at Earth Days at Columbia, then and now, and some Earth Day facts about how Columbia is a leader in sustainability, from academics to dining halls.

From the Columbia Daily Spectator:

"Not only was April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day celebration on campus, but as the Spectator Archives can attest, lots of other things were happening in Morningside. For instance, the university senate was trying to get Columbia trustees to use the university's 57,000 shares of General Motors stock to pressure the company to reform its safety and environmental policies."



Fast forward to 2016, Columbia is participating in Car Free NYC and is offering the following programs to students, staff, and local alumni:
  • Ride a Free Columbia Bus from New Jersey or Rockland County
  • Find a Carpool Match
  • Ride the New Zagster Bike Share at a Reduced Rate
  • Get a Free Bike Tune-Up at CUMC Bike to Campus Day
  • Bicycle Street Skills 101 Class






Here's some more Columbia Earth Day facts:

  • Seven Columbia buildings have earned LEED certification in recent years - including the Columbia Alumni Center.¬†
  • The¬†Columbia University Green Fund¬†awards $25,000 each year to student-led projects that support and advance sustainability on campus. ¬†Meet the 2015-2016 Green Fund projects here.
  • Columbia¬†offers 24 environmental degrees, as well as a sustainable development major and a sustainability master's program through its School of Professional Studies.
  • Approximately 52% of all food served at Columbia is purchased from vendors within 250 miles of the Morningside campus.
  • The Manhattanville campus, currently under construction, has earned a¬†LEED¬ģ Platinum‚ÄĒits highest designation and the first LEED-ND Platinum certification in New York City, as well as the first Platinum certification for a university campus plan nationally.¬†


Additional Earth Day reading:

The Columbia Journalism Review takes a look at important or historical Earth Day media coverage over the years, from a 1991 article on consumer choices to a 1989 look at what role businesses should play in the movement.

Columbia University has an ongoing commitment to sustainability. Read more here.  

And here are some Earth Day energy-saving tips from Columbia University Facilities.