In 1988, James Hansen issued the first public warnings about the impending climate crisis. At that time, the atmospheric concentration of COwas about 350 parts per million. We’ve emitted more fossil CO2 since then than in all of human history before.

The University of Maine’s Commitment to Sustainability The University of Maine’s Commitment to Sustainability is strong and ever growing stronger. We continue to track our outputs and make strides towards reducing our carbon footprint. Additionally the Office of Sustainability works with the rest of the UMaine campus to incorporate sustainability into each and every part of this community at large.

Climate Leadership Commitments

In February 2007, the University of Maine became a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), who’s main supporting organization is Second Nature.

Many colleges and universities have signed to date, recognizing their unique responsibility to serve as role models for their communities and to develop solutions to combat global warming.

In 2015, the ACUPCC was renamed the Climate Leadership Commitments. The Climate Leadership Commitments are defined by the parts: The Climate Commitment, The Carbon Commitment and The Resilience Commitment.

The Carbon Commitment

UMaine is a signatory of the The Carbon Commitment, which is focused on reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions and achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible. By signing The Carbon Commitment, UMaine agreed to develop a Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality. This involves conducting a Greenhouse Gas emissions inventory and implementing steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a program of AASHE, The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. STARS is a comprehensive sustainability rating system for colleges and universities that addresses the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability.

UMaine completed its first STARS report in April 2019, earning a STARS silver rating. UMaine’s report is on the STARS website. Points of pride include:

  • Over 25% of UMaine researchers conduct sustainability related research
  • Over 75% of departments support sustainability related research
  • 18% reduction in GHG emissions per weighted campus user 2007 to 2017.
  • UMaine composts over 400,000 lbs of pre-consumer food waste per year for use as a soil amendment on campus landscaping and at Witter Farm
  • Over 20% of dining food purchases are locally sourced.
  • Over 60% of cleaning and janitorial purchases are green certified.
  • UMaine Diverts 48% of our waste through recycling and composting programs
  • Over 20% reduction in water use per weighted campus user and per GSF from 2007 to 2017
  • All campus grounds are managed sustainably using onsite-generated compost and without the use of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides.
  • Over 65% of Departments offer 1 or more course that includes sustainability

The Campus Master Plan

In 2009, a comprehensive Campus Master Plan was developed to serve as a roadmap for the development of the University of Maine campus for the next 20 years.

It provides direction toward realizing a sustainable vision for the institution, while honoring the University’s past and enabling the people who are responsible for its future.

Sustainability Grants

Sustainability Grants are available for Staff-, Faculty-, and Student-led projects that improve the environmental sustainability of campus facilities and operations in creative and cost-effective ways.

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Carbon Commitment Climate Leadership Logo

STARS silver seal

Office of Sustainability
312-314 Corbett Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5774
Tel: 207.581.1571