Columbia College Chicago is committed to sustainability. Our home in Chicago's South Loop is inherently green since our campus is walkable and well served by public transportation. All of our buildings are adaptively-reused former office and warehouse buildings. And in 2010, the college constructed its first building, the Media Production Center at 1600 S State, which was LEED Gold-Certified.

Get involved

BYOWB! (Bring Your Own Water Bottle)
Through the efforts of our building engineers, we have been installing Water Bottle Refilling Stations across campus. The units promote reuse, waste reduction and water conversation.

In offices, water filtration units are installed for faculty and staff use. These units connect to exisiting water lines making it the need for a water cooler delivery service unnecessary.

Enjoy the Scenery. Check out the green spaces on campus.
There are two campus green roofs covering more than 20,000 square feet.  Look out the upper windows at 33 E Congress  or sit in the upstairs court yard at 1600 S State and take a peak at our roofs. The benefits of having a green roof include reducing the urban heat island effect by absorbing solar heat, removing carbon from the atmosphere and reducing storm water runoff.  

Take a walk through our Native Sculpture Garden located at 11th St and Wabash Ave, populated with native plants that maintain a balanced ecosystem in the local climate.

Stop by our newest green space, the expanded Papermaker’s Garden at the corner of 8th and Wabash. Highlights include an 18-bed garden with plants grown and harvested by students in the Center for Book and Paper Arts, rows of trees providing a mini local habitat for wildlife, a rainwater capture cistern and a multipurpose performance area. The Paper Maker's Garden is an exemplary model for how cross departmental collaborations can intergrate sustainability into our curriculum.

Reduce Your Waste! We Recycle and Compost at Columbia.
Look for the appropriate bins to place your waste. We recycle Paper, Plastics, Aluminum and Glass products. We compost food waste and paper products (there are Coffee Cup disposal bins in building lobbies!). Check out our new Compost Posters for more info! And bring in used batteries and drop off in receptacles near our security desks in most buildings. 

Transit Matters: Bike, Bus, Train, Carpool, Walk (or Skateboard)
Being in the South Loop, we have access to all means of transportation options. Look for ways to reduce your commuting footprint. Use your Upass on CTA, bike or DIVVY (find a station near campus and get a Student DIVVY membership), join a car-sharing service (use Columbia Discounts for memberships), walk along the Lakefront (if that's your speed), or grind it out on your skateboard.

Sustainability vision

Columbia College Chicago seeks to use sustainability to better position students and the college to meet the emerging challenges and opportunities in the 21st Century. This includes a holistic commitment to environmental responsibility, social equity, and economic vitality. The college commits to integrate educational excellence, operational efficiency, and community responsibility in an ongoing search for a better global future. In addressing the climate challenge by reducing global warming emissions and by integrating sustainability into the academic and social experience, the College will educate students who will communicate creatively, shape the public's perceptions of issues and events, and author the culture of their times.

We strive to build the campus into a sustainable community:

  • to reduce energy use and minimize waste.
  • to enable creative activity that helps the college understand and identify solutions to global environmental challenges.
  • to incorporate issues of sustainability into students' learning experiences throughout their academic, residential, and personal lives.
  • to create an environment in which all members of the campus community are encouraged to pursue sustainability in their personal and professional lives.
Awards and recognition