About Fort Lewis College

Fort lewis college greenhouse

Going Green at Fort Lewis College

Going green has been a way of life at Fort Lewis College for a long time -- it just comes naturally when you live in a place as beautiful and inspiring as southwestern Colorado. Our spectacular location and the convergence of diverse cultures creates a community that is active and engaged in environmental and conservation efforts.

Fort Lewis College Sustainability

Solar energy

Real-Time Solar Output FLC Campus screenshotIn September of 2011, the expansion of the Student Union was opened to campus. This LEED Gold Certified Building includes natural lighting, solar hot water system, and a roof-top photovoltaic system.

See the real-time energy output of our photovoltaic system.

Real food movement

Real Food Challenge buttonIn 2013, the members of the Environmental Center joined in the nation-wide Real Food Movement. "Real food" is defined as local, ecologically sound, fair-trade, and humane food products. The goal is to have 20% "real" food served on the FLC Campus. Learn more about the Real Food Challenge.

In February of 2014, Fort Lewis College became the second college in Colorado to sign the Real Food Challenge Commitment. Read about our real food goals.    

Composting & recycling

While the college has been recycling and composting for years, recent improvements have made it faster and easier. Recently installed in the Student Union is the Rocket Composter, service the San Juan Dining Room and the Rocket Grill. This commercial composter reduces food waste by 70%.

Also, in 2012, the college and City of Durango initiated a new single stream recycling program allowing everyone to put nearly all materials into a single bin, while expanding recycling to include a wide variety of materials, including paperboard and plastics.


LEED Gold Buildings at Fort Lewis College logoIn 2011, the $41.5 million expansion of the Student Union was awarded LEED Gold status in August by the U.S. Green Building Council for its sustainability features, continuing Fort Lewis College's commitment to environmentally sound practices. The building includes recycling and composting systems, natural lighting, and two solar energy projects: a solar hot water system and a roof-top photovoltaic system.

Also earning LEED Gold in 2011 was the new state-of-the-art Biology Wing of Berndt Hall, opened in 2010.

In 2010, Animas Hall became FLC's first residence hall to earn a LEED Gold rating. The residence hall's environmental design characteristics include recycled and locally produced building materials, 35% less energy and water use through efficient design, and landscaping shaped around the existing landscape and vegetation.

Presidential initiatives

FLC is a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. That and other actions from Fort Lewis College presidents and their administrations have left green legacies on campus through a variety of limited and ongoing projects.

See more about Presidential Initiatives


Fort Lewis College and the city of Durango are very bike friendly, with bike & pedestrian paths and dedicated bicycle lanes throughout campus and town. An extensive trail system also connects campus and town. All students and faculty also receive a free city bus pass, and qualifying energy-efficient vehicles receive discounted parking permits.

Get Involved

FLC students have been a powerful driving force behind many sustainability initiatives on campus. You can be too.

Environmental Center

Environmental Center logoThe Environmental Center's rich history of promoting sustainability on campus and in the community goes back more than two decades. The FLC Environmental Center was formed in November 1990, after students petitioned the student government with 800 signatures. Since then, the EC hasn't looked back as it continues to lead the campus toward sustainability and creates ways for students to get hands-on experience changing the world for the better.

EC programs include the Climate Action team, SEEDS Campus Ecology Club, the Local First campaign, and Sustainable Business and Zero-Waste teams.

Visit the Environmental Center

Sustainability stories