RU Green

RU Green

Established in 2008, the sustainability initiative, RU Green, originated as a student-led effort through the Student Government Association with the support of the administration, faculty and staff. The vision of RU Green is to incorporate the concepts and practices of sustainability into the academic, administrative and daily life of Reinhardt University so the University's students, faculty and staff act as responsible stewards of the environment. RU Green is a continuing process of integration and will be accomplished through resource management, community education, and increased curricular emphasis.


Why go Green?

People are realizing that there are several environmental problems that continue to grow. These problems stem from human interactions with the earth. These problems include a decline in natural resources, pollution, and much more. These problems can no longer go ignored. For this reason, Reinhardt is doing its part to thank and preserve the earth by going Green.

If you are interested in being a part of RU Green, please contact the Dean of Students at

Thanks to an engaged student body, the dedicated efforts of staff and faculty members who have committed to making sustainability part of their work, Reinhardt has built a variety of sustainability initiatives. In doing so, we've integrated environmental responsibility into virtually every facet of operations here at the University.

We've accomplished a great deal, but sustainability is a process, not a destination. Reinhardt University supports continual improvement in sustainability education, building design and operations, landscaping, procurement, energy and water conservation, waste minimization, recycling and services.

Efforts include:

  • Celebrating Earth Day on campus each spring since 1997.
  • Establishing the RU Green sustainability advisory committee.
  • Installed Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
  • Retrofitting restrooms with waterless urinals.
  • Retrofitting restrooms with light fixture to produce energy savings.
  • Use “green” housekeeping supplies and chemicals.
  • Expanded the University recycling program.
  • Installed bike racks at each academic, residential and recreational building.
  • Planted a Xeriscape around the Funk Heritage Center’s Bennet Museum
  • Restoring the University’s Burgess Arboretum.
  • Developing 7-miles of hiking and biking trails on campus.
  • Created recovery area within the maintenance facility for all campus waste including:
    • Used oil to recycle,
    • Used oil filters for disposal,
    • Used paint products for disposal,
    • Used gas and mineral spirit products for disposal,
    • Used light bulbs, ballast and exit light batteries etc. for disposal,
    • Used photo processing fluid from Fincher Arts for disposal,
    • Biology waste from the Biology Department for disposal.

The Burgess Arboretum was built by former Reinhardt University President Dr. James Rowland Burgess. Dr. Burgess indexed more than 1,300 and planted more than 500 trees and shrubs species across the University campus. He labeled all trees and shrubs with plant labels and created an index map for the Arboretum, which is housed in the Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center.

In 2007, Zach White, Reinhardt horticulturist, and the Master Gardeners of Cherokee County and the Cherokee County Extension Service began working to restore the Burgess Arboretum. Volunteers have spent hours reindexing all the trees and shrubs in the Burgess Arboretum, creating new plant labels, planting new plant species, and creating the 125 Most Noble Trees and Shrubs Plant Walk in the Arboretum. The Burgess Arboretum celebrated its grand opening in 2009 on Alumni Day.

There is a lot you can do on and off campus to be more “Green”. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make sure to utilize the recycling bins located around campus! Educate yourself on the recycling available for your use! Putting in a little effort will go a long way in helping our campus produce less waste.
  • Turn off the lights! Conserve energy by turning off the lights unplugging electronics and chargers when they are not being used.
  • Take advantage of reusable bags. Try to use these when shopping rather than plastic bags.
  • Buy used books or rent. This cuts down on costs of production and the usage of paper.
  • Turn your computer completely off when not in use.
  • Avoid plastic water bottles for drinks. Instead, use a BPA-free reusable bottle and a water filter to save money and stay hydrated.
  • Bring a reusable tote bag to the supermarket for groceries. Try to avoid using too many plastic bags—500 billion plastic bags are used globally each year, and the majority of them go straight to landfills!
  • Visit local secondhand shops before your purchase brand new furniture, clothes, or appliances. Many items are gently used and will serve you well in the dorm! Try Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, and others.
  • Shed Some Light! For personal lights and lamps, try to choose CFL bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs). These bulbs come in all shapes and sizes, and can use up to 75% less energy as a standard bulb, and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Power Up & Unplug: 95% of power used goes into heating a charger, even when it is not being used! So use a power strip for your many electronics and simply flip it off when you leave the room.
  • Carpool when running errands in town.
  • Tell a friend what they can do to go green.

Sustainable Transportation

Sustainable transportation options are those that help reduce the number of cars on the road, while also providing feasible, affordable and safe commute experiences for our community. These methods for transportation are beneficial to both community and environmental health.

Dependence on automobiles can lead to negative effects such as air pollution, increased greenhouse gas emissions, roadway congestion and high infrastructure costs. Alternatives like those described below can help reduce these environmental impacts, and also promote other personal benefits like physical wellness through increased daily activity (such as walking and biking), and reduced financial costs associated with owning, parking and maintaining a private automobile.


Electric Vehicle Charging Program & Bicycles

As a part of the University’s RU Green Suitability initiative, Reinhardt has three dual electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on campus where EV drivers can simply plug in and power up.Electric Vehicle Charging Program

All charging stations can accommodate the charging of two vehicles at a time and are level 2 chargers which will charge any level two and most level three electric vehicles. Charging is available for a maximum of four hours and charging a vehicle is free.

Charging stations are located in the following parking lots:

  • Gordy Hall Lot (Students and Visitors)
  • East Apartments Parking Lot (Students and Visitors)
  • Hill Freeman Library Parking Lot (Faculty, Staff and Visitors Only)


Customers are asked to park at charging stations only during an active charge. Once the charge session is complete, vehicles must be removed from the charging station spaces, so that other customers may use the chargers. Vehicles parked in EV charging spaces for over four hours are subject to fines by Reinhardt University’s Department of Public Safety.


Bicycle Friendly University

Reinhardt supports cycling as a sustainable means of transportation around our beautiful “University in a Park.” The demand for bikes that help students travel around campus has been increasing in recent years, and the University has responded accordingly by taking an active role in ensuring a campus that is safe and accommodating for cyclists. This includes installed bike racks at each academic, residential and recreational building as well as maintain hiking and biking trails on campus.

We must work together to ensure that the university community is able to recycle efficiently and effectively. To do this, it is important to become familiar with items that can and cannot be recycled on campus.

There are three main types of recyclables that can be collected on campus through the recycling program:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Mixed paper/cardboard
  • Plastic

Recycling bins are located in all academic and administrative buildings. Students, faculty ands staff should collect recyclables in their residence hall rooms, offices and classrooms, and bring them to the closest bins for recycling. Make sure you are recycling correctly to avoid contamination.


Water Refill Stations

With more than 10 water bottle-filling stations across Reinhardt University’s campus, students, faculty, staff and visitors have easy access to free water for their reusable water bottles, tumblers and mugs.

Bottle vs Filling Station

  • Disposable water bottles waste plastic and require the shipment of a rather dense material that is piped into our homes and onto campus at fractions of a penny per gallon.
  • Transporting bottled water from hundreds--or even thousands--of miles away is expensive and perpetuates our reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Using a refillable bottle saves both money and natural resources!
  • Water refill stations are more environmentally friendly as well as more sanitary and hygienic.
  • Water refill stations provide you with great-tasting water.

Where can I refill my reusable water bottle on campus?

Reinhardt University has water refill stations in almost every building! The stations are in areas with high pedestrian traffic including academic buildings, performing arts facilities, the Hill Freeman Library, the Hasty Student Life Center, and the Brown Athletic Center.

Remember to bring your own reusable bottle to campus and fill up at a water refill station - it's convenient and will help prevent single-use plastic water bottles.

Recycling bins are located strategically around campus at the following facilities:

  • Hasty Student Life Center
  • Burgess Administration Building
  • Lawson Academic Center
  • Falany Performing Arts Center

There’s never been a better time to get involved as a student on campus with sustainability initiatives. Whether you are a freshman, a senior, or graduate student, there are opportunities for you.


The Office of the Dean of Students employs student interns each semester to work on its initiatives as a part of the RU Green Initiative.

Attend an Event

The Office of the Dean of Students plans and facilitates fun, engaging events around sustainability all year long including Campus Beautification Day and Earth Day.


The Office of the Dean of Students is very thankful to the effort of our many passionate volunteers. Anyone can volunteer with our office, whether a student, member of faculty or staff, or an individual from the community. If you are interested in volunteering but don’t know where to begin, or if you would like to inquire about a particular opportunity, email

Propose a Project

Students may propose sustainability projects through the RU Green Fund. If funded, the Office of the Dean of Students will help facilitate the project, but the student will lead its implementation. Students can have a major impact on campus sustainability through the RU Green Fund.