Student Guide to Sustainable Living

Students browse clothes at pop-up thrift sale

Consumption & Waste

The best way to reduce your waste is to prevent it in the first place. Buy less, refuse what you don't need, and repair what you have. If you must buy, choose used items instead of new. Ultimately, some things must be thrown away, so it's important to know how to properly recycle and compost at UT. In this section, you'll learn: 

  • Ways to reduce your consumption
  • How to buy more thoughtfully
  • How to recycle and compost properly on campus

Students Fighting Climate Change meet at the Tower


Both individual and collective action are important for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change. In this section, you'll learn:

  • Individual actions to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions
  • Resources for learning about collective actions you can take locally

Water flows in Waller Creek

Energy & Water

Turning off power strips, setting your laptop to sleep, and unplugging unused electronics are easy actions to reduce energy and lower your carbon footprint. Water is a precious resource, especially in Texas. Using water with care is an important way to protect our natural systems. In this section, you'll learn: 

  • Tips for conserving energy and water
  • How to report leaks and other maintenance issues

Barbara Jordan quote

Equity & Social Justice

Equity and social justice are key components of sustainability on campus and in our community. Educating yourself on these important issues is an essential first step. In this section, you'll learn: 

  • What is environmental justice?
  • Some campus organizations supporting student equity issues
  • Ways to learn more and get involved

Student sets out produce for sale at UT Farm Stand

Food & Dining

What you eat has an outsized impact on climate change. Fortunately, there are many ways you can make your meals more sustainable whether you live on campus or are cooking for yourself. In this section, you'll learn: 

  • Ways to reduce the environmental impact of your food
  • Options for buying local and growing your own produce

Blue Heron hunts on Waller Creek


Spending time in nature is an excellent way to destress and improve your mental wellness. Although UT is located in the heart of a major city, it is still home to a diversity of native plant and animal species. Explore the restored natural ecosystems located throughout the 40 Acres. In this section, you'll learn: 

  • Natural places to unwind or study outdoors
  • Volunteer opportunities related to campus natural spaces
  • Ways to learn more about Texas' native plants, animals, and ecosystems 

Bicycles parked on East Mall


Save money on parking and do the earth a favor. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy to get around campus and Austin by foot, bike, and bus. Your UT ID card gets you on any city bus or train for free. Biking is a great way to get to class and to downtown. In this section, you'll learn: 

  • How to use the bus to get to fun destinations in Austin
  • Where to buy or rent a bike and learn to maintain it

Student volunteers to sort waste after a UT football game

Get Involved

Make a difference, build your leadership experience, and make friends. You can apply for internship experiences on-campus and in the community, give back through one-time volunteer activities, or join a student organization focused on sustainability. In this section, you'll learn: 

  • Student organizations taking action to make campus more sustainable
  • On-campus internships related to sustainability

Prairie flowers bloom with UT Tower as a backdrop

Stay in the Know

Keep up to date on campus sustainability news, events, and opportunities. Sign-up for sustainability-related newsletters or follow along on social media.

Office of Sustainability

Farm Stand

UT Outpost


Biodiversity Center

UT Orchard and Pollinator Garden

Environmental Science Institute

Division of Campus & Community Engagement

Multicultural Engagement Center

Social Innovation Initiative