Image of the Tempietto in Kogan Plaza during cherry blossom season

Green Living

“Green living” brings the vital issue of sustainability into students’ daily lives. At GW, we take seriously our commitment to the ecosystem and to our community. The university’s day-to-day operations not only reflect that commitment, but they also offer leadership by example. We embrace “green” building standards, energy efficiency, recycling and sustainable transportation.

GW student organizations and administrative departments have collaborated in developing and implementing environmentally oriented initiatives in the residence halls. These initiatives include:

The Eco-Challenge

This friendly competition among residence halls challenges students to see which hall can conserve the most water and electricity, as measured by gallons per person and kilowatt hours. The challenge runs for a full academic year and relies on students making behavioral changes to become more green in their daily lives.

For more information, visit the Eco-Challenge website.

Campus Recycling

GW recycles many items on campus, including bottles and cans, mixed paper, electronics, and batteries.

To learn more about recycling at GW, students should visit the Campus Recycling website, and faculty and staff should visit the Facilities Services website.

Green Roof Initiative

The building at 1957/1959 E St., NW, has been retrofitted with a “green roof” that carries many eco-friendly benefits. When growth medium and succulent plants like sedum are installed on traditional roofs, they transform them into green environments. On this GW roof, the sedum absorbs rainwater – preventing the water from going directly into storm sewers – and acts as an insulator for both temperature and sound. That reduces the energy needed for heating and cooling the building. The green roof also provides a welcoming habitat for insects and butterflies. And, finally, like all plants, the sedum on the green roof converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.

For more information, read about the Green Roof Initiative on GW Today.


This friendly competition among U.S. colleges and universities unfolds over a 10-week period. Schools compete to see which collects the most recyclables per capita, which reclaims the largest amount of total recyclables and which generates the least amount of trash per capita or has the highest recycling rate. Participating schools are required to report results on a weekly basis. The goal of RecycleMania is to raise student awareness of campus recycling and slash waste generation by reducing, reusing and recycling.

For more information, visit the RecycleMania website.

Green Move-In

Information campaigns help educate students about GW’s commitment to sustainability. One campaign encourages “green” behavior even before students begin classes. Green Move-In suggests eco-actions students can take as they arrive on campus. They include:

    Packing in reusable containers
    Buying “green” when purchasing items for your room
    Minimizing paper handouts and printouts of move-related information
    Recycling shipping boxes or retaining them for reuse
    Taking part in GW’s robust recycling program
    Learning the water and power conservation tips aimed at GW residents

For more information, visit the Green Move-In website.

Green Move-Out

Involvement with GW’s commitment to sustainability doesn’t have to end when classes do. Students can continue embracing “green” actions even as they depart campus. Those move-out actions include:

    A massive effort to gather donations of usable clothing and household items that otherwise would have been discarded
    An initiative to assemble donations – for community redistribution – of departing students’ non-perishable food items
    A two-campus “e-cycling” drive to collect old batteries, ink cartridges, cell phones and computer monitors and parts so they can be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way

For more information, visit the Green Move-Out website.

Student Self Check-In/Check-Out

GW Housing and the Residential Life Service Cluster support and encourage a virtually paperless process for checking-in and checking-out of residence hall rooms.

At the beginning of the fall and spring terms, students are encouraged to log into the GW Housing student Web portal to complete electronic self check-in and provide up-to-date emergency contact information. At the conclusion of each term, students are encouraged to revisit the portal to complete self-checkout.

For more information, visit the Student Self Check-In website.

Self Guided Green Tour of South Hall

Learn more about GW's first LEED residence hall by taking this self-guided tour. You'll learn about the building's energy efficiency, water conservation, the green materials used during construction, and more!