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At Cal Poly Humboldt, we’re surrounded by beauty, from the Pacific Ocean to ancient redwood forests, and we’re part of the rich communities of the North Coast. The stunning landscape and the people here are sources of inspiration for students, faculty, and staff. They’re also reminders that it’s on us to maintain and improve these natural and human resources for future generations. 

With that in mind, we are proud of our longstanding commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Through a range of efforts that span the curriculum, campus programs, and University initiatives—many of which are driven by our students—Cal Poly Humboldt continues to be a leader in integrating sustainability into nearly everything we do. 

Academics & Research

  • Cal Poly Humboldt’s Schatz Energy Research Center is a globally recognized leader in clean and renewable energy technology research. The Schatz Center’s work involves technology demonstration, project development, energy systems analysis, and education and training. It also performs feasibility studies, resource assessments, and energy planning studies.
  • From Biodiversity on Earth and Tribal Water Rights to Environmental Communication, we have hundreds of courses that incorporate issues related to sustainability,  and many majors include a focus on the environment or social responsibility.
  • To foster sustainability literacy across all colleges, the Sustainability minor explores real-world problems from a variety of academic perspectives. It incorporates curricula from across the natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities and the arts.
  • The Food Sovereignty Lab & Cultural Workspace is a groundbreaking facility that will operate as a commercial kitchen, with a plant-drying station and salmon pit for working with and preparing food, baskets, and regalia. Cal Poly Humboldt will become the first university in California with a space dedicated to uplifting Tribal sovereignty through the research, practice, and preservation of food sovereignty.
  • Cal Poly Humboldt has led the way with groundbreaking research on food and housing insecurity on college campuses.  

Programs & Organizations

  • The Graduation Pledge of Social & Environmental Responsibility was conceived in 1987 by a group of Humboldt students and community members. More than 100 colleges and universities nationwide and overseas, including Stanford and MIT, have adopted the pledge, which states “I pledge to thoroughly investigate and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job opportunity that I consider.” curbing nuclear weapons.
  • Oh SNAP! Student Food Programs is a student-led organization that has evolved into the hub of Cal Poly Humboldt’s effort to support food insecure students. It provides a food pantry and helps connect students to services—all part of the University’s multi-pronged approach to tackling student hunger and housing insecurity on campus, while also pushing for changes throughout higher education.
  • Founded in 1978, the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT) is a live-in eco-demonstration home staffed by students and funded by Associated Students. The goal is to leave the lightest carbon footprint possible by using and testing technology that is environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable.
  • What began as the Campus Recycling Program in 1987 evolved into the Waste Reduction and Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP). This student-run organization  raises awareness through its five programs, which include: Composting,  Education, Reusable Office and Supply Exchange,  Zero Waste and Take Back the Tap, and The Bicycle Learning Center.

Initiatives & Operations

  • Our roadmap to become carbon neutral by 2045 and move toward building a campus and community that’s more resilient to climate change. This includes strategies to curb the consumption of fossil fuels, procure or generate electricity from renewable resources, sequester carbon, integrate climate action into academics and research, and build resilience to present and future climate change hazards.
  • Since the inception of its endowment in 2004, the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation has been a leader in socially responsible investing. In 2013, working with a group of students, the Foundation redoubled its commitment by developing a strategy to divest from fossil fuels. Having eliminated direct fossil fuel investments, the Foundation is leading the way for institutions nationwide navigating the difficult challenge of divesting from fossil fuels held in mutual funds.
  • In 2012, we became the first public university in California to stop selling single-use plastic water bottles.
  • The OZZI program offers reusable to-go containers for food. We also use green dining ware and energy-efficient appliances, and we compost. A driving element of the sustainability commitment is sourcing from local bakeries, farms, coffee roasters, restaurants, and other vendors in the surrounding area.
  • Cal Poly Humboldt, in partnership with the city of Arcata, launched the Humboldt Bike-Share service to help students, staff, and faculty get around campus and town while reducing their carbon footprint. Zipcar is a carsharing service and the Homeward Bound Bus Charter Program offers discounted bus rides home during breaks. The Jack Pass provides unlimited, no-cost ride access on local and regional bus systems during the fall and spring semesters.


  • Gold rating from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System (STARS) in recognition of the University’s sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
  • Among the top public schools in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • Dubbed  a “Cool School” by the Sierra Club.
  • Recognized as a green school by The Princeton Review.
  • Consistently ranked as a top Peace Corps volunteer-producing colleges and universities. 
  • Named a top performing institution by Washington Monthly, based on the University’s “contribution to the public good.”