Chatham University

Sustainability Culture

Dining Hall
The foodservice provider for Chatham’s dining hall, Parkhurst, runs a program, FarmSource, which purchases 20% of its food from local sources. This reflects Chatham’s commitment to community involvement in its food and reduces the carbon impact of food transportation. The dining hall provides vegan and vegetarian selections at all meals to accommodate the large population that prefers this low-carbon diet, as well as to reduce the campus footprint. Parkhurst also coordinates a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for the campus.

In 2009, after the success of Trayless Tuesdays, the dining hall eliminated the use of trays. This effort reduces water waste from washing trays and reduces wasted food. It is estimated that this causes a 25% reduction in energy use just from not having to heat so much water. People take less food and throw less away too. In 2008, the dining hall began composting both pre and post-consumer food. Chatham composted 44.75 pounds of food per person on campus. Starting in fall 2008, previously recycled used cooking oil is now sent to a local biodiesel plant. Also, all beverage and food containers on campus have been converted to fully-compostable wares.

Alternative Transportation
Chatham offers many alternatives to single-passenger drivers to get around more sustainably. As a Chatham student, faculty, or staff member, your ID card serves as a bus pass. This means that you can ride any Pittsburgh Port Authority bus, the light rail, or the Monongahela Incline for free!

If you prefer to bike, Chatham has plenty of bicycle racks for storing your bike while on campus. Also, opening in spring 2010, Chatham will have a bike shop, staffed by University students that can perform basic bike maintenance and repair for free!

A recent addition to the list of alternative transportation options is Chatham’s partnership with Zipcar. Zipcar provides its members with all of the freedom of having a car to go wherever you want, without all of the negative aspects of vehicle ownership like maintenance or paying for car payments, gas and insurance costs. Members aren’t required to pay any gas or insurance charges. As a member you will enjoy 24/7 self-service access to the 2 cars located on Chatham’s Shadyside and Eastside campuses, as well as the 40 cars in Pittsburgh and the 6000 cars worldwide. As a member of the Chatham community you have access to a discounted membership rate to Zipcar. Find out more at

Also, Chatham maintains a fleet of shuttle buses, the Green Machines, that transport students between its Shadyside and Eastside Campuses, as well as to nearby local universities. These shuttles run on a 5% biodiesel blend.

Rea House
Rea House is Chatham’s environmentally themed student dorm, housing 28 students. Residents of Rea House must submit an application and participate in events that display a commitment to the environment and sustainability.

Student Groups

Green Horizons
Green Horizons is Chatham University’s environmental collective, promoting sustainable living and awareness. Past activities include recycled plastic bag “slip and slide” night, a bike-in movie, and the annual “Green Week,” which involves the “veg pledge,” environmentally-themed teach-ins, etc.

Bike Collective
The Bike Collective is a subgroup of Green Horizons dedicated to encouraging and enabling students to bike, rather than drive. With the help of the local organizations, Free Ride and Bike Pittsburgh, the collective guides students through the ins and outs of bicycle commuting. It is currently working to open a small, student-operated bicycle repair shop on campus.

Pittsburgh Student Environmental Coalition (PSEC)
Although not strictly a Chatham organization, the Pittsburgh Student Environmental Coalition (PSEC) is a newly formed youth collective working to promote positive environmental change in Pittsburgh and beyond. PSEC is a cohesive organization as well as a support system for its member environmental organizations. or more information, visit or Current member and partner organizations include: