Sustainability at the Law School

sus.tain'a.bil'i.ty n.

the ability to meet the needs of the present while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems and without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

What does sustainability mean at the NYU School of Law? It means recognizing the interconnectedness of today's world. It means the ideas taught in the classroom must extend beyond the campus to make a positive impact on society. It means understanding that individual decisions affect our communitieslocal, national, and globaland believing that together, collectively, we can make a big difference. It means looking boldly to the future, beyond the visible horizon, to find creative solutions that will leave the world a little better than we found it.

The Law School has long been at the forefront of trends in legal education, and it is that innovative spirit that has enabled us to respond to changing dynamics in the legal profession and in society. In keeping with that legacy, and our deep, historical commitment to public service, the Law School has made a concerted effort over the years to reduce our environmental footprint, and be a leader in fostering a more sustainable campus. Over the years, the institution has made great strides in integrating “green” practices and principles into its operations, and we hope those are just the beginning.

Our students have played a vital role in pushing for change. In 2005, NYU Law students played a key role in launching the Green Arch Initiative, which developed into a university-wide dialogue about local sustainability. Green Arch grew into a coalition of students, faculty and staff which ultimately was instrumental in the launch of the NYU Sustainability Task Force. The University’s strategy looks not only at how we can consume less and recycle more, but how we can promote sustainability through our core mission: education and research.

School of Law Sustainability Committee


The Lorax, Dr. Seuss’s well-known cautionary tale of how a myopic mentality can destroy an idyllic land, ends with the admonition, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. Its not.” Believing that small incremental changes do matter, a group of concerned students, administrators and faculty came together to institutionalize the Law School's commitment to sustainablity across the community. The mission of the committee is to expand on existing efforts while fostering a deeper understanding and awareness of environmental issues and sustainability throughout the broader community.

This site is meant as a resource for the many initiatives that have already been undertaken by individual members or departments around the Law School, while soliciting new ideas and sharing tips and suggestions for what members of the community can do on a daily basis to make a difference.

It is exciting to learn that throughout the Law School, various offices have implemented department-wide efforts to encourage energy efficiency and reduce waste. Whether this is ensuring that all paper, shredding and printer cartridges are recycled, purchasing recycled paper, cutting down on junk mail, printing double-sided, posting materials on-line or sending them electronically, discontinuing print publications when possible, ordering less food and beverages for events, and encouraging the use of refillable bottles and coffee cups.

We also solicited lots of great ideas and suggestions, and are working to develop this website as a comprehensive resource for all current and planned initiatives, as well as steps you can take to learn more and get involved. We also hope to better educate the community, and plan to host a number of sessions throughout the academic year.