Our Green History

In 1994 Murray State signed the Talloires Declaration—a guiding set of commitments for colleges and universities pursuing sustainability. The Talloires Declaration represents critical dimensions of sustainability in higher education created by the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future. These core principles have been a guiding framework for many of the activities and initiatives taking place on campus since then. While much of the university’s work on core sustainability projects across campus have been established in the last 20 years, the history of sustainability and conservation goes back to the university’s founding in 1922. As early as 1925, the geography, geology and agriculture departments established classes in The Conservation of Natural Resources, Climatology, and Water Conservation. In 1924 student, environmental groups were established; the Conservation Club (pictured above on a field trip) and Audubon Society for students working in these areas and who were concerned with environmental issues.

On April 22, 1970, MSU was one of the few universities in Kentucky to facilitate activities on the first Earth Day. From that day forward the university began turning inward to assess environmental issues in their department of facilities management to discover ways to become more sustainable and innovate existing systems to conserve energy and water.

In 1997 MSU was acknowledged by the Kentucky Governor and Secretary for the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet for making great strides in the areas of reduced energy consumption: heating/cooling, elevator drives, and lighting. Additionally, MSU Transportation Services was recognized for their efforts to recycle tires, batteries, used oil and crushed oil filters, mineral spirits, antifreeze and freon since the 1970s. Murray State has consistently recycled more pounds of material than any comparable regional university in Kentucky. The University Recycling Program has saved more than $500,000 in tipping fees in the past few decades and was recognized in 2000 with the Who's Who in Recycling Award by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet. In 2009 the President’s Commission on Campus Sustainability (PCCS) was established by then President Randy Dunn to take the campus efforts to the next level. What follows is a list of programs and activities that MSU has pursued and continues to promote in the areas of: energy monitoring and reduction, recycling, water conservation, and academic programs.