MCAD Entrance with Bog and Bikes


A sustainable campus involves promoting work practices, services, and lifestyles that don't compromise the lives and health of future generations.

As MCAD believes strongly in creating a sustainable campus environment, a Sustainable Environment Action Committee was formed in fall of 2012. Since then, the group's many efforts have made campus a much cleaner, greener, and healthier place. Read on for a breakdown of some of the committee's initiatives and their results.



MCAD offers seventeen courses that focus on sustainable systems and design thinking within the master of arts in sustainable design program. Several undergraduate courses also cover sustainable topics.

Energy and the Built Environment

  • Replaced all medium-based lamps to LED or compact fluorescent
  • Installed occupancy and motion sensors in restrooms and stairwells
  • Received $76,000 from Xcel and Centerpoint Energy for energy-saving projects
  • Implemented energy-efficient projects that save $195,000 annually in utilities costs
  • Deferred maintenance of $1.3M with M/LAB renovations


  • Switched to lowest toxic pest management practices
  • Planted student garden bed in 2015
  • Maintenance of the Rooftop Bog
  • Installed storm water runoff systems in parking lot
  • Planted over 80 trees, increasing canopy cover and shade
  • Added pollinator-friendly plant species


  • Support local farms through Sysco Minnesota
  • Serve carbon-negative Tiny Footprint Coffee
  • Bring-your-own coffee mug discounts
  • 100% compostable dining ware, including plates, bowls, straws, coffee, and cups

Waste and Recycling

With the help of recycling programs, composting, the free shelf, and our end of the year green clean out for student housing, MCAD diverted 47% of waste away from landfills this past year.


  • Upgrades to M/LAB eliminate harsh chemicals for environmentally safe photo studios
  • Responsible recycling of all electronic waste and batteries
  • Reduction of unnecessary printing with the record-keeping account Papercut


  • Awarded Metro Transit’s Best Holistic Programs as an organization, and the Innovation Incentive as an employer
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 49 tons in 2014 through use of HOURCAR
  • Installation of Nice Ride bike rental station on campus April to November
  • Metro Transit discount offers to students and employees
  • Carpool incentives and parking policies reduced single-occupancy vehicle rate from 80% to 60%
  • Shuttle services for students for groceries and supplies
  • Installation of electric vehicle charging station

Student Groups

  • Green Club: Establishes and maintains campus garden, as well as activities for students to interact and engage with nature
  • Bee Club: Facilitated by staff member Diana Eicher, manages and promotes a bee-friendly campus, including maintenance of two rooftop hives
  • Student Action Network: Two MCAD students currently participate in this Multischool network supported by a Hennepin County Roots grant