Chatham University emphasizes environmental awareness as part of its curriculum, including:
As a Charter Signatory of the Presidents Climate Commitment, Chatham has conducted an inventory of its carbon footprint and is developing ways to reduce its environmental impact. The Presidents Climate Commitment is a high–visibility effort to address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, and to accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re–stabilize the earth’s climate.
The University’s new Eden Hall Campus in Richland Township will serve as a living laboratory where students will engage in a broad range of studies including programs aimed at improving the lives of women and addressing issues of environmental sustainability. Given by Eden Hall Foundation, the 388–acre Eden Hall Campus establishes Chatham as the largest university campus with respect to acreage in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Sustainability is a part of the University's curriculum and informs many of its academic programs including botany, environmental science, environmental studies, interior architecture, and landscape architecture.
Thirty–two acres of the University’s Shadyside Campus were designated an arboretum by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta (AABGA, now known as the American Public Garden Association (APGA), in 1998). The arboretum maintains elements of Andrew Mellon’s estate designed by the renowned Olmsted Brothers and includes over 120 different species of trees.
Chatham purchased the first hybrid police car in the City of Pittsburgh in 2008. The Toyota Prius patrols the Shadyside Campus.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 2004, Chatham eliminated the use of chemical–based herbicides and pesticides on campus, and switched to toxic–free cleaning products. It also began purchasing ten percent of its power from alternative sources, and today purchases 15 percent from wind–generated energy.
Food waste from the University’s dining hall is composted by AgRecycle Inc. and cooking oil is recycled as biofuel. In 2009 Chatham recycled more food service organics than any other participating school in the national Recyclemania competition.