Baylor Sustainability Program Earns Texan by Nature Certification

Recyling for Baylor's Sustainability Program
Baylor’s ongoing sustainability efforts include a comprehensive recycling program that includes move-in and move-out days, athletic events and other major University events. (Baylor University)

Baylor University’s sustainability program has earned Texan by Nature Project Certification, which provides Texas employers, organizations and individuals with recognition of meaningful conservation efforts involving and benefiting people, prosperity and natural resources.

Texan by Nature is a conservation nonprofit organization founded in 2011 by former First Lady Laura Bush.

“As a native Texan, for me personally, it is a deep honor to be recognized by an organization like Texan by Nature,” said Smith Getterman, director of sustainability and special projects at Baylor. “Baylor is a university whose Texas roots run deep and wide, so for the group founded by former First Lady Laura Bush to acknowledge our work in caring for our little part of this great state is very special.”

In addition to Texan by Nature, Baylor’s ongoing commitment to sustainability has been recognized by SIERRA Magazine, which includes Baylor among 11 Texas schools and four Big 12 institutions on its 2019 Cool Schools list. Baylor’s sustainable practices also are recognized in the Princeton Review’s 10th annual Guide to Green Colleges.

Aligned with the University’s mission to “to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community,” Getterman brings a faith-based approach to conservation as both a call to be good stewards of God’s creation and to love one’s neighbors.

“Being good stewards of our resources is an outward expression of our inward faith. It’s a reflection of our care and interest in the well-being of our local, state, national and global neighbors,” Getterman said in a Texan by Nature Q&A.

Sustainability Student Advisory Board
Baylor’s ongoing sustainability efforts include providing service opportunities for Baylor students through the Sustainability Student Advisory Board. (Meg Lewis)

Baylor’s ongoing sustainability efforts include:

  • a comprehensive recycling program that includes move-in and move-out days, athletic events and other major University events,
  • offering The Store, a free food pantry located in the Paul L. Foster Success Center, and The Fridge, a series of mini-fridges placed throughout campus that provide access to quick snacks and healthy meals for students who need it most,
  • providing service opportunities through the Sustainability Student Advisory Board,
  • supporting University academic units, which hosted world-renowned scholars during their sustainability and Creation stewardship-focused conferences,
  • constructing nine Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified facilities and
  • reducing campus waste through Baylor Campus Kitchen, which recovers food from on-campus dining halls and local restaurants, harvests fresh produce from the Campus Kitchen Community Garden and prepares and delivers nutritious meals to local nonprofits.

Baylor has made major strides toward achieving the goals in Sustainable 2020, a five-year plan announced in April 2015 that focuses on improving stewardship of University resources in dining, waste, energy and water by 2020. Updates on these five-year goals include:

Dining: 20% locally sourced food in residence hall cafeterias.

  • 218 Update: Locally sourced food in residence hall cafeterias increased to 15.4% from 13.5% in 2017.

Waste: 30% diversion rate.

  • 2018 Update: University diversion rate increased to 30.2%, from a 2010 FY baseline. The University’s diversion rate was 27% in 2017.

Energy: Reduce university greenhouse gas emissions 15% by 2020 from a 2010 FY baseline, including growth.

  • 2018 Update: Use of energy decreased by an average of 12.9%, from a 2010 FY baseline.

Water: Reduce university-wide water use 17% by 2020 from a 2010 FY baseline.

  • 2018 Update: University-wide water use decreased by an average of 18.3% overall, from a 2010 FY baseline.

“While the expectation is to achieve each of the below Sustainable 2020 goals, we believe that the journey towards that achievement has already made Baylor a better, healthier environment for our faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and has encouraged our campus community to take a more active role in being judicious stewards of our resources,” Getterman said.

From recycling to reducing food, water and energy waste, students have an opportunity to have a positive impact on the university and local community. After graduating from Baylor, they continue to be good stewards of the environment by improving their own communities, he said.

For more information about sustainability at Baylor, contact Getterman at 254-710-3768 or or visit


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


Texan by Nature (TxN) unites business and conservation leaders who believe Texas’ prosperity is dependent on the conservation of its natural resources. TxN amplifies projects and activates new investment in conservation which returns real benefits for people, prosperity, and natural resources. Texan by Nature achieves mission goals through the Texan by Nature Certification program, Conservation Wrangler program, Symposia Series, and the Texan by Nature 20. Get involved and learn more at and follow on Facebook @TexanbyNature, Twitter @TexanbyNature, and Instagram @texanbynature.