UofM Initiatives

Biodiesel Research

The University of Memphis is continuing research into a biofuel initiative that would make it easier to transform common waster materials into fuel for internal combustion engines.

"By taking what some consider waste and refining it into fuel, the UofM is leading the way when it comes to using green technologies to develop sustainable sources of energy," said U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen after announcing a $500,000 grant to the Center for Biofuel Energy and Sustainable Technologies (BEST).

The University of Memphis' Center for Biofuel Energy & Sustainable Technologies biofuel refinery.

Honors Dorm

The University's residence life service is offering "green" options when it comes to dorm living – just another way the UofM is providing a more sustainable campus while teaching students the value of sustainable lifestyle. The new Living Learning Residence Complex, which replaced West Hall, opened last fall and is one of the first state buildings to meet LEED Silver standards.

Watch a video on things you can do in the office and on campus to conserve energy and make for a more sustainable campus.

Terra House

It took three years of research, design and planning, but the University of Memphis' TERRA House has become one of the best examples of sustainable living in the Midsouth. The TERRA (Technologically + Environmentally Responsive Residential Architecture), located at the northeast corner of North Main and Greenlaw, embodies the idea of "green" design while blending in with the other residences in the area. The house brings a new understanding of sustainable architecture and design to Memphis.

The home, designed entirely by Department of Architecture students under faculty supervision, features energy efficient and environmentally responsible techniques, materials, appliances and fixtures. It adheres to Memphis Light Gas and Water Division's EcoBUILD program and to the American Lung Association's Health House standards. The Department of Architecture will apply for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation, and the two-story, 1,700 square-foot home will then be one of the first in the region to conform to U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Green Building Rating System.

Chiller System

The University of Memphis is saving about $200,000 annually and providing for a more sustainable campus with the installation of a computer-driven pumping system. The station provides cooling only to buildings that need it and will not be wasting energy by pumping large amounts of cooling water through miles of piping around campus. Learn more about the chiller system >

Fogelman Gift

Already a major player in sustainable technologies research, the University of Memphis has added another program that will have a major effect on the greening of America and bring worldwide attention to the University.

The UofM has announced a major gift from the Fogelman family that will fund a Fogelman College Sustainable Real Estate program in the Fogelman College of Business & Economics. Learn more about how the Fogelman gift will benefit this program >


The University's efforts also include reduction of carbon emissions, purchasing green certified products and implementing major enhancements to the recycling program, according to interim sustainability coordinator Amelia Mayahi.

"The University has increased the amount and the types of materials that we recycle," she says, adding that this results in less garbage pickup, a savings to the UofM. "In turn, we will also prevent these materials from entering a landfill where they would remain for thousands of years and release toxins into the air and soil. It is just the sensible thing to do.

"We are currently in the process of expanding our primary collection sites. There have also been improvements in our student awareness activities. A recycling truck has been purchased, which will greatly increase the proficiency of our collection program."

View Recycling for more information on UofM recycling.

Watch a video on how students are recycling on campus.


Despite having one of the greenest thumbs on campus, Karyl Buddington doesn't really see herself as a gardener: "I feel like we are all responsible for taking care of the environment," says Buddington, the UofM's Animal Care Facility director.

So much so that Buddington initiated a garden project that has proven to be — no pun intended — wildly popular. Last summer, tomatoes, strawberries, sunflowers, peppers and dozens of other herbs sprouted on campus, opening up a sort of farmer's market at the University.

"The novel concept of our garden is that it is all free," says Buddington of the project, dubbed TIGuRS. "We will give whatever we produce to whoever wants it if they can use it."

Education, she says, is a big part of the project.

"We wanted to show our campus and our community that just because we are in an urban setting doesn't mean we can't grow a good part of the food that we eat."

Find out what's in the garden >


The UofM and local government offer carpooling databases to help you go green while saving some green.