Oberlin College

Societally-embedded transition to a circular UniverCity


Oberlin College


North America



founding year


student body



Institutional Approach

The Oberlin Project at Oberlin College embeds circularity into all aspects of university functioning. In a joint-effort between municipal and institutional administration and private partners, the project aims to create a carbon-free and 'climate-positive' city and community based on biophilic design approaches. The outcome will be a shift towards renewable resource use by the city and university, and meeting 70% of the city and university's food consumption needs via local, sustainable agriculture. The overarching principle from the university's perspective is students as change agents, as the project relies on student participation via project-based learning, transdisciplinary research, and internships. A sense of 'place-making' for all students is a central goal: involving students in their surroundings and actively engaging students in their location. In addition to climate, sustainability and biodiversity goals, one of the project's aims is the dissemination and replication of the project in other towns/universities across the U.S.


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