Office of Sustainability

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What We’re Doing Now     

The Solar House

What structure is built with no poured concrete? Has zero daily energy consumption and is ADA compliant? Has a Butterfly Roof to allow for maximum capture for rain water and has a Helical Pier Foundation System to minimize the disturbance of native soils? It’s the University of the Incarnate Word’s LEED Platinum-certified Solar House. Find out more about at the Solar House homepage.

Community Gardens

We have two community gardens on UIW’s main campus: the 650 sq. ft. Gorman Garden, located on the west side of the Gorman Building, and the 200 sq. ft. Bonilla Garden, adjacent to Bonilla Hall. Each garden is planted and maintained year round by students, faculty, and staff, and we have an open-harvest policy, so anyone is welcome to harvest ripe fruits and vegetables anytime.

We also support other community gardens at schools, community centers, and nonprofits in the San Antonio community, such as Carroll Early Childhood Education Center, Ella Austin Community Center, and Gardopia Gardens.

Join us for garden workdays or stop by to see what’s growing! To find out more, like us on Facebook or email Dr. Chris Edelman, Faculty Coordinator of UIW Community Gardens at

Earth Month

Each year in April UIW offers programming in support of Earth Month. A special university committee is tasked with developing and implementing the program. For a list of this year’s events, please see the Earth Month webpage. [link]


EcoExchangeEdu (EEE) is a group of South Texas college and university students, faculty, staff, and administrators, who gather to share ideas about sustainability on our campuses. EEE hosts an annual showcase in April, and is proud to announce its 4th showcase, “Greening San Antonio: Beyond 300,” on Friday, April 6, 2018. Find EEE on Facebook:


STARS is the premier self-assessment tool for sustainability in higher education. In 2018 UIW is beginning the process of STARS self-assessment. Stay tuned for further developments!


Recent Successes

UIW was recipient of the 2017 Climate Leadership Award given by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and ecoAmerica’s Solution Generation program.

UIW is a proud member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Members of UIW’s sustainability team have attended and presented at AASHE meetings. UIW was also a sponsor of AASHE 2017 conference, held in San Antonio October 15-18, 2017.

UIW was honored to host the College & University Recycling Coalition (CURC) workshop on October 15, 2017.

UIW participates in CPS’s Demand-Response program, which enables significant reduction in energy usage and generates savings and cost rebates.

UIW has installed reusable water bottle stations throughout campus. In Fall 2017 students who were “caught green-handed” with reusable water bottles received free tacos and free donuts.

Our History

The University of the Incarnate Word is located adjacent to the Headwaters at Incarnate Word, a 53-acre nature sanctuary that is home to the Blue Hole, the source spring of the San Antonio River. Find out more about the Headwaters’ history and remarkable programming at

The university, as an extension of the life-changing work of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, has a history stretching back into the nineteenth century of tying together social and environmental justice with education. Find out more about the Sisters’ history and work at

Our Structure

The Office of Sustainability is part of the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability (ECCLaS). The Office is overseen by the Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB), led by a Leadership Committee of two or three co-directors and an operations manager. The work of the SAB is carried out by four standing committees, each with a chair who also serves on the SAB. Members of the standing committees do not need to be on the board. The committees are: Education, Energy and the Environment, Community Gardens, and Annual Events and Communications. Committees meet monthly during the fall and spring semesters, and the SAB also meets monthly with an end-of-year annual retreat. The SAB may meet periodically in the summer. Click here for a list of the members of the 2017-18 Sustainability Advisory Board.


Sustainability Partners