Green wall of plants

The promotion of health and wellness for all includes acting as stewards of our environment.

Triple Station Waste Bins

Triple station waste bins installed across campus, replacing individual office bins, have reduced the number of trash cans at UMSON in Baltimore by 65% and prevented 445,000 liners from being incinerated. 

Saving Trees, Saving Ink

We’ve made a concerted effort to lessen unnecessary student printing and remove desktop printers in lieu of departmental multifunction copiers. Our efforts have reduced:

  • student printing by 99.5%
  • ink toner cartridges by 93%
  • desktop printers by 84%

We’re committed to a sustainable future, but it isn’t something we can do alone — everyone needs to do their part.

6 Easy Ways You Can Support Sustainability

Together, we can all help the School be a greener place to learn and work. Here are a few simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint while you are at UMSON:

  1. Bring your own water bottle. Fill it up at the filtered water bottle station near the restrooms in the first floor lobby or at one of the other stations throughout the School.
  2. Switch off the lights. Turn off the lights when natural light is sufficient and when you are the last person to leave the room.
  3. Eat locally and seasonally. Shop for organic fruits and vegetables at the University Farmer's Market (Tuesdays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Plaza Park, May-November). Don’t forget your reusable bag!
  4. Take the stairs. Elevators consume electricity, but your legs do not! Skip the elevator and you’ll burn calories instead of energy.
  5. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. The average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage a day. Make sure your recyclable items end up in the bins around the School and in the Courtyard.
  6. Space heater alternatives. Space heaters are notorious for overloading our electrical circuits; thus, causing an entire floor to lose power whenever they are turned on. Click here to see some safe, low energy solutions.

The way you get to the School of Nursing is also important. Consider carpooling, biking, walking, or utilizing public transportation or the UMB shuttle. If you bike to class, check out the free bike pump and repair station in the UMSON Courtyard.

Triple Recycling Stations

Triple Recycling Stations

UMB has implemented triple recycling stations across campus and removed trash cans from behind employees' desks in an effort to:

  1. Raise awareness about how much trash everyone generates.
  2. Use fewer plastic bags.
  3. Encourage staff to get up and move on a regular basis.

Please only use the recycling bins for items that you know for sure can be recycled. Contamination of these bins makes it more likely our trash will be rejected and sent to the landfill, and it could pose safety threats to workers removing trash and "tanglers" at the recycling facility.

Did you know that UMB is piloting a Community Composting Drop-Off? Learn more.

Learn More About Sustainability at UMSON

Nurses Climate Challenge

In February 2020, UMSON became one of the first four schools of nursing nationwide to accept the Nurses Climate Challenge, a national campaign led by Health Care Without Harm and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. The initiative’s original goal was to engage nursing students, nurses, and nursing educators in educating 50,000 health professionals and students about the health impacts of climate change by 2022.

As of August 2023, there were 62 participating Schools of Nursing.  

To participate, UMSON has committed to meeting certain goals and implementing certain educational initiatives, including:

  • creating an Undergraduate Climate Change elective in 2017 that has educated 200 students since going online
  • incorporating climate change education as part of at least four courses
  • offering guest lectures on climate change in a variety of undergraduate and Clinical Nurse Leader master’s community/public health nursing classes
  • implementing practical education on sustainability and waste segregation in the Clinical Simulation Labs
  • distributing a campuswide Climate, Health and Nursing Tool (CHANT), a psychometrically tested survey instrument evaluating nurses’ and nursing students’ awareness, experience, motivation, and behaviors related to climate change and health distributed in conjunction with the Campus Office of Sustainability

Nurses must be prepared to care for patients in the context of climate change and be knowledgeable about actions to mitigate further climate impacts. The School of Nursing Commitment is an opportunity to include nursing students at all levels to participate in this movement.

Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education

In 2015, we signed the White House’s Health Educators Climate Commitment, joining more than 118 Schools of medicine, public health, and nursing to ensure the next generation of health professionals are prepared, through education and training, to effectively address the health impacts of climate change and to ensure that the world has a cadre of climate change and health experts. From that commitment, the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, was formed to coordinate and grow the list of signatories. UMSON is a member of the consortium, which aims to advance global health security through the development and dissemination of resources for educating health professionals on the effects of climate change. There are currently 298 member schools from all over the world.


GreenSON is our green team at the School. Students, staff, and faculty come together to actively identify, recognize, and promote conservation-minded initiatives and activities. If you would like to join, email Lorrie Voytek at

Since the establishment of the Campus Office of Sustainability, we now support their efforts to address climate change campus-wide. We meet biannually and as needed.

Green Wall

UMSON installed a two-story green wall in the Virginia Lee Franklin Lounge as part of the renovated, expanded footprint of the first and second floors in 2022.

Living green walls, composed of tightly packed, individually potted plants, improve indoor air quality and provide health benefits related to connecting to nature. The green wall system uses the plants’ soil medium to super filter the ambient air by pulling room air through the soil and returning it out for people to breathe. The air travels via clear plastic tubing along the edges of the green wall, and the pump required to circulate the air, along with the mechanisms associated with the self-watering system, are enclosed within the cabinet at the base of the green wall, made of repurposed wood.

UMSON's green wall is composed of 366 plants, consisting of 10 species: platycerium bifurcatum (Staghorn Fern); peperomia clusiifolia (Pepermonia ‘Ginny’); tradescantia zebrina (Inch Plant); aglaonema ‘Silver Bay’ (Chinese Evergreen); dracaena trifasciata (Snakeplant); philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’ (Brasil Philodendron); hypoestes phyllostachya (Polka Dot Plant); cholorophytum comosum, (‘Bonnie’ Spiderplant); and philodendron hederaceum (Green Philodendron); and philodendron hederaceum ‘Lemon’ (Lemon Philodendron).

Read More

Maryland Green Registry

Maryland Green Registry MemberIn February 2018, UMSON was accepted to the Maryland Green Registry, a free, voluntary program that offers tips and resources to help businesses and other organizations set and meet their own goals on the path to sustainability.

Members are required to demonstrate that they have shared information about a minimum of five environmental practices at their facility and must provide a measurable result for at least one of the practices. For example:

  • In 2006, UMSON instituted a pay-for-print system in student computer labs and dropped the number of student computer labs from four to one, decreasing the School’s monthly use of printing paper from 1.5 cases per week to three reams per week.
  • In 2017, UMSON adopted a desktop printer policy for faculty and staff, which has reduced toner cartridge use from 500 per year to 35.
  • Also in 2017, the School implemented a climate change elective, an online, interdisciplinary elective course on climate change, thanks to a grant from the MADE CLEAR organization.
  • Additionally, UMSON implemented water bottle-filling stations about four years ago.

Learn More about the Maryland Green Registry.

UMSON Climate Change Workgroup

In 2016, the UMSON Climate Change Workgroup was formed and charged with making recommendations for change to our curriculum so that our graduates are able to understand:

  1. their personal responsibility to reduce the carbon footprint in their own sphere of influence
  2. their professional responsibility to reduce the carbon footprint that results from health care waste and to support individuals, families, and communities with the health consequences of climate change
  3. the systematic issues that impact climate change.

The Climate Change workgroup also makes recommendations on additional initiatives the School can undertake to reduce our carbon footprint.

Prior to the pandemic, we met monthly and our activities have included:

  • oral presentations at Maryland Nurses Association 2016 Annual Convention and for the American Public Health Association 2017 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
  • a 3 credit, online elective: NURS 418 Climate Change: Evidence and Solutions
  • collaboration with GreenSON for an annual bike tune-up and UMB's Annual Neighborhood Festival during Earth Week.

Since the establishment of the Campus Office of Sustainability, we now support their efforts to address climate change campus-wide. 

UMSON Sustainability News

UMSON in the News:

Air quality alert in Baltimore: What you need to know
The Baltimore Banner
June 2023

Central Park May Soon Be Free of Pesticides
November 2022

Why nurses, America’s most trusted professionals, are demanding ‘climate justice’ 
The Washington Post
September 2019

Rising temperatures mean bigger worries for pregnant women and children 
Capital News Service
December 2019

UMSON News Releases:

Sustainability-Focused Living Green Wall Takes Root at UMSON
February 8, 2023

Connecting the Dots
May 2021

$500,000 Gift to Continue Work of UMSON's Community and Public Health Environmental Initiative
August 28, 2019

On the Front Lines of Climate Change
May 2018

University of Maryland School of Nursing Accepted to Maryland Green Registry
February 8, 2018

University of Maryland School of Nursing Receives $750,000 Gift from Alumna Mary Catherine Bunting
March 1, 2016

University of Maryland School of Nursing Joins Global Health Educators Climate Commitment
December 4, 2015

White House Invites University of Maryland School of Nursing Dean Kirschling to Discuss Climate Change
April 10, 2015

Learn more about how the University of Maryland, Baltimore is working toward a sustainable future.