Sustainability on the Hilltop

Sustainability on the Hilltop

By focusing sustainability, we can help create a better future for everyone.
At. St. George’s, stewarding our environment has been intrinsic to campus life since the school’s move to our majestic Hilltop home in 1901 — our sweeping view to the Atlantic Ocean a constant reminder of both the beauty and fragility of our natural landscape.

Today, sustainable practices remain fully embedded in our daily operations — from our energy-efficient, LEED-certified facilities and use of renewable energy to our waste-reduction programs and unique green spaces. In addition — capitalizing on our location next to the ocean — environmental education is integrated into our interdisciplinary academic program, which features signature courses in marine biology as well as marine science, taught aboard our 70-foot sailing school vessel, Geronimo.

Through such ongoing care for our campus and curriculum development, St. George’s hope is to instill in our students a thoughtful understanding of ecological responsibility and to cultivate a generation of environmentally conscious leaders who will contribute to a more sustainable and well-cared-for world.
Students in the Rios Conservatory


Newer buildings were built to achieve LEED Gold status, which takes into account site development, rainwater management, heat-island and light-pollution reduction, water efficiency, water and energy metering, materials and resources, and indoor air quality. The buildings feature solar hot water and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, gray-water conservation, and solar panels. A geothermal system heats and cools the Rios Conservatory in the Academic Center. Sensors automatically turn off lights or lower interior lighting in response to outdoor light availability, and touchless, sensor-activated water bottle fillers are available around campus. Fun fact: The Field House roof is completely white to reflect sunlight!


Landscaping on the St. George's campus is designed to reflect and highlight all of the seasons of the year. Turfgrass is specifically drought tolerant and disease and insect resistant to reduce the use of pesticides. New, native trees on Main Drive were placed farther off the road to limit the impact of runoff on them, particularly from salt used to treat the road in winter. The Grounds Department uses ice-melt products that are pet and environmentally friendly. The department has also been exploring the use of small, battery powered equipment to reduce our carbon emissions and expanding our use of organic fertilizers and other sustainable products.

A view of the school from Second Beach

King Hall

Our dining services provider, SAGE, partners with local and regional distributors to obtain seasonal and specialty products, such as locally grown produce, cage-free, Certified Humane® shell eggs, house-roasted meats, and RBST-free milk. King Hall recycles materials, including cooking oil, and composts kitchen scraps. The dining hall is outfitted with ENERGY STAR certified appliances, condiment pumps rather than packets, trayless dining and biodegradable to-go containers. Students may enjoy vegan and vegetarian offerings.

Waste and Recycling

Single-stream recycling bins around campus are labeled with clear informational signage and lined with clear bags meant for recycling clean glass, aluminum, plastic containers, paper and cardboard. Other disposables are placed in campus trash bins, which are lined with black bags for easy identification at the sorting stage of the waste stream. 

Student Life

The St. George's Swap Shop is a free community space where students exchange gently used school supplies and items throughout the year. It is also a space for used books, battery recycling, clothing donation, and Sustainability Board meetings. Other ways students get involved in sustainability initiatives include joining a club such as the Sustainability, Plant, Hydroponics or Beekeeping clubs; participating in an environmental-focused afternoon activity, such as Marine Biology or Surfing and Leadership; taking STEM courses; and sailing aboard Geronimo. The STEM Department hosts Brown Bag lunches featuring guest speakers on a number of sustainability topics, and the Sustainability Club hosts events such as Green Week in the fall, pumpkin composting at Halloween, and Earth Week in the spring.

Beyond the Hilltop

Norman Bird Sanctuary, Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge, and Sachuest Beach are just down the street. There are also 30-plus rights-of-way in Newport and Middletown that offer free access to the coastline. Our annual Day of Engagement provides an opportunity for students to connect with nature, by participating in various outdoor service activities around Aquidneck Island.