Living Communities

While there are many ways for students to get involved in sustainability at DU, some may seek a fully immersive experience. For those students who are looking for a particularly targeted experience living a sustainable life, there are several opportunities to live in on-campus communities dedicated to living intentionally and learning about their place in Denver’s sustainability movement.

Environmental Sustainability Living & Learning Community

For First Year Students; Housed in Johnson McFarland

The Living and Learning Communities (LLCs) at DU provide a unique experience for students to tie together academic, residential and community-building opportunities. Students participating in an LLC live on the same floor of a residence hall together, take one class per quarter together and participate in field trips, retreats and other community-building activities throughout their first year at DU. There are five different themes for the LLCs, including Environmental Sustainability (ES).

The ES LLC provides space for incoming freshmen to explore and strengthen their passion for protecting our open spaces and creating a more sustainable community. With 22 students living in Johnson McFarland every year, the ES LLC is a great place for first year students to find others that share their passion and enthusiasm for the environment, sustainability and spending time outside. 

Learn More & Apply

I originally joined the ESLLC because I am passionate about sustainability and I wanted to live and learn with fellow students who care. The ESLLC has connected me with a wonderful group of people, and though we have some commonalities, we also differ in many ways. I don't know what my first year would be like without our caring group of friends in the LLC. I also love the ESLLC because of the foot in the door it has provided me with various research positions as well as job possibilities through connections for the future. On a personal note, being in the ESLLC has helped me on my personal path of sustainability by opening my eyes to ways of living more sustainability and understanding how much sustainability encompasses.

Cassidy Bromka, ESLLC 2019-2020

When I was applying for colleges, DU was at the top of my list because of the ESLLC. I was, and still am, passionate about sustainability, and I had a strong desire to go somewhere with like-minded people. The ESLLC was great! We got to go on fascinating field trips on topics ranging anywhere from urban planning to geologic processes. All these experiences in and out of the classroom really expanded my mind, allowing me to sample many areas of sustainability and environmental science, and figure out which topic I enjoyed the most and solidify my majors in geography and psychology. The LLC helped me meet my best friend and roommate for our entire time at DU, land a meaningful job at the Center for Sustainability and prepare for a career after my time at DU.

Kirsten Toft, ESLLC 2015-2016

Urban Sustainability Themed Living Community

For first year students in the Dimond Residential Village

In Colorado and Denver, we are known for our sustainability efforts, a focus on the outdoors, and a high quality of life. In our city we are seeking vibrant solutions to create a thriving future for all through local food systems, mobility innovations, air quality improvements, urban planning, energy efficient design, climate action, and environmental justice. Sustainability efforts in the urban context are complex as development, growth, environmental concerns, and racial and economic disparities intersect on our streets and in our neighborhoods. Equity, environmental justice, and climate justice are all key issues shaping Denver’s future, with increased focus on incorporating the voices and wisdom from historically underrepresented communities in decision-making processes and in the larger sustainability movement. This themed living community will explore these issues in the city and in ourselves. A commitment to living sustainably will help you view your personal choices through a social justice lens and gain a better understanding of community impact. This community experience includes a two-credit course in the fall to learn from campus experts, and a two-credit internship in the spring as credit for deep experiential learning opportunities through partnerships with social justice and sustainability organizations across Denver. Both courses are in Geography and will count towards the sustainability minor. We invite you to join our living community, help create a supportive and dynamic group of fellow first years, and to commit to a more just and sustainable future as we practice living and learning together.   

Interested? Apply Here

Coming Soon: Solar Decathlon House

For fourth year students, housed in the Solar Decathlon Bungalow

The Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition hosted by the US Department of Energy for teams of students, faculty and staff to design and build the most innovative and remarkable net-zero (zero carbon emissions) houses for display and eventual use. The competition takes teams through 10 different home challenges, from using recycled materials to hosting a local and sustainable dinner party in the freshly built house.

In 2018, the University of Denver competed as part of a joint team with UC Berkeley, and in 2020, DU is competing on its own team. The 2020 competition also includes a “build-in-place” challenge, which has teams renovating and retrofitting an existing building, rather than building their house from the ground up. DU’s team chose an old bungalow located near the south side of campus to be the site of their build-in-place home, and will include all-new furnishings (largely reclaimed and recycled), solar panels, a garden, bike parking and countless other sustainable features.

But when the competition is all said and done, what is to happen to the Solar Decathlon Bungalow? Starting in the next year, we hope to offer the house as a rental to a small community of dedicated fourth-year students, who would commit to continue running the house as a net-zero, zero-waste, intentional community home. 

Check back for more information about how you could apply to live in this amazing space and get a fully immersive sustainable experience.