Live, Work and Play Sustainably
Florida International University is a global leader in research and advocacy for LIFE BELOW WATER. With a campus located along Miami’s ecologically and economically essential Biscayne Bay, we recognize the need for living and working sustainably on campus as a university community.
Planning for a Sustainable Future
Florida International University has a deep responsibility to be good stewards of our resources: human, economic, and environmental. In the FIU Next Horizon Strategic Plan, we continue to strengthen our commitment to ensuring a sustainable future for our institution and the South Florida community. This includes sound strategies and university policies to protect, preserve and enhance our aquatic ecosystems.
Sustainable Food Policy
In 2018, FIU signed an exclusive, long-term contract with Chartwells Higher Ed for our Panther Dining services. Among its many sustainability initiatives, Chartwells is Seafood Watch-certified and maintains a purchasing policy to acquire seafood from sustainable sources. According to their most recent sustainability scorecard, at least 98 percent of all seafood served by Chartwells came from confirmed sustainable sources.
Florida International University requires all employees to comply with all federal, state and local laws and regulations including those pertaining to water quality standards, prevention of marine pollution and the prevention of altering aquatic ecosystems.
- U.S. Clean Water Act
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection
- Florida Water Conservation Act
- Miami-Dade County Environmental Resources Management
- FIU Environmental Health and Safety Policy
FIU's Department of Environmental Health and Safety is charged with ensuring university compliance with regulations, statutes, guidance and best management practices for environmental protection. The university’s current Environmental Management Policy was first implemented in 2006 and most recently updated in 2021.
The university community is also responsible for ensuring outside vendors and contractors uphold FIU’s environmental standards.
Water Quality Management
FIU maintains a zero tolerance policy for illicit discharge within the university. Our commitment is to prevent pollution of all kinds including marine pollution, whether working on campus, in the community, on the water or in the water.
FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus is located along Biscayne Bay and in close proximity to Oleta River. The bay and all natural waterways tidally connected to the bay have been designated as the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, a Miami-Dade County preserve and managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Hazardous Waste Management
Researchers, lab managers and supporting lab staff are provided training to maintain a safe work environment that protects people and the environment. A team of skilled professionals from FIU’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety provide guidance and oversight on the proper disposal of hazardous materials, research proposal safety reviews, hazard assessments, lab equipment certifications, development of specific laboratory safety programs, new lab walkthroughs/consultations and special hazard materials/equipment approvals.
Plastic Waste Reduction
FIU's Panther Dining maintains high sustainability standards including a policy to reduce single-use plastics and use of to-go containers made of recycled PET or fully recyclable materials. The university’s Plastics Reduction Taskforce worked with all campus food vendors to remove plastic straws, cup lids, and bags from the dining counters, only making them available upon request. This “Plastics If You Ask” initiative is the first step along a strategic pathway towards a plastic-free campus.
In addition, many campus drinking fountains have been updated with modern drinking stations that include a spout for filling reusable water bottles. These stations provide real-time data on a digital screen about the amount of plastic waste prevented with each fill-up and a sticker on the side detailing the energy and water efficiency of the fountains. So in addition to hydration, our efforts are also focused on reducing the use of single-use plastics on campus and improving overall efficiency.
Stormwater strategies for Watershed Management
FIU has implemented strategies to manage stormwater runoff which include education for employees and students, well-managed waste disposal programs, an easy-to-use system for reporting violations and suggestions, and more.
With a campus located along Biscayne Bay, we do more than just implement best practices to minimize impacts on our environment. At FIU, we lead initiatives to protect the bay and our scientists are collaborating with community and government partners to improve the resilience and sustainability of the bay.
Florida Keys and the Caribbean
FIU Aquarius includes a land-base facility in Islamorada, Florida and the world's only underwater research laboratory, which is located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. In addition to our efforts to protect the local environment where we work, our scientists are actively involved in ecosystem restoration and FIU is the main research partner for the federal sanctuary.