Live, Work and Play Sustainably

Florida International University is a global leader in research and advocacy for LIFE ON LAND. With a campus located at the edge of the Florida Everglades, 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 to reduce our ecological footprint.

Explore our sustainable practices

From sustainable farming to waste management, FIU is committed to creating a culture of environmental stewardship through best practices that are sustainable, econocially feasible and socially just.

Sustainable Food Sourcing

FIU's Panther Dining services focuses on responsible and sustainable practices in our supply chains, which includes buying locally sourced, sustainably farmed ingredients. As FIU's exclusive supplier of food services, Chartwells HIgher Ed also maintains stringent purchasing policies for sustainable food sources and is Seafood Watch-certified.

Learn about our food supplier's efforts

FIU Organic Garden

FIU's Agroecology Program manages an on-campus Organic Garden. Fruits and vegetables from this teaching facility are regularly made available to the university community as part of a campus Farmer's Market and special community dining events. In addition to the vegetable beds, the garden includes a shade house, herb garden, fruit grove, meditation garden, composting, biofuels and aquaponics.

Learn more about Agroecology at FIU

Plastics Reduction

FIU's Panther Dining maintains high sustainability standards including a policy to reduce single-use plastics. 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.

Learn about reducing plastics on campus

Managing Campus Waste

FIU's Environmental Management Policy calls on each member of the FIU community to minimize the generation and disposal of solid waste by recycling and reusing resources. The policy also calls for the minimization of polluting noises, odors, wastewater and emissions to air, soil and water.

Read FIU's Recycling and Solid Waste Management plan

Ecosystem and Biodiversity Preservation

FIU maintains strict standards for protecting ecosystems and their biodiversity on campus. This includes compliance with all federal, state and local environmental laws. Visit the Ecosystems and Biodiversity section on this page to learn more about how we manage ecosystems, protect species and mitigate exotic, invasive species.

recycle-logo.png Recycling at FIU

FIU features more than 5,000 recycle bins on our campuses to promote waste reduction at the university. The bins are even made with recycled materials.

Custodial Services:

  • uses biodegradable or recycled trash bags

  • distributes recycled paper products that are manufactured by environmentally friendly processes

  • cleans with green cleaning products

FIU's graduation gowns are made from recycled plastic water bottles.

FIU's main dining venue — 8th Street Campus Kitchen — sends organic waste to an on-campus composting facility, investing in nature's way of recycling and keeping that waste out of landfills.

Explore how FIU preserves campus ecosystems and biodiversity

Located in the subtopics and on the edge of the Florida Everglades, Florida International University has incorporated environmental stewardship into daily university life since its opening in 1972. In every campus planning document, FIU has included a Conservation Element or similar policy requiring responsible planning to maintain natural ecosystems and the plants and animals they support.

FIU is a Wildlife Sanctuary

FIU's Modesto A. Maidique Campus is designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary by Audubon Florida. All campus vegetative communities that serve as wildlife habitats are protected under the Wildlife Sanctuary agreement.

Ecosystem protective measures can be found in FIU's Campus Master Plan

Protected Species

FIU monitors and maintains an inventory of 122 animal and 289 plant species found on our campuses as well as their conservation statuses as designated by CITES, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. FIU maintains policies guiding environmental management including the 13 plant species and 5 animal species listed as near threatened, vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. 

Plant and animal inventories can be found in FIU's Campus Master Plan

Land-Use Planning for Biodiversity

The Future Land Use Element in FIU's Campus Master Plan includes conservation areas as part of the planning and development process for the entire university. Per the Campus Master Plan, conservation areas on our campuses must be preserved and managed to protect plant and animal species, wildlife habitats, heritage trees, natural features and more. 

Biodiversity planning can be found in the Conservation Areas section of the Future Land Use Element

FIU is a Tree Campus USA

Florida International University is the first university in Florida to earn the Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation for our preservation and management of trees on campus. As a proud member, we engage our students in service learning and reach beyond campus borders to connect with the community to foster healthy, urban forests.

Learn more about FIU's trees

Nature Preserve

FIU features an 11-acre Nature Preserve that has been designated as an on-campus botanical and wildlife area. Three distinct ecosystems within the preserve provide habitat for 266 species of wildlife that call our preserve home. There is also an organic fruit and vegetable garden that attracts people and pollinators alike.

Learn more about the Nature Preserve

Butterfly Gardens

On FIU's campuses, butterfly gardens provide refuge, sustenance and and place to lay eggs for the important pollinators. Many of the gardens have been planted with the help of community volunteers and attract a variety of species including queens and sulphurs as well as IUCN Red Listed monarchs and Schaus swallowtails and Florida-protected atala butterflies.

Learn more about butterfly garden plantings


FIU features one of the largest university collections of palm trees in the United States. What began as a reforestation effort after Hurricane Andrew has grown into a showcase of the great diversity that exists within the palm family. More than 60 species are featured on campus, including protected species, along with educational signage throughout.

Learn about the Palmetum's history

Mangrove Forest

FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus is surrounded by mangrove forests on the north, northeast, and west, and the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve on the south and southeast. For more than a decade, FIU has led the Adopt a Mangrove initiative, planting thousands of mangroves here and throughout South Florida. Currently, five species of mangroves reside along our campus.

Learn about Adopt a Mangrove

Removing Invasive Species on Biscayne Bay Campus

FIU has an ongoing program for removal of invasive vegetation, with a particular focus on BBC's mangrove forest. Exotic plant removal (i.e., Brazilian pepper, Australian pine) has led to a decrease in forested areas with a concurrent increase in grassland. There is a net increase in this habitat type, which benefits the native wildlife.

Information regarding FIU's policy for exotic species removal for BBC can be found in Sections 5 and 13 of the Conservation Element 

Removing Invasive Species on Modesto A. Maidique Campus

FIU has an ongoing program for removal of invasive vegetation, with a particular focus on MMC's wetland areas and the Nature Preserve. FIU Facilities manages the removal process as well as planting of native vegetation to replace the exotic species.

Information regarding FIU's policy for exotic species removal for MMC can be found in Section 13 of the Conservation Element 

International Center for Tropical Botany at The Kampong

The FIU International Center for Tropical Botany is a research and education center focused on preservation of tree canopies, improving pollination, combatting plant extinction and more. The center is surrounded by a living laboratory of native plants and is adjacent to The Kampong, historic home of famed plant explorer David Fairchild and a national tropical botanical garden operated in collaboration with FIU.

Learn more about ICTB

Florida Everglades

Among many local initiatives, FIU leads the longest-running National Science Foundation-supported research and data-collection program focused on the Florida Everglades. This network of universities, government agencies and other partners has led to groundbreaking research and key discoveries to restore this iconic and imperiled ecosystem including its biodiversity.

Learn more about FIU and the Everglades

Did you know?

The Atala butterfly (Eumaeus atala), once thought extinct, is staging a comeback. You can find its sole host plants — coontie (Zamia integrifolia) — among the butterfly gardens on FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus. Keep an eye out, and you might spot one of these endangered butterflies who frequent our gardens.

Removing Invasive Species

FIU has an ongoing program for removal of invasive species vegetation, with a particular focus on wetland areas on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus and the mangrove forest on the Biscayne Bay Campus. FIU Facilities manages the removal process as well as planting of native vegetation to replace the exotic and alien species. Improved habitats benefitting native wildlife has been documented since the exotic species removal program began in the mid-1990s.

Information regarding FIU's policy for exotic species removal can be found in Sections 5 and 13 of the FIU Conservation Element

  • Environmental Management Policy

    FIU recognizes environmental protection is the responsibility of the entire university community and our Environmental Management Policy directs us to develop and implement operational procedures that align with a series of objectives including best practices for waste disposal. The policy was first implemented in 2006 and most recently updated in 2021.

  • Hazardous Waste Management

    Researchers, lab managers and supporting staff are provided training to maintain a safe work environment that protects people and the environment. A team 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 and more.

    FIU Hazardous Waste Management Plan

FIU Environmental Management Objectives

  • Minimize energy and water use through efficient management and practices.
  • Minimize generation and disposal of solid and hazardous waste by recycling and reusing resources.
  • Minimize polluting noises, odors, wastewater and emissions to air, soil and water.
  • Minimize and prevent storm water pollution.
  • Minimize or eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals and toxic cleaning and maintenance products if appropriate substitutes are available.
  • Ensure all waste generated are disposed of in accordance with regulatory and university requirements.
  • Meet all applicable environmental standards and regulations.
  • Encourage suppliers and contractors to adopt environmental standards.
  • Initiate and maintain environmental awareness programs.
  • Promote efficient use of energy in an economical and environmentally sound manner.
  • Encourage representation on local environmental planning workgroups and conservation initiatives.