Campus to Camps: Fostering Sustainable Partnerships

In the Spring of 2023, a group of students at NCSU participated in the pilot program of the Campus to Camps to work with a local camp and help them go green by completing a certification program launched by the nonprofit organization, Green Camps. 

The objective of the certification program is to help camps establish a framework for what sustainability means and looks like to each unique organization.  As a result, camps will establish a culture of sustainability and build buy-in from campers, staff, and the community.     

The pilot program was a great success and we’re excited to expand the program to help connect more college students passionate about sustainable development with local camps.  

Campus to Camp pairs university student groups to a local camp to complete the Green Camps Certification Program.

As a result, camps will establish a culture of sustainability and build buy-in from campers, staff and community. Student groups and their camp partner will utilize the Green Camps Community, an online portal that provides access to the tools and data collection to facilitate the process of completing certification.

Real World Experience

This real-world experience will give students the chance to transfer their skills and knowledge as an environmental professional with the camp their group is paired with.

The Process

Student groups will facilitate the 5 steps developed by green camps. Students will lead and manage the collaborative process of completing a needs assessment, establishing a green team, building a sustainability plan, proposing a green action plan, and then sharing their findings and recommendations with their class and the camp organization.

Program Outline:

  •       Camp sends out invitations to host introductory Green Team Meeting
  •       Camp completes the Green Needs Assessment
  •       University Student Group conducts introductory Zoom meeting with Green Camps Staff
  •       Student Group Reviews Green Needs Assessment Results
  •       Student Group Hosts first Green Team Meeting with Green Camps Staff (Zoom or in-person)
  •       Student Group visits camp to conduct a site visit with the green team
  •       Student Group creates initial proposals for a sustainability plan
  •       The proposal is reviewed and feedback is submitted to create the final deliverable.

Inquiry Form

NCSU Student presentation for keystone project with Camp Kanata


Green Camps is leveraging research to help us better understand how our organization can best support camps in modeling sustainability to inspire green behavior change in the millions of youth and adults impacted by the camp experience.

Students will be helping collect and analyze data which will be a huge support in expanding our research efforts.


Our study explored current environmental sustainability practices of U.S. camps as well as the motivations and barriers influencing integration of sustainable operational approaches. Using a web survey of camp organizations in Spring 2021, we identified participation in sustainable actions across five broad categories: waste management, sustainability education and communication, natural resource and wildlife conservation, energy and water consumption, and purchasing and procurement. Many camp organizations already engaged in sustainable practices—especially with respect to waste management and sustainability education—but almost all camps wanted to do more. Camp organizations placed higher priority on environmental and social motivations for sustainability than economic reasons. The largest perceived barrier to sustainability was inadequate financial and/or technological resources, though lack of awareness and capacity-building assistance were also constraints. Results highlight strong interest in sustainability across the camp industry and reveal multiple ways to realize that potential.

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