STARS Blog: Advancing Sustainability during the Summer Transition
Today more than ever, summer is a season of intense transition and opportunity at colleges and universities – an ideal time for advancing campus sustainability. While a new cohort of graduates prepare for what lies ahead, other students are gearing up for internships, immersive experiences, and other enrichment activities. Reduced occupancy and usage at some institutions often result in condensed work schedules and adjusted energy management strategies. At other institutions, occupancy and usage remain high as facilities are converted for hosting summer camps and service groups. Regardless of the institution type, it is important to evaluate sustainability during such periods of transition. June’s STARS blog focuses on credits within STARS that are especially relevant at this point in the academic year.
PAE Tier Two Credit 10: Graduation Pledge
Graduates from higher education are increasingly pledging to consider social and environmental responsibility in future decisions. For PAE Tier Two Credit 10: Graduation Pledge, institutions earn .25 points for administering a graduation pledge that encourages students to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions. 21% of STARS-Rated institutions have administered a graduation pledge.
|DePaul University Pledge of Social Responsibility|
|“Our vigilant attention to the common good, to the betterment of our world, and to the sacred dignity of all people, especially the poor and the marginalized, is central to the full expression and realization of DePaul’s Catholic, Vincentian and urban mission. In other words, we have a commitment to social responsibility which is deeply rooted in our Vincentian heritage and values.” - DePaul University (STARS Reporter, March 2012)|
ER 12: Sustainability Immersive Experience
Summer is an ideal time for institutions to offer sustainability immersive experience programs. Such programs give students the opportunity to witness and learn in-depth about sustainability challenges and solutions, while providing a memorable way for students to deepen and expand their knowledge. For ER 12: Sustainability Immersive Experience, institutions earn two points for offering a sustainability immersive experience. Through summer 2012, 87% of STARS-Rated institutions offered at least one such program.
|The Morven Summer Institute at the University of Virginia|
|UVA’s Morven Summer Institute is an intensive summer academic program rooted in interdisciplinary place-based learning. The Summer Institute is a collaborative institute involving faculty from UVA's School of Architecture, College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Office of Summer and Special Academic Programs. The institute is designed for people with interests in sustainability, design, food systems, and ecology. - University of Virginia (STARS Silver, February 2012)|
OP Tier Two Credit 30: Condensed Work Week
Among STARS-Rated institutions, condensed work week schedules are most common during the summer months. For OP Tier Two Credit 30: Condensed Work Week, institutions earn .25 points for offering a condensed work week option for employees. Working four 10-hour days is the most common condensed work week option among STARS-Rated Institutions. 68% of STARS-Rated institutions offer a condensed work week option for employees.
OP Tier Two Credit 43: Move-out Waste Reduction
Institutions typically experience an influx of waste at the end of the academic year as a result of student move-out. For OP Tier Two Credit 43: Move-out Waste Reduction, institutions earn .25 points for having programs to reduce residence hall move-out waste. Through summer 2012, 73% of STARS-Rated institutions have implemented such programs. Institutions have cited the following initiatives for reducing waste during move-out:
- Donation drives for gently-used items
- Swap programs and sales
- Targeted recycling campaigns
- Increased communication of re-use and recycling options
|4-Step Process to Reduce Move-out Waste|
|1. Student Swap Meet|
|2. Donation for Re-use|
|4. As a Last Resort...Disposal|
|- California State University Channel Islands (STARS Silver, June 2011)|
The STARS team would love to hear readers’ feedback on advancing sustainability during the summer months (or any other season!) Please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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