STARS Blog: Sustainable Choices for Students in the Upcoming Academic Year
During the month of August, recent high school graduates across North America are completing final preparations for college and university life. New students face countless decisions, such as what to pack, what to buy, whether to bring a car, and how much to budget for the upcoming months. For all students, these important decisions will have a significant impact on the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of sustainability. The August STARS blog focuses on credits within STARS that relate to two important considerations for the upcoming academic year: limiting move-in waste and developing an understanding of student transportation options.
PAE Tier Two Credit 42: Move-in Waste
A significant amount of waste can be generated during residence hall move-in at the beginning of the academic year. For PAE Tier Two Credit 42: Move-in Waste, institutions with residence halls can earn .25 points for having programs in place that reduce move-in waste. 73% of STARS-Rated institutions currently have such a program.
|STARS Highlight: Move-in Waste Reduction|
|Brandeis University’s New Student Sustainability Tips webpage provides suggestions to students on ways to make sustainable choices when arriving on campus. The website includes a Pack Green list and coupons for energy-efficient products, and new students receive a welcome kit which includes an LED light bulb. Through the Give & Go project, items are collected at the end of the year and then resold at the "Move in Market" held in August and January. (Brandeis University, STARS Bronze, March 2011)|
OP 15: Student Commute Modal Split
Students preparing for college and university life make important decisions regarding transportation, including researching alternative transportation options and deciding whether to bring a vehicle to campus. Using alternative modes of transportation helps reduce local air pollution and GHG emissions, while walking and biking offer health benefits as well. OP 15: Student Commute Modal Split uses a common measure to recognize institutions where students use preferable modes of transportation to travel.
- At four-year STARS-rated institutions (which tend to be residential), 57% of students primarily use alternative forms of transportation for getting to and from campus.
- At two-year institutions (which tend to include more commuter students), 13% of students primarily use alternative forms of transportation.
Below is a breakdown of forms of transportation for four-year and two-year institutions:
|STARS Highlight: Student Commute Modal Split|
|Based on Portland State University’s most recent transportation survey, 44% of student trips are taken by public transportation while 27% of student trips are taken by foot, bike, or other non-motorized form of transportation. PSU has implemented a number of transportation planning and sustainability efforts to promote sustainable modes of transportation. The PSU Bike Hub supports bicycle commuting, providing students access to repair their own bikes, learn maintenance skills, and purchase parts and accessories at a discount. (Portland State University, STARS Gold, February 2011)|
OP Tier Two Transportation Credits
The table below outlines six transportation initiatives found in Tier 2 Transportation credits, separated by institution type:
|Transportation Tier 2 Credit||4-Year Institutions||2-Year Institutions|
|Tier2-1: Bicycle Sharing - Institutions have a bike-sharing program or participate in a local bike-sharing program||59.3%||3.8%|
|Tier2-3: Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan - Institutions have developed a plan to make the campus more bicycle and pedestrian friendly||60.5%||19.2%|
|Tier2-4: Mass Transit - Institutions offer free or reduced price transit passes and/or operate a free campus shuttle||91.4%||76.9%|
|Tier2-9: Carpool Discount - Institutions offer reduced parking fees for car and van poolers||36.3%||9.1%|
|Tier2-11: Prohibiting Idling - Institutions have adopted a policy prohibiting idling||44.5%||36%|
|Tier2-12: Car Sharing - Institutions participate in a car sharing program||59.3%||19.2%|
|STARS Highlight: Sustainable Transportation at a Two-Year Institution|
|At Red River College, 69% of students are using more sustainable commuting options as their primary mode of transportation to and from campus. Among its sustainable transportation initiatives, the institution participates in a carpool matching program and offers a discount on monthly transit passes for both students and employees. (Red River College, STARS Silver, April 2012)|
The STARS team would love to hear readers’ feedback on sustainable choices for students in the upcoming academic year. Please send your ideas to email@example.com.
Browse by Topic
- AASHE Biz
- Co-Curricular Education
- Community Engagement
- Connecting the Dots
- Dining Services
- Diversity, Access, and Affordability
- Faculty and Staff Development
- Government & Legislation
- Human Resources
- Presidents & Chancellors