Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 55.58
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date April 26, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Boston University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Dennis Carlberg
Associate Vice President for Sustainability
BU Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that fall into the following categories?:
Yes or No
Active student groups focused on sustainability Yes
Gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems Yes
Student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes Yes
Sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills No
Conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles Yes
Sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences Yes
Programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills Yes
Sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution Yes
Graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions No
Other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives ---

The name and a brief description of each student group focused on sustainability:

With 26 student-governed campus community groups related to sustainability at Boston University, students can find many opportunities to get involved with sustainability that are unique to their set of interests. Three of these groups are directly focused on sustainability.

The Environmental Student Organization strives to raise environmental awareness and create beneficial environmental change on campus as well as in the surrounding Boston community through outreach campaigns and community service.


The BU Energy Club is a broad-based group consisting of graduates, undergrads, alumni and professors that serves as a link between scientists and engineers, entrepreneurs and business-persons, and aspiring policy-makers & government officials at Boston University and other schools in the Greater Boston Area. They aim to synthesize energy-related ideas from a multi-disciplinary stream of educational and professional sources to advance understanding of energy and its role within society, industry, technology and policy through empirical, objective energy related education and outreach.


The US Green Building Council Student Group (USGBC Students) recruits, connects and equips the next generation of green building leaders by empowering them to transform their campuses, communities and careers. USGBC Students at Boston University allows both graduate and undergraduate students to contribute to BU’s mission to encourage sustainable construction and renovation building projects. Members also get great benefits such as reduced student rates for LEED AP certification, networking and career support, seminars, and campaign resources.


Run by BU students, The Advocates for Literacy in Environmental Sciences (ALES) provides a forum-style environment through which graduate students gain a holistic, scientifically literate understanding of policy-relevant environmental research by interpreting it, analyzing and improving communications, and developing the research itself. ALES addresses environmental issues from a highly rigorous scientific perspective.


Branch Out is a service-focused student organization that works with conservation groups, community centers, and urban gardens of the greater Boston area to provide Boston citizens with better access to green space, environmental education, and healthy, sustainable food. Along with one-time events, Branch Out offers weekly service opportunities.


A student-run organization, BU Beekeeping is committed to the preservation of bees, a species whose role is vital to Earth's ecosystem. In this organization, students engage in hands-on learning and discussion centered around active beekeeping.


Centered around advocacy, BU Bikes is a student-run organization that strives to make biking more accessible to students. By educating students, offering safety resources, and coordinating group rides, BU Bikes promotes bike riding as a sustainable, healthy, and fun means of transportation around BU's campuses and Boston itself.


Engineers without Borders (EWB), composed of mostly BU engineering students, works with developing communities to design and enact sustainable engineering projects that enrich local life and foster responsible leadership within said communities.


The BU Environmental and Energy Law Society (EELS) is a group run by graduate students that coordinates lectures, seminars, and field trips to raise students' awareness of environmental legal issues. The organization also provides students with networking opportunities in the environmental law sector.


FeelGood BU, a non-profit food service and event planning business, raises money for CHOICE Humanitarian with the mission of ending extreme poverty by the year 2030 as well as ending general suffering, hunger, and gender discrimination. FeelGood is an outside organization with a chapter at BU, employing students once a week to raise funds by selling grilled cheese sandwiches to BU's student body.


The Boston University Geological Society (BUGS) is a group of students that organizes and sponsors activities for rock and geology aficionados. Excursions include hikes, camping events, movie-screenings, and other educational events. BUGS also organizes frequent fundraising events, sports teams, external lectures, and career information seminars.


Global Brigades is a national non-profit with a chapter at BU. Through international service trips, the organization empowers university volunteers and under-resourced communities to work together to "resolve global health and economic disparities and inspire all involved to collaboratively work towards an equal world."


Global Environmental Brigades (GEB), a subset of the national non-profit Global Brigades, creates strategies to address the socio-economic challenges that relate to resource depletion. GEB develops sustainable environmental solutions to issues of environmental degradation in regions like Panama that have high biodiversity but are economically disadvantaged.


BU's Global Water Brigades (GWB) works as part of a national non-profit group that improves the health and well-being of communities in Honduras by implementing sustainable clean water systems in local communities.


BU’s Marine Science Association (MSA) brings together students to discuss marine related topics and volunteer around the Boston area. MSA creates a community for marine science majors and marine science enthusiasts on campus.


BU's Net Impact Grad is part of an international network of MBA students and business professionals who seek to use business to improve the world through responsible management and sustainable practices. The BU chapter includes members from all business disciplines who are pursuing interests in the fields of corporate social responsibility, socially responsible investing, microfinance, nonprofit management, international development, government, and environmental sustainability.


The BU Net Impact Undergrad Chapter is part of a global membership connecting students with professionals using business skills and resources to make a positive impact on society and the environment. During the year Net Impact hosts educational events, on- and off-campus initiatives, volunteer work, and networking opportunities. The group hopes to inspire and prepare future leaders to act responsibly and recognize their impact on society and the environment.


BU Outing Club (BUOC) is a student-run organization dedicated to taking people out of the city and into the wilderness--whether hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, snow tubing, biking or rock climbing. BUOC promotes an appreciation for the natural environment through outdoor recreation.


The Public Interest Project is a student-run organization formed to provide grants to students who accepted unpaid policy related summer internships with non-profits, public interest, or government organizations. PIP raises grant money through programs such as the Auction Gala, LSTAR, Salary for a Day, the Beantown Shootout, and through donations from alumni and law firms.


Student Food Rescue, a nation-wide student-run food salvage program, enlists BU student volunteers to collect over 5000 pounds of donated food from bakeries, groceries, local farmers markets, and restaurants and bring it to over 20 donation sites around the Greater Boston Area every day of the week. SFR also hosts other one-time events throughout the school year, such as Hunger Awareness Week in the fall. Student Food Rescue has become an integral part of the Community Service Center at BU since 1988.


Students for a Just and Stable Future (SJSF) is a network of Boston University students and alumni committed to climate and social justice. SJSF actively urges BU's administration to divest the university's endowment from fossil fuel companies.


A student-run organization, the Student Government Department of Environmental Affairs is responsible for advocating on all student issues of environmental safety and sustainability on BU’s campus. The department works with administration and other student organizations to improve university sustainability policies. In addition, this department works to ensure that Student Government functions in a sustainable manner, and conducts all business with environmental awareness and responsibility.


thECOlogy, a student-run group at BU, ties together theology with a mission to work towards ecological healing and justice and raise awareness about environmental and eco-justice issues. In addition to its regular meetings, thECOlogy conducts nationwide trips to participate in the fight for environmental equity and hosts educational film screenings.


BU Vegetarian Society aims to provide a space on campus for students to discuss the environmental and ethical impacts of animal agriculture, whether participants are vegetarian or not. The student-run organization hosts potlucks, weekly meetings, and educational film screenings with the intent of educating the BU community on the food industry.


The website URL where information about student groups is available:
A brief description of gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems:

The Boston University Greenhouse sits atop the Stone Science Center at the College of Arts and Sciences where it has been utilized and enjoyed in various capacities since the building's construction in 1930. The space is currently shared between the Environmental Student Organization (ESO), and a few faculty members of the Earth and Environment Department who incorporate hands-on greenhouse research into their coursework.

Plants are grown in a wide variety of containers, including a 4'x12' raised bed. Plants such as tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, corn, sunflowers, carrots, radishes, peppers, and various kinds of lettuce and herbs are grown and managed collectively by students during periodic workdays, with a schedule for regular weeding and watering. Several worm compost bins provide a nutritious and renewable soil amendment to supplement purchased organic potting soils and fertilizers. The Greenhouse also houses a small library and serves as a meeting place for other green groups on campus.

The website URL where information about the organic agriculture and/or sustainable food systems projects and initiatives is available:
A brief description of student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes:

sustainability@BU interns manage the Sustainability Help Desk, which promotes sustainability on campus while partnering with a local business. Two times a week, the Sustainability Help Desk gives students an opportunity to learn about recycling, with an emphasis on electronic waste management. It operates at high-traffic student areas in the George Sherman Union.

The website URL where information about the student-run enterprise(s) is available:
A brief description of the sustainable investment or finance initiatives:

The website URL where information about the sustainable investment or finance initiatives is available:

A brief description of conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

Throughout the year BU hosts many sustainable events on campus; these include guest speakers discussing issues ranging from plastics in the environment and renewable energy to global climate change. The annual sustainability@BU Festival and Earth Day celebrations showcase sustainability related student organizations as well as local groups not affiliated with BU that are actively promoting a broad range of sustainable activities. The following is a list of some of the events held on campus that engage the Boston University community:
Earth Week
Earth Day
sustainability@BU Festival (Charles River Campus & Medical Campus)
EcoRep Symposium

The website URL where information about the event(s) is available:
A brief description of cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

In 2013, from January through April, BU hosted Alternative Visions/Sustainable Future, a cross-disciplinary and collaborative project that responds to current environmental issues and the potential to affect change through critical dialogue and innovative practices. Encompassing a large-scale exhibition in Boston University’s 808 Gallery that served as the project’s hub to convene events, lectures, student-driven educational forums, and community outreach, BU students were able to learn from artists that support and promote sustainability in their work such as Chris Jordan, Andrea Zittel and Amy Franceschini. In 2014, Boston University is hosting exhibitions by Cullen Washington Jr., as well as Shannon Cochrane & Márcio Carvalho, who all use recycling as their primary source of material, addressing the topic of material production and accumulation. Additionally, sustainability@BU and BU Arts Initiative partnered during the Spring 2014 semester to host a Sustainable Art Contest as part of the Earth Day Festival.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts event(s) is available:
A brief description of wilderness or outdoors programs for students that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The BU Outing Club (BUOC) is a student-led organization that plans dozens of outdoor events throughout the year including hiking, biking, backpacking, cross-country skiing, canoeing and more. Their mission is to promote an appreciation for the natural environment through outdoor recreational activities.

The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

The First-Year Student Outreach Project (FYSOP) offers incoming Boston University students a unique opportunity to get settled in their new community by performing a week of community service before classes begin. A focus on the environment is one of the service options available to applicants of the program. Students in the environment FYSOP group explore how environmental degradation impacts people and communities, and then use what they have learned to take positive actions through community service in the Boston community. The program aims to educate first-years and staff about the environment and to empower them to enact meaningful change.

The website URL where information about the theme is available:
A brief description of program(s) through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The School of Education’s Pickering Library recently opened the Sustainability Resources Center, a collaboration between the library and sedGreen. The Center, which also serves as a Green Meeting space, features a conference table, curricula, books, films, DVDs with a player and monitor, Kill-o-Watt meters, and other materials that will help the University become more earth systems literate and effective when teaching how to build a healthier, sustainable planet.

The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-focused student employment opportunities:

sustainability@BU employs students from the University to develop, promote and implement sustainable practices throughout the University. The student interns work with the Sustainability Director and Assistant Director, and collaborate with different organizations on campus throughout the year. Ranging from graphic design and metrics analysis to outreach and STARS coordination, sustainability@BU offers its interns professional experience and responsibilities in sustainable development.

The First-Year Student Outreach Project, which offers a focus on the environment, also hires students as group coordinators.

Branch Out, a BU organization that connects students with opportunities to learn about and be stewards of Boston’s urban ecosystem, employs a student to be their program manager.

The Resident Assistant of the Earth House, a BU specialty community residence, is hired by the University to support its residents who share a passion for the environment and an interest in exploring areas such as climate change, biodiversity, renewable energy, and environmental policy, as well as to promote sustainability and sustainable actions on campus.

The website URL where information about the student employment opportuntities is available:
A brief description of graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions:

The website URL where information about the graduation pledge program is available:

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.