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-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Dennis Carlberg
Associate Vice President for Sustainability
BU Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “supportive”?:

A brief description of the institution’s supportive sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

Every year since 1982, BU has partnered with Oxfam to help fight poverty, hunger, and injustice. We raise contributions through “student fast” programs in which BU students volunteer to skip two residence hall meals on designated days, with the cost savings donated to Oxfam.

Boston University School of Social Work partners with City Year, offering a 100% tuition scholarship for up to one City Year corps member, alumna/us or staff member per year or 50% tuition scholarship for up to two City Year corps members, alumna/us or staff members per year. City Year is an organization that works to bridge the gap in high-poverty communities between the support students in the communities actually need, and what their schools are designed to provide. In doing so, their model is designed to support students as they progress from elementary through high school in order to continue to build the nation's urban graduation pipeline.

Each September and April sustainability@BU hosts sustainability festivals on both campuses. City sustainability-related departments and organizations are invited to participate in some or all of these events including Greenovate Boston, Hubway Bike Share, police bicycle units from cities and towns throughout the Greater Boston area, the Green Streets Initiative, and many more. These events bring members of these organizations together helping to build a more cohesive network for sustainability in the community and on campus.

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “collaborative”?:

A brief description of the institution's collaborative sustainability partnership(s):

Boston University hosted three events for the Green Ribbon Commission Renewable Energy Purchasing Network in 2015 and 2016 to explore opportunities for large-scale renewable energy development and power purchase agreements.

Boston University has hosted three conferences in the Green Ribbon Commission’s Climate Finance Series for provisioning energy efficiency from February 2015 thorough November 2016. These conferences focused on bankable finance structures and investment opportunities in energy efficiency. They included discussions across a range of financing issues from of project finance through investor confidence levels in energy efficiency project returns. They also featured the development of the Renew Boston Trust, Boston’s initiative to create more sustainable models of energy efficiency and resilient infrastructure finance.

Boston University is part of Step UP - a program created by former longtime Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino in 2006 - and is one of the five local universities assisting ten public schools struggling to meet the goals of the federal No Child Left Behind act. BU School of Education works closely with staff from the two lowest performers at the time -the Trotter and the English High School of Boston, to developed courses that place elementary education undergraduates in the public school’s reading, writing, and science classes at several grade levels. Step UP provides specific programs and initiatives in response to needs identified by these partner schools and ensures that all support is aligned with the curricular goals of the Boston Public Schools and the Massachusetts Department of Education. To help find solutions to the complex issues facing schools, Step UP is taking a multifaceted approach that includes academic support for schools, quality extended learning opportunities, health and wellness programs, as well as parent and community engagement.

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “transformative”?:

A brief description of the institution's transformative sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

President Brown is a member and active participant in the Mayor of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission, a 34-member organization comprised of a diverse set of business and civic leaders with a shared desire to make Boston a national leader in the green economy and the fight against global climate change. Dr. Brown also serves on the Carbon Free Boston Task Force. As part of this initiative, Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy is taking the lead on the modeling for this initiative. The Green Ribbon Commission and the City of Boston are preparing to revisit the City’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by the year 2050. The Commission has engaged the Institute to assist with scoping out the modeling and policy development needed for the updated study. We believe this work will lead to a state-of-the-art modeling approach that links policies, economics, and emissions more thoroughly than many urban climate plans.

Boston University Sustainability Director Carlberg participates the Higher Education Working Group. Members of the Higher Education group recently collaborated with the team focused on Health Care to work on a program destined to lower the emissions of high energy labs. Dennis helped to launch the Green Ribbon Commission’s Renewable Energy Purchasing Network which seeks to help GRC network participants advance their strategies for purchasing power with zero carbon content. The network meets regularly to share best practices among GRC network members. In 2016 this initiative produced two large scale power purchase agreements totaling more than 70 MW of new generation capacity.

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:

Many departments at Boston University engage in partnerships with distant communities. Below are some examples.

Since 2012, Boston University Marine Program in the College of Arts and Science is involved in a collaborative partnership to deal with the Impact of Dams and Climate Change on Ecosystem Services in Cambodia. Boston University's department of Biology partners with the MacArthur foundation to develop integrative models that will visualize the dynamics and trade-offs involved in using the various ecosystem services of the Lower Mekong, particularly the Great Lake Tonle Sap in Cambodia. BU researchers lead teams working on hydrology, food webs, fisheries, fish biology, agriculture, and species conservation, whose results help resource managers make informed decisions involving fisheries and hydropower development. In the past two years, the MacArthur Foundation has given out four grants to help Tonle Sap, the largest of which has gone to Boston University.

Since 2012 as well, Boston University partners with Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. BU Environmental Brigades in particular develops sustainable environmental solutions to mitigate ecological degradation in bio-rich, but economically disadvantaged communities in developing countries such as Panama. The program is coordinated by a student-elected executive board that coordinates with Boston University's Student Activities Office, which provides ongoing technical support. These volunteer projects occur yearly and spend approximately one week on the ground.

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:

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.