Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.10
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date June 9, 2023

STARS v2.2

Boston University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Lisa Tornatore
Sustainability Director
BU Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

BU Beekeeping
BUMC Climate Action Group* **
Cleantech Club
Emerald Review
Energy & Environmental Law Society*
Energy & Sustainability Club*
Engineers Without Borders
Environmental Affairs (Student Government)
Environmental Student Organization (ESO)
Epsilon Eta
FeelGood BU
Food Is Medicine Collective
Geological Society
Global Development Community
Global Environmental Brigades
Global Water Brigades
Marine Science Association
Net Impact Grad*
Net Impact Undergrad
Nutrition and Dietetics Club
Outdoor Club (BUSM)
Outing Club
Public Interest Project*
Student Food Rescue (SFR)
Student Government FEAST Committee
Student Nutrition Awareness and Action Council (SNAAC)**
Student PIRG (Public Interest Research Group)
Students of Color for Public Health (SPH grad)
Sustainable Ocean Alliance
The Urban Garden Initiative
Urban Planning Association*
Veg Club

* Open to grad students
** BUMC-focused groups

Descriptions are available in the additional documentation section.

More information:

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The Warren Towers Rooftop Mini-Garden sits atop Tower C of Warren Towers. The garden began as a Campus Climate Lab project in Summer 2021, with renewed funding for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022.

Plants including 10 varieties of tomatoes, 5 varieties of peppers, lettuces, root vegetables, and brassicas are grown by a group of volunteers in repurposed milk crates and distributed to the greater Boston University community for free. The garden promotes sustainable agriculture, creates a productive green space on campus, and engages the student community.


Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The Community Service Center (CSC) provides students with various student-led programs that helps enhance their leadership skills. One example is the Student Food Rescue program. Student Food Rescue gives BU Students the opportunity to learn, engage, and act towards achieving a more food-just society. Volunteers go on weekly food routes where they transport donated food from grocery stores, bakeries, and farmers' markets, and deliver them to our roster of community partners that include food pantries, homeless shelters, and low-income housing units. More information located at: https://www.bu.edu/csc/opportunities/programs/

BU Sustainability interns manage the Sustainability Help Desk, which promotes sustainability on campus and gives out free reusable bottles, mugs, and LED light bulbs to individuals who join the sustainability@BU app challenge. At least once a week, the Sustainability Help Desk gives students and staff an opportunity to learn about daily sustainable habits and University sustainability resources. It operates at high-traffic student areas in both the George Sherman Union and the School of Medicine lobby. This program took a recess from September 2020 to October 2021.

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

The BU MIINT (The MBA Impact Investing Network and Training) Program aids in thoroughly guiding students through an 8-step investment process: Investment Thesis + Sourcing Strategy, Final Sourcing List, Impact Analysis, Company Form, Due Diligence Plan, Investment Memo and Presentation Draft, Final Investment Memo, Final Investment Presentation. The program strives to replicate the operations of an early-stage venture capital fund by giving students the opportunity to work with a company of their choice as long as it meets the given criteria. As part of the criteria, students must choose a sustainability-related sector- Education, Public Safety, Financial Inclusion, Healthcare, Environment - that overall encompasses their project. BU is listed as a participant incorporated into the MIINT Program. More information located at: https://turnermiint.org/our-network/participants/

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

BU hosts many sustainable events on campus throughout the year. These include guest speakers discussing issues ranging from environmental policy and renewable energy to global climate change. The annual Sustainability Festival and Earth Day celebrations showcase sustainability-related student organizations and 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 virtually by BU Sustainability that engage the Boston University community:

Four-part online Environmental Justice Series:
- Exploring Environmental Justice: How Boston area leaders advance healthy, equitable communities.
- Exploring Environmental Justice: addressing food justice in the Boston area
- Exploring Environmental Justice: Youth Leadership in the Boston Area
- Exploring Environmental Justice: Energy Justice in the Boston Area
Starting Your Zero Waste Journey: Live Q&A

Institutes at BU, such as The Initiative on Cities (IOC), the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and the Institute for Global Sustainability (IGS) and schools such as the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies host many events throughout the year, including webinars and panels such as:
- Expanding Renewable Energy for Access and Development: The Role of Development Finance Institutions in Southern Africa (IGS)
- Can Cities Stop the Climate Crisis? (co-hosted by IOC and IGS)
- Energy of the Future: Enhancing Social Equity in City Climate Action and Sustainability Planning (IOC)
- How Do We Utilize Green Space in Cities to Combat Climate Change? (IOC)
- APA | Climate of Crisis: How Cities Can Use Climate Action to Close the Equity Gap, Drive Economic Recovery, and Improve Public Health (IGS)
- Facing the Realities of Climate Change (Pardee School)
- Future of Clean Energy Markets in the Wake of COVID-19 (Pardee Center)
- Future of Sustainable Development (Pardee Center)

More information located at:

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

On September 10, 2020, STH Faith and Ecological Justice Program hosted a discussion of the 2008 film The Garden, which documents the fight by the South Central Farmers against the LA City Council and other government authorities who attempt to evict the farmers from their 14-acre community garden and demolish the plot for development. https://www.bu.edu/arts/calendar/?eid=243789

The Arctic Environmental Humanities Workshop Series: hosted from September 2020 until November 2022 by The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies and the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge. Featured many intersections of art and the environment focused on the Arctic communities. They describe it as "a collaborative enterprise that is robustly interdisciplinary and brings together diverse expertise of humanistic scholars, artists, and researchers drawn from international circles. Presentations and conversations will take place in varied formats, all online and freely accessible to all those interested. The perspectives and participation of northern communities and people will be particularly valuable and encouraged." Some examples include:
- March 2, 2021- “Mediated Arctic: The Poetics and Politics of Contemporary Arctic Geographies” with Johannes Riquet, Liisa-Rávná Finbog, Markku Salmela, and Anna Westerstahl Stenport, The Mediated Arctic Geographies Project (Tampere University, Finland)
- January 28, 2021- “Ataramik (Always): A Conversation with Reneltta Arluk” with Reneltta Arluk (Inuvialuit, Dene, Cree) Director of Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Director, Akpik Theatre
- December 17, 2020- “Sumé: The Sound of a Revolution and Greenland Today” with Inuk Silis Høegh, Director of Sumé: The Sound of a Revolution
More information: https://www.bu.edu/pardee/research/the-arctic-environmental-humanities-workshop-series/

On March 4, 2021, the BU Faculty and Staff of Color Community Network hosted a webinar titled "Artist Talk – Wen-hao Tien: Home On Our Backs," which featured artist Wen-hao Tien, Wen-hao who finds herself leaving the studio "forage for materials and stories on community streets—which brought her to Boston Chinatown. She feels an urgency to interpret the shifting Chinatown cultural landscape, which has changed radically since she first encountered it in the 1990s." Her work weaves history and place with reused and upcycled found materials that become part of her art.

On March 31, 2022, BU Arts Initiative, BU Sustainability, and the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground hosted "Indigenous Perspectives on Sustainability and the Arts with JoAnn Chase," a live event, free and open to the public, that was also live-streamed. JoAnn Chase is the Director of the American Indian Environmental Office, Office of International and Tribal Affairs and the founder of SisterSMATR, and she has previously served as Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians, this country’s oldest and largest national Indian membership organization, and Director of the National Network of Grantmakers.
More information: https://www.bu.edu/arts/chase/

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

BU Fitness and Recreation Center and the BU Sailing Pavilion offer a course (PDP OE 101 Introduction to Outdoor Adventures) that provides an overview of the Leave No Trace principles to members of BU where they dive into the principle to understand "what does it mean [and] how does it show up?"
More information located at: http://www.bu.edu/fitrec/files/2020/04/Syllabus-for-PDP-OE-101-Introduction-to-the-Outdoors.pdf

The FitTreks Outdoor Program, hosted until 2021 by the Boston University Fitness and Recreation Center, offered a wide range of activities, including rock climbing, kayaking, stand up paddling, camping, snowshoeing, skiing, backpacking, and more. The workshops and trips were open to everyone and the program also offered gear rentals and leadership opportunities.

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. Its mission is to promote an appreciation for the natural environment through outdoor recreational activities. More information located at: https://www.buoutingclub.com/.

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused 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 & justice and to empower them to enact meaningful change. More information located at: https://www.bu.edu/csc/opportunities/programs/fysop/

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

In the first BU Living Learning Community, Earth House, the very act of day-to-day living is the focus of inquiry and the physical Earth House facility is the shared focal object of examination. All of the things that students and teachers normally think of as being means to an end of education – eating, commuting, showering – are inverted and transformed in Earth House to become primary topics of inquiry. As mundane as these daily activities may seem, they are actually the basis for the survival of our civilization and define our relationship with our fellow humans and our planet. More information located at: https://www.bu.edu/sustainability/projects/earth-house/

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

BU Sustainability employs students from Boston University to develop, promote and implement sustainable practices throughout the University. The student interns work with the Associate Vice President for University Sustainability, Sustainability Director, Assistant Director of Communications, Engagement Manager, Zero Waste Manager, Sustainability Director for Dining Services, and Director of Data Analytics and also collaborate with different organizations on campus throughout the year. Ranging from graphic design and metrics management to outreach and certification coordination, BU Sustainability offers its interns professional experience and responsibilities in sustainable development. BU Sustainability also offers summer work through the Sustainability Ambassadors program for the undergraduate orientation and year-long opportunities through the Resident Sustainability Leaders program. More information located at: https://www.bu.edu/sustainability/jobs-internships/

The Community Service Center, through its First-Year Student Outreach Project and Alternative Service Break programs offering environmental and justice themes, hires students as service and trip coordinators. More information located at: https://www.bu.edu/csc/opportunities/programs/

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. More information located at: https://www.bu.edu/sustainability/projects/earth-house/

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

This represents FY2021 and FY2022 BU Metrics.

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.