Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.42
Liaison Darcy Everett
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2020

STARS v2.2

College of Charleston
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.00 / 2.00 P Brian Fisher
CSO/Executive Director
Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
No

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

The College of Charleston has served as a strong voice in the local discussion on single-use plastic pollution, and, in partnership with The Citadel, the university has gained local, state and national recognition for its research on the prevalence and dangers of microplastics.

In late 2018 and 2019, Cougar students, faculty and staff enthusiastically backed local ordinances proposing a ban on single-use plastic bags, cups, straws and Styrofoam. Many campus community members attended and spoke up at public hearings, as well as called, emailed and visited city and county council members in support of the sustainable policies.

Additionally, the Student Government Association has supported ordinances of its own to push the campus to become plastic-free, including supporting a proposal that would take a step further to reduce pollution by eliminating the distribution of plastic bottles.

You can read more about the Charleston community's efforts to protect local waterways, wildlife and public health at https://www.postandcourier.com/news/plastic-bags-will-disappear-from-charleston-stores-in-january-following/article_17843dea-1b9e-11ea-8c04-13fc4e671dee.html.

You can also read more about the university's research on microplastics and graduate student Sarah Kell, covered in a recent newsletter issue by a state environmental advocacy group at https://www.coastalconservationleague.org/newsletters/.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
No

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

Last spring, the College of Charleston joined more than a dozen regional businesses to reduce traffic congestion in the tri-county area of Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties. The Reboot the Commute project is an employer-led traffic mitigation campaign that challenges people to help reduce regional traffic congestion.

“The College of Charleston is pleased to partner with other area organizations in rebooting the commute to help alleviate traffic congestion,” said College of Charleston Interim President Stephen C. Osborne ’73. “When residents of the Lowcountry all work together there’s no limit to what we can do to better all of our lives and our communities.”

You can read more about Reboot the Commute at https://today.cofc.edu/2019/04/30/cofc-joins-effort-to-reduce-area-traffic-congestion/.

Additionally, the College has hosted workshops on the Lowcountry Rapid Transit project and encouraged attendees to weigh in on the vision for the LCRT system, a proposed 23-mile bus rapid-transit system between Charleston, North Charleston and Summerville. The system aims to provide reliable travel, connect communities and energize economic opportunities along the corridor. The workshops were held in partnership with representatives from Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority and the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council on Governments. You can read more at https://today.cofc.edu/2019/02/28/college-hosts-workshops-on-lowcountry-rapid-transit-project/.

The College of Charleston has served as a strong voice in the local and statewide discussion on single-use plastic pollution, and, in partnership with The Citadel, the university has gained local, state and national recognition for its research on the prevalence and dangers of microplastics.

In late 2018 and 2019, Cougar students, faculty and staff enthusiastically backed local ordinances proposing a ban on single-use plastic bags, cups, straws and Styrofoam. Many campus community members attended and spoke up at public hearings, as well as called, emailed and visited city and county council members in support of the sustainable policies.

Yet, this local advocacy was threatened by industry efforts at the state-level to block municipal ordinances. At the State House, special interest lobbyists consistently propose legislation that would prevent communities like Charleston from banning single-use products. To support home rule, Cougar students, faculty and staff advocated for local environmental leadership by calling, emailing and visiting state representatives. In addition, the Center for Sustainable Development hosted an advocacy training for students, in an effort to brief them on this issue and other key sustainability issues and teach them best practices for communicating with legislators by phone.

Additionally, the Student Government Association has supported ordinances of its own to push the campus to become plastic-free, including supporting a proposal that would take a step further to reduce pollution by eliminating the distribution of plastic bottles.

You can read more about the Charleston community's efforts to protect local waterways, wildlife and public health at https://www.postandcourier.com/news/plastic-bags-will-disappear-from-charleston-stores-in-january-following/article_17843dea-1b9e-11ea-8c04-13fc4e671dee.html.

You can read more about the university's research on microplastics and graduate student Sarah Kell, covered in a recent newsletter issue by a state environmental advocacy group at https://www.coastalconservationleague.org/newsletters/.

You can read more about the university's advocacy training collaboration with an environmental nonprofit via one student's blog at https://blogs.cofc.edu/envt-200-01-sp19/author/griffinsr/.

Finally, you can also read about statewide efforts to protect local ordinances at https://www.postandcourier.com/politics/plastic-bag-bans-survive-for-now-as-sc-lawmakers-take/article_4a0547be-56dc-11e9-8cdf-83dbf2f4aef0.html.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
No

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

The College of Charleston consistently calls for national and global action on climate change to advance its own sustainability goals and advocate for a more sustainable future. This leadership is evident in the university's participation in Second Nature's President's Climate Leadership Commitment and setting goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
No

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

The College of Charleston consistently calls for global action on climate change to advance its own sustainability goals and advocate for a more sustainable future. This leadership is evident in the university's participation in Second Nature's President's Climate Leadership Commitment and setting goals to achieve carbon neutrality. In addition, the university supports global events like September 2019's Global Climate Strike. The College of Charleston and several student advocacy groups hosted Charleston's official strike event to raise awareness and call for climate action.

You can view photos from the event and read more at https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/TheBattery/archives/2019/09/20/photos-charleston-advocates-join-for-global-climate-strike-on-friday.


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
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A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
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Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
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Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.