Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.28
Liaison Ciara Tennis
Submission Date Nov. 3, 2022

STARS v2.2

Eastern Connecticut State University
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Eastern's 2020 Climate Action Plan includes academic strategies related to courses, research, and immersive experience (see p. 32-33, https://www.easternct.edu/sustainable-energy/_documents/easternct_2020_climate_action_plan.pdf)
-Course catalog sustainability filter: Create a database of classes with a sustainability component. Work with IT to create a filter in Eastern’s online course catalog for students choosing classes.
-Faculty sustainability advocate: Explore potential for faculty release time or a summer stipend to integrate sustainability into curriculum and to support other campus sustainability initiatives.
-Faculty sustainability training: Provide a short training for faculty members on how to implement and encourage sustainable actions in the classroom and around campus.
-Thinking local: Encourage faculty to incorporate more local based examples in the classroom and implement more projects on campus. This will provide valuable real world experience while doing work to help sustain our community.
-LAC sustainability literacy: Explore the integration of a sustainability literacy requirement into the LAC. The goal would be to increase climate literacy and make every student aware of sustainability issues and pertinence to their fields of study.
-Climate and sustainability research database: Create a database that would provide access to past
research done by faculty and students at Eastern, based in climate science, climate resilience, and/or
sustainability. The database would also include potential research opportunities for students and provide a platform for faculty to find students interested in assisting in their research.
-Data analysis: Collaborate with Eastern’s new Institute for Data Analytics to provide support for analysis of Eastern climate and sustainability data.
-Sustainability career/internship options: Seek out more companies to invite to career and internship fairs with a larger focus on sustainability. Focus on smaller companies to provide students with a more personal experience.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Eastern's 2020 Climate Action Plan includes student and staff engagement strategies (see p. 34 for student engagement, p. 37 for staff engagement, https://www.easternct.edu/sustainable-energy/_documents/easternct_2020_climate_action_plan.pdf)
-Culture of sustainability: Develop a culture of sustainability at Eastern through student orientation, increased visibility and communications on sustainability practices and accomplishments, and opportunities for student learning in and outside of the classroom.
-Sustainability for clubs: Create a guide on how to incorporate sustainability into club activities and campus events. Longer-term, this guide should be used as a rubric for “sustainability grade” of various clubs and create a database of sustainability focused clubs.
-Visibility for campus sustainability initiatives: Develop signage, posters, tabling, and outreach for
sustainability in and around campus as well as online. ISE, Green Campus Committee, sustainability options in academics, and events such as sustainability month and Earth Day should be promoted, partnering with other existing events to spread awareness.
-Sustainability internship and jobs inventory: Provide access to a full inventory of sustainability
related jobs, projects, and internships available through Eastern as well as locally, to encourage students to get involved in sustainability related work.
-Student sustainability training: Include sustainability training during orientation. This should include basic behaviors on campus such as recycling, reusing water bottles, walking as much as possible or using bus transportation. A full guide could be created with collaboration from students and what they think is important/feasible.
-SGA sustainability committee: Create a sustainability committee on SGA to have representation at Green Campus Committee meetings as well as to assist in establishing a Green Fund.
-Green Theme Housing: Create housing in a desirable dorm to encourage participation in Green Themed Housing. A plan should be established for the requirements of the priority housing and how sustainable living will be incorporated.
-Nationwide Initiatives: Join student-led nationwide initiatives such as Bee Friendly Campus, Recyclemania, and the Post-Action Landfill Network. These could be integrated with
existing clubs.
-Culture of sustainability: Develop a culture of sustainability at Eastern through student and faculty orientation, modeling and information at university meetings, increased visibility and communications on sustainability practices and accomplishments, operations and maintenance
practices, and staff decisions as they perform their jobs.
-Green office goals: Develop guidelines and incentive programs to help departments become greener.
-Sustainability objective in job description: List sustainability as a priority in job descriptions as a
part of our campus culture.
-Carbon offset models: Explore department-based carbon offset models based on travel, energy use, supplies, etc.
-Staff sustainability training: Offer training opportunities for faculty on how to "green" their curriculum. This should include online reading, assignments, turning computer labs, lights, and lecterns off when done, reducing plug loads in classrooms, etc.
-New hire sustainability orientation: Require sustainability orientation for all new hires. The orientation will focus on carpool opportunities, how to properly dispose of trash/recycling, turning electronics off when not in use, etc.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Taken from Eastern's 2020 Climate Action Plan (p. 43, https://www.easternct.edu/sustainable-energy/_documents/easternct_2020_climate_action_plan.pdf):
Operations is the largest source of the campus’ greenhouse gas emissions and the area
of greatest opportunity for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The largest reductions in
emissions will come from continued retrofitting and upgrades to our buildings, while properly
managing our campus operations by increasing the focus on creating better data collection
strategies and policies throughout key departments on campus.

Sustainability strategies in Operations is divided into the following categories:
Purchasing (p. 20)
Buildings and Utilities (p. 23)
Food (p. 27)
Grounds (p. 28)
Transportation (p. 29)
Waste (p.31)

Sample from Grounds strategies:
-Integrated Pest Management Plan: Adopt an Integrated Pest Management Plan and grounds guidelines for future RFP contracts. This will cover pesticide use and management on campus, prioritize native and pollinator friendly plants and general maintenance procedures. The following actions will be incorporated into our IPM plan:
-Water use: Create a plan to manage landscape watering in accordance with weather forecasts. Research the potential for rainwater collection on campus to use for irrigation and plan landscaping and grounds accordingly to manage surface runoff.
-Pesticide standards: Implement safe and healthy pest control options and alternatives to pesticides. Eliminate the use of neonicotinoids and other pesticides that harm pollinators.
-Road and walkway salt: Eliminate the use of salts on surfaces and explore alternative options to create safe winter driving and walking conditions.
-Solar lighting: Equip outdoor lighting with PV panels and battery storage to minimize grid energy usage.
-Native plantings: Create a policy to include only native plantings in landscaping and to remove invasive and non-natives growing around campus.
-Tree plantings: Plant trees, from a native selection, on campus. Develop a strategy to calculate carbon sequestration from tree planting.
-Arboretum: Develop a forest management plan for the arboretum at Eastern, aimed to enhance the biodiversity, habitat, and carbon sequestration. Create a plan to calculate carbon sequestration in this area.
-Light pollution: Explore options to further minimize light pollution by changing lighting schedules and adding light pollution shades to outdoor lighting. Research on outdoor lighting is beginning to reveal signs of disrupting biological processes, negatively impacting a variety of species.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Eastern's 2020 Climate Action Plan includes actions that address diversity, equity, and inclusion and sustainable investment/finance in the Planning and Administration section. https://www.easternct.edu/sustainable-energy/_documents/easternct_2020_climate_action_plan.pdf

ACCOUNTABILITY STRATEGIES, Green Campus Committee action (p. 35)
-Equitable sustainability planning: Collaborate with the Office of Equity and Diversity at Eastern on ideas to integrate equitable and diverse practices into sustainability planning and implementation on campus.

-Cost savings: Quantify the cost savings associated with strategies in this plan and track cost savings from action implementation.
-Campus green fund: Explore development of a campus green fund which could be funded by energy savings, voluntary SGA contributions, and grants and managed by the Green Campus Committee with student input.
-Rebates and incentives: Consider engaging students to research and monitor energy efficiency rebates, retrofitting opportunities, and campus energy data.
-Sustainability coordinator: Dedicate funding to establish a long-term sustainability coordinator position.
-Divestment: Continue to explore fossil fuel divestment opportunities.
-Carbon offset subcommittee: Form a committee to develop a policy for carbon offsets.
-Carbon offset policy: Adopt an official offset policy that addresses eligible sources for offsets and sets the maximum percentage of total GHG to be covered through offsets.

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :

The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):

Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:

The institution's sustainability plan (upload):

Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

The institution’s definition of sustainability:

The term "sustainability" is not specifically defined in Eastern's planning documents, but concepts of sustainability are woven into the strategic plan, climate action plan, work of the Green Campus Committee, courses offered through the Center for Sustainable Energy Studies, and work of the Institute for Sustainable Energy.

The Green Campus Committee adopted a multifaceted and inclusive definition of sustainability: the goal of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This goal requires the equitable distribution of the benefits and costs associated with the use of the natural resources that drive our economy – it requires a commitment to improving the well-being of all people, protecting our planet, and transitioning to an economy that supports prosperity for all in perpetuity.


Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability No
SDG Accord No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) No

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

In September 2007, President Elsa Núñez signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, pledging the university to carbon neutrality. In support of this commitment, Eastern has completed the following:
2009 – Eastern Climate Change Action Plan
2014 – Green Campus Committee formed
2015 – President Núñez signed new Climate Commitment, integrating carbon neutrality and climate resilience
2017 – Eastern and Windham collaborated on Community Resilience Building Workshop and report
2020 – Revised Eastern Climate Action Plan to promote a sustainability culture, achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, transition to 100 percent renewable energy and continue to integrate environmental stewardship into student learning.
July 2020 -- Panel discussion, ""COVID-19, Climate and Higher Ed"", with John Kerry (former Secretary of State) and Rafael Reif (President of MIT), moderated by President Elsa Núñez, July 2020. https://web.mit.edu/webcast/s20/
Various years, 2018 – 2020 – Sierra Club Cool Schools ranking
2012 – 2021– STARS Silver rating recognition
Renewed in 2012, 2016, and 2019.
2010 – 2021 – Princeton Review Green College


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Information for this credit was taken from Eastern's 2020 Climate Action Plan and input by Ciara Tennis, University Assistant for Climate and Sustainability Initiatives.

Strategic Plan Priority Area #4.8 (page 11) includes references sustainability data collection and behavior as a goal: Data collection on campus use of energy, resources and sustainable behavior will be coordinated between the Green Campus Committee and the Institute for Sustainable Energy and used in promoting sustainability on campus with a goal of achieving AASHE Gold status.

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.