Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.75
Liaison Katharine Gross
Submission Date Feb. 16, 2022

STARS v2.2

Lehigh University
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Katharine Targett Gross
Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Lehigh Named Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Lehigh was named a 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee on Earth Day 2021. The award recognizes Lehigh’s contributions across three pillars: reducing environmental impacts and costs, improving the health and wellness of the school, and ensuring effective environmental and sustainability education.

Lehigh was the Pennsylvania Department of Education's sole higher education nominee and one of just five postsecondary institutions across the nation honored. Nationwide, 27 schools, three early learning centers and five districts received the honor.

In its submission, Lehigh cited the “tremendous strides” the institution has made merging “environmentally responsible solutions with equitable community practices,” and included the adoption of its Sustainability Strategic Plan 2030. The 2030 Plan, released in October, encompasses six focus areas and 113 goals, each aligning with one or more of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Plan was developed with input from the Lehigh community―students, faculty, staff, alumni and the Bethlehem community―and guided by the Lehigh Sustainability Council.

Lehigh included mention of its work on creating a Climate Action Strategy as part of its submission. The Climate Action Strategy will provide a detailed framework and serve as a comprehensive roadmap for measuring, planning and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It will also establish a net carbon neutrality date for the institution as well as a pathway for how to get there.

Lehigh also addressed the work it’s doing to fulfill each of the three pillars the award highlights. The university featured the joining of the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative and a water reduction strategy that includes a rainwater reclamation system incorporated into the design of its new Health, Science, Technology building in its narrative for the first pillar, Your Efforts to Reduce Environmental Impact and Costs. In the narrative for the second pillar, Your Efforts to Improve the Health and Wellness of Students and Staff, Lehigh noted its pending Fitwel and LEED certifications for its new College of Health, achieving its Real Food Challenge goal, its Employee Wellness program and an Eco-Healthy Child Care Certification for Lehigh’s daycare. Lehigh cited numerous ways its students are engaged in sustainability research, internships and using the campus as a living laboratory for the third pillar, Your Efforts to Ensure Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education. The examples included the sustainability curricular integration workshop the Lehigh Sustainability Council hosts.

Lehigh was recognized for the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September 2021.

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
Lehigh Awarded 2020 Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

In December 2020, Lehigh Sustainability Officer, Katharine Targett Gross, in collaboration with Jason Schiffer, Chief of Police, and Bob Bruneio, Transportation Services Manager, applied for a grant through the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The Office of Sustainability is proud to announce that Lehigh was one of 20 local governments, schools, businesses, and organizations to receive a portion of the $3.4 million grant. The $24,412 grant Lehigh received will allow the Lehigh University Police Department to offset the incremental purchase cost of three electric vehicles (EVs) and one electric all-terrain vehicle. This is part of transitioning the police department, and the university as a whole, to electric vehicles.

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
OP-15; OP-17

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Lehigh Adopts Sustainable and Healthful Food Purchasing Policy

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

In June 2021, Lehigh announced a new policy that expands the university's commitment to purchasing sustainable and healthful food. This policy will transform the traditional university food system into one that is more sustainable, climate-friendly, diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

The Campus Food Systems working group tasked with this project is composed of members of the Office of Sustainability, Student Auxiliary Services, Lehigh University Dining, and Purchasing Services. This group will now focus on implementing the necessary changes to our campus food system to align with this policy.

Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Food & Dining
Investment & Finance

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
OP-7; OP-8

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

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.