Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.85
Liaison Amy Butler
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Michigan State University
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Amy Butler
Campus Sustainability Director
MSU Sustainability
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Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

There are several methods of engagement that MSU utilizes in influencing; informing; and supporting elements of sustainability policy. Active policy roles include: direct policy advocacy and influence; conducting research and programs to support and inform policy decisions; and serving as subject matter experts on policy teams on a local, state, national and international groups.
1. For local/municipal level policy development: MSU participates in the CATA Transportation Regional Mobility Group – the task force had an assessment done for bike sharing as well as other micro-mobility solutions to transportation. The task force examined existing policies for both e-scooters and bike sharing and formed guidelines for regional coordination of policies in relation to micro-mobility solutions. As a result, MSU determined the need to revisit its ordinance for new technologies being introduced to the campus. The university also collaborated with the regional transportation provider, (CATA) to institute free ridership for all students, faculty, and staff.
2. MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) provides funding through their Michigan Applied Public Policy Research grant program for applied research on current policy-relevant issues. They funded multiple policy projects including: a project directly related to the Line 5 Oil Pipeline policy in the Straights of Mackinac; Autonomous Vehicles – identifying the tradeoffs in the technology; major barriers and how policy makers can better understand and develop policy in anticipation of the changes in the industry. IPPSR also produced a report providing input to the Michigan Public Service Commission on the utility integrated resource plans and decision-making on renewable energy adoption. Additionally, IPPSR produced the report Michigan’s Energy Future: Expert and Public Opinion on Energy Transitions In Michigan to inform the policy debate. A MAPPR Policy Brief.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

MSU engages in policy discussions at the regional and state level in many instances:
1. MSU is a member of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and participates regularly in the development of the policy recommendations on energy for the Governor and legislative representatives. The Director of Sustainability serves as the key member to the MIEIBC and participates in monthly policy development calls. She provides comment on behalf of the university to the MIEIBC and shares the policy development with the corresponding internal energy team for input as well. Policies have included: community solar, solar and public Act 116; and climate change in state government.

2. Environmental Permit Review Commission – Professor Dana Kirk represents the university on this state commission. Act 268 of 2018 created the Environmental Permit Review Commission (EPRC) in the Department of Environmental Quality to advise the Director on two separate policies: disputes related to permit applications and contested cases regarding a permit decision. The Commission consists of 15 individuals appointed by the Governor. Dana Kirk, Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering was appointed to represent MSU and higher education organizations in the policy development.

3. Solid Waste Rules Advisory Committee: Professor and Researcher, Dana Kirk, has served as a representative of MSU, on the subjects of academia, recycling, agriculture, and energy on the Michigan Solid Waste and Sustainability Advisory Panel. Launched in 2015 and a final report in 2017 – to conduct a broad and comprehensive review of Part 115, Solid Waste Management of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. This group worked with additional stakeholder groups to ensure recommendations to legislation and rules are developed with a common vision for the waste programs. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-wmrpd-SWSAP_Report_FINAL_555407_7.pdf.

4. Cultivating Goals of Good Food Charter and Cultivate Michigan Campaign- MSU Professor Michael W. Hamm, was a key person in the original development of the state’s Michigan Good Food Charter, published in 2010. MSU Leadership endorsed this project and the President of MSU was a part of the Advisory Committee. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mda/Good_Food_Charter_-_PPT_325352_7.pdf. The charter is a roadmap for a food system that is rooted in local communities and centers on good food. It has six goals to advance the vision by 2020. The Center for Regional Food Systems at MSU was established and continues to advance the goals and policies. The 2017 report “Cultivate Michigan 2017 Data Brief summarizes progress to date of the Cultivate Michigan campaign – Michigan Farm to Institution Network 20 % by 2020. https://www.canr.msu.edu/foodsystems/uploads/resources/cultivate%20michigan%202017%20data%20brief.pdf

5. Another method of engagement is through the Office of Governmental Relations., whose position is to advocate on behalf of MSU by building and promoting positive relationships with federal, state, and local policymakers. This includes policies related to elements of sustainability. Representatives develop long term relationships and engage them in key activities at the university that are impacted by policy and legislation. For example, the implementation of the 2016 Energy Legislation and its impact on MSU's implementation of its Energy Transition Plan. This is particularly important as MSU is a power provider and legislation impacts the deployment of upgrades, efficiencies, and renewables. Legislators and their staff are invited to tour and discuss projects such as the solar carports [largest in the nation]. This office also collaborates advocacy efforts on behalf of the university, as well as local and regional relationships [see local response].

6. MSU also engages in policy development through background technical and consumer research impacting the direction policy may take. MSU conducted the research for the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE), https://www.michigan.gov/energy/0,4580,7-364-85459-485872--,00.html, on the ideal electric charging infrastructure – this has informed the funding policy being developed by the State's Michigan Agency for Energy and the DEQ for strategizing the policy driving the distribution of their Volkswagon Settlement Funds to improve EV infrastructure and alternative fuel vehicles.

7. Another method of engagement is through Centers of Excellence within the university that interface in the development of and implementation of policy. For example: the Land Policy Institute-https://www.canr.msu.edu/landpolicy/, serves on the MI Sense of Place council; the Center for Food Systems-https://www.canr.msu.edu/foodsystems/our-work/, convenes the Michigan Local Food Council Network engaging in food policy issues and serves as the backbone organization in the development and implementation of the Michigan Good Food Charter; the MSUE Greening Michigan Institute -https://www.canr.msu.edu/uploads/236/35087/State_Council_December_2012/GMI_State_Council_Presentation_Dave_Ivan.pdf; IPPSR Public Policy Forums - Autonomous Vehicles and Renewable Energy Policy http://ippsr.msu.edu/public-policy/public-policy-forums/past-forums-archive.

8. Institute for Public Policy and Social Research conducts Public Policy Forums: Autonomous Vehicles, 2/15/2017. Renewable Energy Economy 5/18/2018; Flint Water System; state and local responsibilities; 3/16/2018;

IPPSR also provide a new legislator training academy every two years. During this academy, MSU is able to equip legislators with knowledge of key legislative agenda items as well as introduce them to issues important to the university and the resources that the university has to support their legislative activities. Sustainability; climate change and energy are topics that are key to the new administration.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

The Office of Governmental Affairs works directly with both state and federal legislators on policy that would be of importance to the University but also to its stakeholders, i.e. business and community. The office of Governmental Affairs has worked diligently with Congresswoman Debbie Stabenow on the last two revisions to the Farm Bill. This was a significant policy direction for Michigan’s constituency as we are second only to California in the diversity of agricultural products. Changes in the bill would enable new research and technology advancement to support business in the agricultural sector.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

1. Driving SDG policy adoption in member nations who ratified the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. MSU faculty, Tomas Hult, advocates for and assists member nations and companies in the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and policies that support those goals. Additionally, under his direction as Executive Director of the Academy of International Business ( a position supported by the university), AIB has also entered into an arrangement with the WIF / UNCTAD to co-organize the WIF for the foreseeable future, with a bulk related to the SDGs, what countries and companies can do. He works directly with these companies and countries on sustainable strategic policies in implementing the SDG’s. He serves as a member of the expert Network of the World Economic Forum for the similar purposes. He is a trusted resource that drives the integration of government policy (countries) marketplace forces (companies) and the people’s needs and wants together in coherent sustainability strategies. Dr. Hult is recognized as faculty and representative of MSU in this capacity. His role is clearly identified in his university references and his presentations and discussions directly reference his affiliation with the university.
His work includes work directly impacting and promoting sustainability on a global basis with his MSU affiliation. Dr. Hult was recognized as an MSU Professor and International Business Leader by U.S. Department of Education. He also presents keynotes to promote the policies of adopting SDGs, such as: World Investment Forum (Keynote, Geneva, Switzerland, October 26, 2018) [Blog] Op-Ed Sept 24, 2018: The Hill (Global Sustainability) Op-Ed Sept 18, 2018: The Hill (Customer Satisfaction) Op-Ed Aug 30, 2018: The Hill (Global Efficiencies) Hult regularly hosts a radio show: globalEDGE Business Beat, with the Michigan Business Network. globalEDGE Blog by Tomas Hult UN's Sustainable Development Goals (Journal of Macro marketing, 2018) [Blog] [Dinero] [Radio] [The Hill].

2. New Plastics Economy Global Commitment -Global Campaign: MSU signed on as an endorser of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment brought together by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastic Pact – brings together all key stakeholders at the national or regional level to implement solutions towards a circular economy for plastics. e: In addition to contributing through research, the university supports the promotion of efforts to find alternatives to the plastics economy. Targets are aimed at the local level but also align with the global vision as described in the Global Commitment to ensure a consistent approach.


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):

Global Campaign: MSU signed on as an endorser of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment brought together by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastic. In addition to contributing through research, the university supports the promotion of efforts to find alternatives to the plastics economy.


A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

N/A


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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