Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.74
Liaison Krista Bailey
Submission Date Oct. 20, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Pennsylvania State University
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have current and formal plans to advance sustainability in the following areas? Do the plans include measurable objectives?:
Current and Formal Plans (Yes or No) Measurable Objectives (Yes or No)
Curriculum Yes Yes
Research (or other scholarship) Yes Yes
Campus Engagement Yes No
Public Engagement Yes No
Air and Climate Yes Yes
Buildings Yes Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes No
Energy Yes Yes
Grounds Yes No
Purchasing Yes Yes
Transportation Yes No
Waste Yes Yes
Water Yes No
Diversity and Affordability Yes Yes
Health, Wellbeing and Work Yes No
Investment No No
Other Yes No

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Curriculum:

Penn State's Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP) puts forth the following Strategy relevant to advancing sustainability in the curriculum:
Strategy 1.2: Develop and promote academic programs that address sustainability, including both online and residential offerings.

The Sustainability Institute, which is charged with facilitating implementation of the Penn State SSP, has the following as one of its strategic planning objectives:
Objective 1.2: Create a support system that fosters the incorporation of sustainability into the curriculum in ways that provide theoretical and experiential learning opportunities for students.

The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14 states, as Strategy 7.8: Establish and Foster Sustainable Environments (p. 52)
http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Curriculum plan(s):

The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14 identifies the following performance measures:
Number of Academic Offerings focused on sustainability education
Number of Academic Offerings that incorporate sustainability into the curriculum
See Appendix 5, Strategy Implementation Matrix
http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Curriculum plan(s):

As identified in the Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14, these include the President's Council, Sr. VP for Finance and Business, University Faculty Senate, Academic Leadership Council


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Research (or other scholarship):

Several Strategies and Actions related to Research appear in Penn State's Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP):
Goal 3: Penn State will lead higher education in transformational innovations in policy, practice, and knowledge that address critical, complex, and systems-level sustainability challenges.
Strategy 3.2 Develop means to readily recognize new frontiers in sustainability challenges and respond to them.
Strategy 3.3 Recognize and reward the innovations of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni in the generation of sustainability solutions.

The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14 states, as Strategy 7.8: Establish and Foster Sustainable Environments (p. 52)
http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Research plan(s):

The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14 identifies the following performance measures:
(Increase) Research focused on Sustainability, as measured by:
- No. of projects or grants;
- Dollar value of projects or grants
See Appendix 5, Strategy Implementation Matrix
http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Research plan(s):

As identified in the Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14, these include the President's Council, Sr. VP for Finance and Business, University Faculty Senate, Academic Leadership Council


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Campus Engagement around sustainability:

Several Strategies and Actions related to Campus Engagement appear in Penn State's Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP):
Strategy 1.1: Incorporate sustainability learning opportunities into daily life across the University, including the built environment and service and program delivery.
Strategy 2.1: Identify obstacles to widespread adoption of sustainability best practices into daily life across the University.
Strategy 2.3: Create strategies and programs for the implementation of sustainability solutions within the Penn State community.

Also, from the Sustainability Institute's strategic plan:
Objective 1.3: Create a support system that fosters the ability of staff members and
students to adopt sustainable practices in their work and personal lives.
Objective 1.4: Establish relationships to connect academic and theoretical approaches to sustainability with applied projects on campus and in the broader community.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Campus Engagement plan:

Under development.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Campus Engagement plan(s):

Sustainability Institute


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Public Engagement around sustainability:

From Penn State's Sustainability Strategic Plan:
Strategy 1.3: Create sustainability-focused programs and learning opportunities for external constituents, including alumni, corporate partners, and the general public.
Strategy 2.2: Create strategies and programs for the implementation of sustainability solutions beyond the Penn State community.
Strategy 2.4: Develop an effective infrastructure for communicating sustainability solutions to inspire the widespread adoption of sustainability practices.

Also, from the Sustainability Institute's strategic plan:
Objective 1.4: Establish relationships to connect academic and theoretical approaches to sustainability with applied projects on campus and in the broader community.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Public Engagement plan(s):

Under development.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Public Engagement plan(s):

Sustainability Institute


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Air and Climate:

Penn State's Guiding Principles for Campus Master Planning include:
- Reduce environmental impact of transportation by reducing fuel consumption and
greenhouse gas emissions.

The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14 states, as Strategy 7.8: Establish and Foster Sustainable Environments (p. 52)
http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf

Penn State’s Finance & Business 2008-13 Strategic Plan identifies Environmental Stewardship as a continuing Key Initiative. This group has established a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiative which has developed a series of strategies for reducing campus GHG emissions. See: http://sustainability.psu.edu/live/what-penn-state-can-do/energy-environment/energy-environment-strategies-projects


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Air and Climate plan(s):

The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14 includes the following performance measures:
- Greenhouse gas emission reductions
See Appendix 5, Strategy Implementation Matrix
http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf

Penn State’s Finance & Business 2008-13 Strategic Plan identifies Environmental Stewardship as a continuing Key Initiative. This Initiative was responsible for setting a goal to reduce its campus greenhouse gas emissions by 18% since 2005. That goal was met, and an ambitious new reduction goal of 35% by 2020 has been set.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Air and Climate plan(s):

As identified in the Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14, these include the President's Council, Sr. VP for Finance and Business, University Faculty Senate, Academic Leadership Council


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Buildings:

Penn State's Guiding Principles for Campus Master Planning include:
- Promote energy conservation through responsible planning, design, construction, and
renovation of campus facilities.
- Invest wisely with an understanding of initial costs and life-cycle costs.
- Incorporate resource efficient and low polluting technologies into new and renovated
facilities to reduce operating and societal costs, and to provide opportunities for research in this field.

Penn State’s Finance & Business 2008-13 Strategic Plan identifies Environmental Stewardship as a continuing Key Initiative. One of its goals is to "Establish environmentally-responsible campus design and planning principles and practices." As a result, the University established a policy that all new and renewed facilities be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. Penn State has developed its own customized LEED process. See http://www.opp.psu.edu/planning-construction/design_and_construction_standards/documents/LEED%20Policy.pdf


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Buildings plan(s):

All new or renewed facilities will be LEED certified.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Buildings plan(s):

Office of Physical Plant


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Dining Services/Food:

The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14 states, as Strategy 7.8: Establish and Foster Sustainable Environments (p. 52).
Penn State’s Finance & Business 2008-13 Strategic Plan identifies Environmental Stewardship as a continuing Key Initiative. One of its goals is to (1) Minimize solid waste production. In Food Services, this goal has led to a number of initiatives to reduce waste, including increased recycling and composting, use of reusable containers, donation of leftover food, and support of local vendors.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Dining Services/Food plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Dining Services/Food plan(s):

Housing & Food Services, in conjunction with the Sustainability Institute


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Energy:

Penn State's Guiding Principles for Campus Master Planning include:
- Promote energy conservation through responsible planning, design, construction, and
renovation of campus facilities.
- Reduce environmental impact of transportation by reducing fuel consumption and
greenhouse gas emissions.

Penn State’s Finance & Business 2008-13 Strategic Plan identifies Environmental Stewardship as a continuing Key Initiative. One of its goals is to "ensure efficient use and conservation of energy, water, and other resources".


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Energy plan(s):

Penn State's various strategies to alter energy supply and reduce energy demand, and timeframes for their implementation, can be found here under Strategies and Projects: http://sustainability.psu.edu/live/what-penn-state-can-do/energy-environment/energy-environment-strategies-projects. These strategies are proposed in the context of reducing GHG emissions.
The measurable goal is a reduction in energy use. Penn State has put forth an informal goal of reducing energy use by 20% over the next 10 years.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Energy plan(s):

Office of Physical Plant


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Grounds:

Penn State's Guiding Principles for Campus Master Planning include:
- Preserve environmentally valuable open spaces and promote green infrastructure
resources, such as wetlands, mature trees and groves, groundwater infiltration areas, and drainageways.
- Prevent environmental degradation through landuse and land development decisions and processes.
Penn State’s Finance & Business 2008-13 Strategic Plan identifies Environmental Stewardship as a continuing Key Initiative. One of its goals is to "establish environmentally-responsible campus design and planning principles and practices."


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Grounds plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Grounds plan(s):

Office of Physical Plant


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Purchasing:

The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14 offers as Strategy 7.8: Establish and Foster Sustainable Environments. One of the performance measures in this area relates to purchasing (see below).
Penn State’s Finance & Business 2008-13 Strategic Plan identifies Environmental Stewardship as a continuing Key Initiative. One of its goals is to "establish environmentally-responsible purchasing policies."


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Purchasing plan(s):

The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14 includes one performance measure related to Purchasing:
- quantity of environmentally-responsible purchases versus standard purchases
See Appendix 5, Strategy Implementation Matrix
http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Purchasing plan(s):

As identified in the Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14, these include the President's Council, Sr. VP for Finance and Business, University Faculty Senate, Academic Leadership Council


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Transportation:

Penn State's Guiding Principles for Campus Master Planning include:
- Develop facilities that support an effective and efficient intermodal transportation system and reduce dependence on cars.
- Reduce environmental impact of transportation by reducing fuel consumption and
greenhouse gas emissions.

Penn State's Intermodal Transportation Plan 2013 lays out a strategy for developing a 10-year comprehensive plan that is environmentally responsible, customer focused, financially sustainable, and supports a balanced mix of travel choices to serve the diverse needs of the University community. This plan contains a plethora of strategies and metrics; however at this stage it is a plan to create a plan.

One of the Guiding Principles in the Bicycle Master Plan for the UP campus is:
4. Improve the quality of life for visitors, faculty, staff, and students through increased exercise, recreation, and environmental sustainability.

Penn State’s Finance & Business 2008-13 Strategic Plan identifies Environmental Stewardship as a continuing Key Initiative. One of its goals is to "Establish environmentally-responsible transportation practices."


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Transportation plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Transportation plan(s):

Transportation Services


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Waste:

Penn State’s Finance & Business 2008-13 Strategic Plan identifies Environmental Stewardship as a continuing Key Initiative. One goal under this Initiative is to "Minimize solid waste production".


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Waste plan(s):

In addition to existing waste management strategies that involve recycling, reuse, and reduction, Penn State's new Mobius program which increases composting of organic material is anticipated to achieve a total waste diversion rate of 75 percent once it is fully implemented in 2014.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Waste plan(s):

Office of Physical Plant


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Water:

Penn State's Guiding Principles for Campus Master Planning include:
- Protect the quality of water resources and the natural environment by establishing protected environmental resource areas.
- Develop a comprehensive campus stormwater management approach to mitigate impacts of campus development and improve water quality.
The Campus Master Plan has a section under land use planning recommendations: 5.1.16 Establish Environmental Resource as a Landuse to Maintain Environmental Quality, that addresses the protection of areas designated as Environmental Resources and Environmentally Sensitive Areas http://www.opp.psu.edu/planning-construction/master-plans/university-park-campus-master-plan/university-park-campus-master-plan-1/5.0-master-plan-recommendations


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Water plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Water plan(s):

Office of Physical Plant


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Diversity and Affordability:

The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14 has as Goal 4: Maintain Access/ Affordability and Enhance Diversity, followed by specific strategies to accomplish this goal. http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf

In addition, Penn State has a separate strategic plan for diversity, A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State: 2010-15. http://equity.psu.edu/framework. The framework directs units to develop their own strategic plans for diversity, with related performance measures.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):

Performance measures in the Penn include the following.
•Percentage of students receiving need-based institutional scholarships
•Percentage of full-time faculty/ staff by demographic group
•Percentage of undergraduate/ graduate enrollment by demographic group
•First-year and third-year retention rates by demographic group
•Average time-to-degree for graduate students by demographic group
•Tenure success rate of faculty by demographic group
See Appendix 5, Strategy Implementation Matrix
http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf

In addition, individual units are expected to develop their own performance measures as part of their unit-level strategic plans for fostering diversity.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):

Varies by specific Strategy. See Appendix 5, Strategy Implementation Matrix
http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Health, Wellbeing and Work:

Penn State's Guiding Principles for Campus Master Planning include:
- Advance the health, wellbeing, and comfort of the campus community by promoting access to daylight and views.

One of the Objectives of the 3-year 2014-2016 Human Resources/ Benefits Strategic Plan is to "promote a culture of employee responsibility and wellness".


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):

Human Resources


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Investment:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Investment plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Investment plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in other areas:

The Campus Master Plan has a section under land use planning recommendations: 5.1.16 Establish Environmental Resource as a Landuse to Maintain Environmental Quality, that addresses the need to protect areas designated as Environmental Resource and Environmentally Sensitive Areas to protect water quality, natural resources, and scenic quality. See http://www.opp.psu.edu/planning-construction/master-plans/university-park-campus-master-plan/university-park-campus-master-plan-1/5.0-master-plan-recommendations


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the other plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the other plan(s):

Office of Physical Plant


The institution’s definition of sustainability:

Sustainability is the simultaneous pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality, and economic well being for current and future generations.


Does the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document include sustainability at a high level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

As noted above, Penn State's Sustainability Strategic Plan is the key guiding document for sustainability at Penn State.
Sustainability also will be an element of all unit-level plans, scheduled for completion by June 2014. The University's next institutional strategic plan, targeted for completion in June 2015, is expected to include sustainability as one of four "foundational principles".

In June 2013 the Provost issued “Unit Strategic Planning Guidelines for 2014-15 through 2018-19” to the budget executives of all strategic planning units. These guidelines ask all units to include, as one of the elements in their strategic plans, the following:
8. Discussion of how the unit is contributing toward Penn State's goals for sustainability. Please describe the progress made and future plans, that align with the University's efforts to integrate sustainability across all of its functions. Please consider questions such as the following, appropriate to the context of your unit. For example:
A. What will be done to incorporate sustainability into teaching, research, and/or community outreach and engagement efforts?
B. How will the unit address sustainability in operations? That may involve buildings, office spaces, labs, professional development, performance evaluation, and so on.
C. How will planning integrate work toward sustainability across functions -e.g., using communities and campuses as "living labs" for conducting research on community sustainability solutions and/or as a teaching tool for courses?


The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning is available:

As a large, complex research university, Penn State's institutional-level strategic plan tends to lay out broad goals, while specific strategies and objectives are often left to unit-level planning.

The timing of this STARS submission finds Penn State in the midst of unit-level strategic planning (scheduled for completion in June 2014), which in turn will contribute to institutional-level planning. Sustainability is expected to be a foundational principle of that plan.

Sustainability Institute staff have developed tools and resources to support Penn State strategic planning units' effective implementation of the guidelines for sustainability issued by the Provost.

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.