Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.47
Liaison Jenny McNamara
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Portland State University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Heather Spalding
Sustainability Leadership and Outreach Coordinator
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

PSU has a strong student sustainability movement. Students are engaged in sustainability leadership on many levels, and this is reflected in the broad range of student groups and organizations working on sustainability issues. Here are some of our most active groups:

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
ASHRAE's Mission and Vision Mission: To advance the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world. Vision: ASHRAE will be the global leader, the foremost source of technical and educational information, and the primary provider of opportunity for professional growth in the arts and sciences of heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigerating.

Community Active in Resources, Environment and Society (CARES):
The purpose of this organization is to unite students in the common interest of exploring the sustainable use of natural resources. Our purpose is to promote solutions that foster healthy communities and enduring ecosystems through an interdisciplinary forum for the open discussion of environmental, social, and natural resource issues. We will promote ecological literacy and stewardship, provide opportunities for service to the community, and a forum for individuals to present research. We will facilitate networking between undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and practicing professionals.

Community Development Student Group (CDSG):
CDSG’s mission is to enhance the student experience by facilitating community-building and collaborative learning partnerships that encourage inclusion, leadership, and empowerment. CDSG strives to develop members' capacity for civic engagement through student group activities such as community meetings, student-organized conferences, forums, workshops, service projects, and field trips.

Engineers Without Borders (EWB):
In a nutshell, Engineers Without Borders is about helping people help themselves, improving people's lives with engineering solutions and developing cultural understanding and communication. Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA) is a nonprofit humanitarian organization established to support community-driven development programs worldwide through partnerships that design and implement sustainable engineering projects.

Planning Club (Planning):
Planning Club's purpose is to: 1. Create a forum for discussion on current planning issues 2. Encourage and facilitate communication between current students and faculty in the School of Urban Studies and Planning, alumni, PSU and the greater Portland community 3. Generate opportunities for professional development for students and the community. Keywords: Planning Club Urban Planning Urban Studies Community Development Sustainability professional development Transportation Equity Social Justice

Bike PSU (Bike PSU):
We are a bicycle advocacy organization. Our mission is to grow the number of students biking to and within campus. We hold a variety of events and group rides to put biking in the spotlight as a means of transportation. Bike PSU empowers students to voice their opinions on improving bicycle infrastructure connecting to campus. Bike PSU coordinates with the PSU Bike Hub and Transportation & Parking Services to promote services such as: -VikeBikes bike rental program -Bicycle repair facilities at the Bike Hub and throughout campus -Several bike rooms for secure bike storage throughout campus

Counseling Studetns Advocating for Cultural Humility (CSACH):
We are counseling students committed to social justice through the continued practice of obtaining and maintaining cultural competence along all intersections. Our goal as future counselors is to seek the awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to address both personal and institutional barriers in the counseling room as well as in our broader communities. We hope to act as a resource team providing information on multicultural sensitivity, humility and privilege. We intend to create space for all voices while advocating for growth and positive change in the counseling profession and beyond.

Enivronmental Club (Environmental):
The purpose of this organization is to unite students in the common interests of a variety of environmental issues and projects, promote sustainability, and make long lasting connections within and outside the PSU community.

Global Medical Brigades (GMB):
Global Medical Brigades provides a holistic model for sustainable health care in under-served rural communities by conducting preliminary needs assessments, treating patients to the highest ethical standards, sponsoring referrals to those with needs beyond our capability, recording data for the production of quantitative reports, and working with other GB programs to improve the water, sanitation, and economic infrastructures.

MindfulPSU (MPSU):
Mindfulness is described by Jon Kabat-Zinn as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” MindfulPSU is a student group dedicated to the use of Mindfulness Meditation to promote compassion for the self, empathy for others and overall well-being. We are a secular organization, open to all who wish to experience the benefits of Mindfulness. We strive to create a community of shared interest in the practice of Mindfulness with regular group meditation practice and discussion of emerging scientific research in Contemplative Psychology. Our goal is to encourage the free-exchange of thoughts and ideas that our experiences in Mindfulness bring to our lives. Mindfulness practice does not require any prescribed beliefs, or special knowledge or abilities: it simply requires one to stop and pay attention to the present moment. Whether you are a beginner or an expert; as Rumi says: “Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond” Research in behavioral psychology has shown mindfulness practice can boost the immune system, significantly reduce stress, increase attention and focus, and control emotional reactivity; with the end benefit of reducing anxiety and depression, help with moderating ADHD symptoms, and fostering overall well-being. Research in neuroscience has shown that regular mindfulness practice can create more expansive connections in the areas of the brain involved with decision making, emotional control and empathy.

Radical Education PSU (RAD EDU):
Radical Education is a newly formed organization at PSU looking to encourage members and fellow students to push the boundaries of Leftist advocacy and dialogue. Having just started, we are looking to others to help build the foundation for this new club. Keywords: Social Justice Politics

Sustainability Leaders Network (SLN):
We are students who strive to create a supportive action learning community in order to improve our leadership skills, gain organizing experience and network with organizations both on campus and the larger community in order to create environmental and social change.

Net Impact Chapter (Net Impact):
Mission Statement: To serve PSU and the Portland community by enabling emerging leaders and entrepreneurs to make a positive impact towards a sustainable future through business. To improve the world by growing and strengthening a network of leaders who use the power of business to make a positive net social, environmental, and economic impact.

Other Sustainability Student Organizations:
-Resorative Justice (REJust)
-Women in Business (WIB)
-Student Alliance For Sexual Safety (SASS)
-IHI Open School Chapter (PSU/OHSU Open School)
-Camions of Care PSU (COC-PSU)
-Student Animal Liberation Coalition (SALC)
-Planned Parenthood Generation Action Team (GAT)
-American Indian Science and Engineering Society
-American Institute of Architect Students (AIAS)
-American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
-Biology Investigation and Outreach
-Wildlife Science and Conservation Club
-Student Homelessness Advocates, Resources & Education (SHARE)
-Student Addressing Urban & Community Issues (SAUCI)
-Students in Transportation, Engineering & Planning (STEP)

The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

Science Research Teaching Center Native Garden – The Environmental Club has managed this native garden since the 1990s. The garden strip runs along an entire city block and is located next to a well-used sidewalk. The garden features plants that are found in Oregon, signage indicating the names of most plants, a dry streambed, and a nurse log with mosses.

Community Orchard - Stroll through 30+ species of fruit trees or study at the cob bench in our Orchard. This space utilizes permaculture principles to mimic the processes of natural systems. Each year, the Orchard is one of many placemaking sites activated during the city-wide Village Building Convergence. This spring placemaking festival combines community building, art and ecological design. The Orchard is maintained through a partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). *STUDENT GOVERNED*

Learning Garden – The Learning Gardens Laboratory (LGL) is a 12-acre garden education site located in Southeast Portland that provides K-13, university students and community members hands-on and place-based education in sustainable gardening, healthy nutrition, and permaculture. Education at LGL supports improved academic achievement, leadership development, and the development of sustainable local food systems. Established in 2005, LGL exists as a unique partnership between Portland State University, Portland Public Schools, Portland Parks and Recreation, and Oregon State University Extension Service. The Learning Gardens Lab serves as model of community-based education focused on a hands-on and practical learning tool: the garden. Through garden-based education and outreach, this site serves Lane Middle School students, PSU students, SUN Program participants, Community Transition School students, OSU Extension Service horticulture students and Master Gardeners, and more. Graduate Assistants from the LSE program also coordinate a Multicultural Family Learning Garden for Lane Middle School families who are learning to grow their own food. In addition, PSU Graduate Assistants and interns harvest produce from LGL and deliver it to Lane Middle School where it is distributed to families who need it through our partnership with the Lane SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) School. PSU also offers senior Capstone service-learning classes in partnership with LGL including Environmental Education through a Native American Lens, Grant Writing for the Environment, Sustainable Food Systems, and Learning Gardens and Civic Affairs. Additionally, many PSU courses require Community-Based Learning and our site is one where these volunteer hours can be fulfilled. In addition to these educational opportunities, our partners from Oregon State University’s Extension Service demonstrate sustainable, organic gardening techniques at LGL through the Organic Gardening Certification Program, and train and mentor students from the Community Transition Center, a Portland Public School on site, in horticulture.

Permaculture Demonstration Garden – Along the west side of Smith Student Union, students maintain a demonstration garden which shares ecologically-sustainable land management practices. The garden includes groundcovers, native plants, a pathway, and other """"permaculture-friendly"""" plants.

Native American Student and Community Center (NASCC) - This rooftop garden highlights native medicinal plants with ethnobotanical significance to the Pacific Northwest's indigenous communities. Signage highlights historical and contemporary uses of native plants.

Oak Savanna - South of Science Research and Teaching Center, the Savanna includes 5 oak trees and one pine tree. Additionally, the space is home to native plants which include camas, lupine, grasses, poppies, and yarrow. The space is used as an educational classroom and includes a meeting area comprised of 28 tree stumps. Staff in the Student Sustainability Center have created a learning module that is available to the campus for use in their learning activities.

The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Fifth Avenue Cinema:
The 5th Avenue Cinema exists to operate and promote the 5th Avenue Cinema; the only operating college cinema in Oregon and a very beloved part of the PSU community. It is our mission to be a center of film on campus and within the city of Portland.Our central functions are: To host weekly screenings of historically and/or artistically significant films; To foster community for students interested in film; To support student filmmakers and show their work at the cinema; To provide a free venue for student groups and non-profits that wish to show a film; To collaborate with other local film organizations; To provide a valuable educational experience for the students that staff the cinema; To continually improve the 5th Avenue Cinema which has been existence since the 1970s.

Littman and White Galleries:
The Littman and White Galleries are student-run exhibition spaces at Portland State University. Our mission is to provide the tools for a critical experience of visual culture through direct exposure to a comprehensive program of contemporary art for students and community members. We envision the Littman and White Galleries as centers for cultural enrichment where an indispensable art experience is accessible to all perspectives and levels of education. We value the educational experience made available to Portland State students and the broader community by the work of this organization. This includes the invaluable vocational opportunities available to the members of this organization. We value diversity in artists, media and opinions. We value sustainable work practices to ensure maintenance and security for the future of this organization. We also value the relationships built between the gallery, the university, and the regional creative community. Our aesthetics are focused on contemporary art practices. Our programming reflects the contemporary art community by incorporating guest curators, auxiliary exhibitions, and large events taking place on campus. Our goal is to present work that challenges our audience both conceptually and visually. By focusing on emerging and mid-career artists, we aim to present burgeoning trends in contemporary art that can be accessible to anyone. We see our exhibitions as educational, timely, and contextually relevant. Littman and White Galleries are on the second floor of Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW Broadway Avenue. Littman Gallery is in room 250 of SMSU, while White Gallery is located in room 289 of SMSU, situated between rooms 238 and 232.

Portland State Professional Sound:
The purpose of this organization is to provide sound reinforcement, lighting, and production assistance for on-campus events that enrich the greater PSU community. In addition to this, we promote music and music technology education, and bring free musical performances to the campus that are representative of the diverse tastes and experiences of the community. We achieve this goal in the most financially, socially, and ecologically sustainable manner possible within our means.

The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

President's Dviersity Mini-Grants Program:
The Office of Global Diversity & Inclusion and the Diversity Action Council (DAC) seek to promote a positive campus climate for diversity, support the development of diversity curriculum, enhance communications, and assist in the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body, faculty, staff, and administration. Support may be requested for diversity-­related curricular development projects, campus events and programs, or research, including but not limited to the evaluation of campus diversity programs.

Student Building Fee: each yea the student free committee sends out a request to all students, faculty and staff to submit ideas to improve the physical campus. These ideas can range from improving engery efficiency to increasing accessibility and safety for students. This year the Student Building Fee had approximately $600,000 to allocate to a variety of projects. The Student Fee Committee selects their projects during the Spring term.

Speaker Boards Funds: The Speakers Board disperses grants funded by student fees. We consider requests for funds from student organizations and departments that bring speakers or performers of educational importance to Portland State. The parent committee that oversees the Speakers Board is the Student Activities and Leadership Programs Advisory Board. The Speakers Board has a budget of approximately $20,000 and average proposals typically fall in the range of $500- $2500. The most successful proposals secure financial support beyond the Speakers Board funds. No one event will be given more than $5000 per event (this would be with multiple groups). No group or department will be allocated more than $2500 per academic year.

The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

PSU hosts many events related to sustainability each year. Events with an asterisk are student-governed.

- Social Sustainability Month* - a month long program with events and workshops celebrating social sustainability
- PSU CleanTech Challenge - competition for campus cleantech innovators and entrepreneurs.
- Urban Ecological Research Symposium - hosted at PSU a consortium of people form various educational institutions, state and federal agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations and businesses, as well as independent professionals and students disinterested in supporting urban ecosystem research and creating an information sharing network of people that collect and use ecological data in Portland metro area.
- Weekly transportation seminars - since 2000, the weekly seminar are supported by the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the National Institute for Transportation and Communities.
- Bicycle workshops - hosted by the BikeHub, provides students hand on skills. Workshops include: commuting and maintenance 101, advanced maintenance, flat fix clinics, and women's maintenance night.
- Tiny House (ADU) Conference - a conference focusing on accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and initiative of ISS to make it easier and more affordable for Portland homeowner to construct a second house on their property and to provide affordable housing. Student create the designs of the homes.
- Portland State of Mind - hosted every October for 10 days, a variety of events including lectures, tours, and workshops to engage students, faculty and the community
- Elevating Impact Summit - annual summit that brings together hundreds of people from interdisciplinary backgrounds and diverse industries to learn about and celebrate social innovation.
- Village Building Convergence* - coalition of PSU Environmental Club, Sustainability Leaders Network and Student Sustainability Center
-Washington Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) - a new regional conference, this year's conference was hosted at PSU. Over 45% of the almost 600 attendees were students
-Annual Sustainability Celebration - an annual celebration highlighting the sustainability work of students, staff, and faculty at PSU
-Have your sei* - the Pacific Islander, Asian & Asian American Student Center (PIAAA) partnered with Pacific Climate =Warriors of 350Pacific.org to show world leaders that people everywhere are demanding swift action to address climate change.

The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

asterisks are student run programs

Social Sustainability Month*
Village Building Convergence*
Native American Heritage Month
Earth Days*
Earth Day of Service*
Alternative Spring Break*
EcoRep Winter Even Series*

The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

PSU's Outdoor Program was established in 1966 and offers a wide variety of programs, including trips and equipment rentals. Through the Outdoor Program, students have the chance to enhance their academic careers through leadership development opportunities and through finding affordable ways to escape and meet fellow students. In addition to providing outdoor trips, the Outdoor Program also manages PSU's climbing center, an equipment rental center, and a volunteer program.

Trip leaders are trained and follow Leave No Trace principles.

The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

PSU has a year-long, interdisciplinary, first-year experience course called Freshman Inquiry. Sustainability is currently 1 of 8 themes that Freshmen can choose among to fulfill this portion of their general education requirement. Sustainability is also a learning outcome for all undergraduate students.

The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Sustainability Scholars: awards $5,000 grants for four consecutive years to incoming freshmen in the University Honors College who are interested in pursuing undergraduate research with a focus on urban sustainability. The scholars meet regularly as a groups with their faculty mentors to discuss, research, and implement ideas to make the Portland State campus more sustainable. They are encouraged to pursue sustainability- related internships, and agree to pursue a senior these on a sustainability-related topic.

Sustainability Volunteer Program: gives students the opportunity to engage in activities that create a more environmentally friendly, fun, and socially just campus. By taking part in the program student engage in 2-4 hours of volunteer services each week throughout the academic term. Developed by students for students, the SVP helps students find their niche and build a network of friends while working on projects that create positive change on campus.

EcoReps: sustainability leaders within the residence halls and campus recreation. They promote socially just and environmentally responsible lifestyles. EcoReps distribute resources, design innovative projects, and create coordinate, and host activities in residential halls and at Campus Recreation. They promote the philosophy that we can, and do, make a difference!

Student Sustainability Leadership Council: coalition of student leaders from organizations and departments across campus. Since 2008, the SSLC has served as a student voice for sustainability on campus by bridging administration, faculty, and students to create a vision for the future of PSU. This collective works to promote sustainability as a balance of social, environmental, and economic justice. Council members gain valuable leadership skills through hand on experience while building a strong network and community.

Leadership Fellows: a year long leadership development opportunity for student leaders. SSC convenes this cohort with support from Student Activities and Leadership Programs. Fellows take on projects and responsibilities within SSC programs and meet regularly to reflect on their student leadership experiences.

ISS Student Fellow: students get access to programs and activities that connect with the sustainability community, faculty and students to help develop professional skills, experience, and networks.

Living Lab: matches motivated faculty and students with University staff to work on projects that support PSU's campus sustainability goals. The program aims to bridge the gap between opportunities in education and improved campus operations by bringing together a diverse team of campus stakeholders to solve a problem, explore an applied research question, or ignite an initiative that assists the University in achieving its sustainability goals. Students benefit from gaining tangible skills through experiential education focused on campus sustainability issues.

Internship Program: connects students form any department at PSU with paid internships in sustainability-related industries and organizations where student can develop skills, knowledge, and experience to become the next generation of leaders in their fields.

Mentorship Program: students get an opportunity to connect with professionals in a variety of sustainability-related fields.

Peer Mentor Program: through University Studies (undergraduate program) the program is a community of exceptional students trained to provide leadership and academic support to their peers in mentor sessions. Mentor sessions are designed to help mentees gain experience with high quality academic work in small groups.

Student Orgs: there are several sustainability related students groups that give students an opportunity to gain professional and leadership skills

The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

PSU offers many opportunities to prepare for a sustainability-focused career. These include:

Career counseling with a sustainability focused career counselor - http://www.pdx.edu/sustainability/pathways-to-sustainability-careers

Careers in Sustainability page - http://www.pdx.edu/sustainability/pathways-to-sustainability-careers

Current opportunities page - http://www.pdx.edu/sustainability/current-opportunities

Internship program - http://www.pdx.edu/sustainability/sustainability-internship-program

Off-campus opportunities - http://www.pdx.edu/sustainability/off-campus-opportunities

Graduate Assistant positions - http://www.pdx.edu/ogs/graduate-assistantships

The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

Students in the ISS Student Fellow Program take the following pledge:
"Student Fellows of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions pledge to consider and explore the social, environmental, and economic consequences of their decisions and to contribute to a more sustainable world. Student Fellows advance their knowledge and skills during their time at PSU by taking sustainability related courses, attending campus and community events, and participating in volunteer, internship, leadership, or other professional development activities."

Students receive a graduation honor cord and also a certificate of recognition when they graduate for taking the pledge.

The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Student newsletter: Sent to over 2,000 students each month, the newsletter shares opportunities, news, interviews, and other great resources.

Reuse communities: Through Facebook and the PSU Switchboard, students can post and respond to opportunities and physical items. This builds a community of reuse.

ReUse Room and Supply Studio: this is a free office supply and art/craft supply exchange program. Items are donated from departments and can be taken by students, staff and faculty. The ReUse Room also includes reusable mugs and other valuable items.

ISS offers several opportunities for students to receive funding to attend conferences or to help advance student research.

Leadership Conference: annual conference for Student Activities and Leadership program with three rotating themes - Social Justice, Sustainability, and Service

The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):

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.