Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.77
Liaison Jenny McNamara
Submission Date March 1, 2022

STARS v2.2

Portland State University
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Amanda Wolf
Program + Assessment Coordinator
Campus Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
Disaster Resilience and Recovery Action Group (DRRAG)

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? :
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe?:
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership?:
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? :
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability:

"ISS's ongoing engagement with the City of Portland on disaster resilience dates from 2017, when we worked with the City to develop the Resilient Infrastructure Planning Exercise (RIPE). This initiative revealed the interdependencies between different infrastructure systems and developed priorities for getting infrastructure assets back online as soon as possible following a disaster. That initial engagement bore a body of work supporting various resilience and recovery efforts in our region (see below for report).

After RIPE, ISS continued to convene its offshoot the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Action Group (DRRAG), a group of City employees from eight infrastructure bureaus. This group is focused on creating a resilience strategy for Portland, furthering recovery planning and improving coordination and collaboration across bureaus.

ISS has since continued to engage with a variety of resilience- and recovery-focused projects across the region. We are committed to transforming the institutional and cultural structures that prevent us from building resilience: centering community--especially frontline and underserved communities--in resilience planning and holding space for recovery planning ahead of a disaster to ensure that we ""build back better"" and further our vision of a just and sustainable region.

Our current projects include:

Working with the DRRAG to design a resilience strategy for the City of Portland
Researching Covid-19 recovery to distill lessons learned for recovery after a natural disaster like the Cascadia Earthquake
Updating the Mitigation Action Plan for the City of Portland"


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
USGS-PSU Partnership

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (2nd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (2nd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (2nd partnership):
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? (2nd partnership):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):

"The USGS-PSU Partnership (UPP), established in 2007, is an innovative joint program between the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Oregon Water Science Center (ORWSC) and Portland State University (PSU).

The goal of the UPP is to facilitate advancements in water science in Oregon by catalyzing collaborative research, creating opportunities for PSU students to work in tandem with ORWSC staff, and sharing data and resources. The work is interdisciplinary, drawing faculty and students from multiple colleges and departments.

In 2019, PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS) joined the UPP to provide professional project and partnership management. This has created more research funding pathways, strengthened student engagement, initiated connections between USGS and PSU researchers and increased value for both organizations.

ISS staff are now charting a path for a truly transformative partnership, one that will impact water science and resource management across the state and region. This modern partnership will serve as a functional model for future public agency-university partnerships.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):
Waste Minimization Team at the Port of Portland

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (3rd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? (3rd partnership):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):

The Waste Minimization Team is comprised of four (4) Portland State University Community Environmental Services (CES) student staff who monitor all the unique materials streams throughout the Port of Portland, with an emphasis on the Portland International Airport (PDX) headquarter offices, public areas, airport vendors, and airport maintenance. The Waste Minimization Team also provides outreach and technical assistance for the PDX Food Donation Program, which diverts intact food to hungry folks in the region. The partnership between CES and Port of Portland has resulted in outlining best practices for materials management at airports, nationally.

Partnering since 2003, Portland State students take the lead on projects, designing posters that encourage recycling, spending time on the front lines separating materials for recycling and reuse and conducting food waste studies at PDX. The partnership between CES students and Port officials has produced many innovative airport waste minimization programs, including:

-Beverage Collection Stations — allows passengers to empty liquids from water bottles and other containers before passing through security. The project initially saved the Port $30,000 in annual labor costs by reducing the number of times janitors had to empty garbage stations.

-Food Waste Program — keeps food waste from going into landfills. A food composting program was created that analyzes waste streams and provides rewards to employees who use the green food waste bins. 20 tons of food waste per month are composted at the airport.

-Green Durable Plates for Dine In — a pilot program that provided reusable plates to food vendors and helped them reduce the use of to-go containers. It helped reduce waste from to-go packaging by 73 percent. Every PDX food vendor participating in the program said they would highly recommend that it continue beyond the pilot phase.


A brief description of the institution’s other community partnerships to advance sustainability:

Smart Trees:
PSU's Digital City Testbed Center (DCTC) and ISS are partnering with researchers inside and outside Portland State University to track the health of urban trees using sensor technology. The sensors monitor everything from temperature and humidity to air quality at the ground and in the canopy to help track the health of urban trees in an effort to better preserve them and the communities they benefit. The Smart Trees team includes researchers from PSU, Reed College, Washington State University-Vancouver, and The Nature Conservancy. Members of the team are also exploring the distribution of urban trees in underserved neighborhoods and the public health impacts of this inequity.

Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC):
TREC, the Transportation Research and Education Center for Portland State University, houses the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, or NITC, and the archives of its predecessor grant program, the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, or OTREC. TREC also administers the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation, or IBPI, and other transportation grants and programs. We produce timely, practical research useful to transportation decision makers and support the education of future transportation professionals through curriculum development and student participation in research.

Community Environmental Services:
A student-staffed organization, Community Environmental Services (CES) has more than 20 years of experience working with local governments, organizations and businesses to to institute efficient recycling, waste reduction and resource sustainability programs. CES has worked with the Port of Portland, New Seasons Market, the City of Portland, Nike, and many others.

Green Building Research Laboratory:
Funded by the Institute for Sustainable Solutions and the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST), the Green Building Research Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for research, testing and evaluation of green building materials and practices. The lab offers several options for industry partners to connect—from equipment rental to joint research projects.

Impact Entrepreneurs:
The PSU's Impact Entrepreneurs program supports social entrepreneurship through leadership training, field studies, mentorship programs and the Social Innovation Incubator, which provides startup resources to nascent nonprofits and businesses working to address social issues.

Transforming Partnerships:
Moving towards a sustainable and just region is a complex and long-term endeavor. Collaborative, cross-organizational partnerships are critical tools for tapping into new approaches to the accelerating challenges we face while sustaining pressure on these problems as they morph and change. But for a partnership to address complex challenges and achieve ambitious goals we must think differently about them: Transformative partnerships support organizational evolutions that unlock new collaborative potential and ensure that the cross-organizational pursuit can adapt and persist across time. We are developing transformative partnerships in a few different ways, including: Participating in a global network of City-University partners (including London, Dublin, Tempe, and Mexico City) that are committed to the practice of building transformative partners
Building tools and processes that support the development of transformative partnership, including a board game and process
Developing research and resources on the topic (see below)


Website URL where information about the institution’s community partnerships to advance sustainability is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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