Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.66
Liaison Enid Cardinal
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Rochester Institute of Technology
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Enid Cardinal
Senior Sustainability Advisor to the President
Office of the President
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

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

Difference Maker 5:
In the service of ensuring a sustainable planet, RIT will restore, ameliorate, and work within the systems and resources necessary to meet the needs of the current generation in an equitable manner without jeopardizing future generations.

Objective V.5.1
RIT will cultivate global citizens and leaders prepared to address the interconnected ecological, economic, social, and ethical challenges of creating a sustainable future.

Objective V.5.2
The RIT campuses will serve as living laboratories for and international models of campus sustainability, with infrastructure and operations designed to reflect our leadership in sustainability, adaptation, and resiliency.

Objective V.5.3
RIT will develop innovative curricula, programs, and research that foster a commitment to sustainability.

Objective V.5.4
RIT will partner, locally and internationally, with the communities in which it is engaged to advance sustainability and build resiliency.


A copy of the strategic plan:
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The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
No

A copy of the sustainability plan:
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The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
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Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
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The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
No

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From Climate Action Plan Update:
Engage campus faculty and students in finding energy solutions for deployment on campus

E - 44 Establish a retro-commissioning class that teaches students how to propose a building retro-commissioning project, from energy audit to design. It will provide students with realistic hands-on experience, as the provided solutions will be developed in collaboration with RIT FMS and focus on RIT buildings.

Increase academic opportunities related to carbon accounting

LT - 09 Incorporate carbon accounting projects into more classes. Carbon accounting is a new and growing field. Increasing students’ knowledge of carbon accounting will provide them with an additional marketable skill.

From University Strategic Plan:
Objective V.5.3
RIT will develop innovative curricula, programs, and research that foster a commitment to sustainability.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Climate Action Plan Update:

Engage campus faculty and students in finding energy solutions for deployment on campus

E - 41 Identify bio-based fuel alternatives for emergency generators.
E - 42 Identify renewable fuel alternatives to Natural Gas for heating plant.
E - 43 Encourage research into advancing absorption chiller technology.
E - 44 Establish a retro-commissioning class that teaches students how to propose a building retro-commissioning project, from energy audit to design. It will provide students with realistic hands-on experience, as the provided solutions will be developed in collaboration with RIT FMS and focus on RIT buildings.

Increase academic opportunities related to carbon accounting

LT - 06 Develop carbon maps of campus by land type to understand the amount of carbon currently sequestered on campus and develop strategies to increase sequestration. The Environmental Science department RIT currently conducts research and teaches classes related to soils and carbon sequestration. Students and faculty have begun to map the carbon sequestration of soils on campus. This research will be expanded to above ground biomass.

LT - 07 Determine the carbon input and output of different landscapes, specifically wetlands, incorporating all biomass. This will aid in the identification of potential sequestration and restoration projects on campus.
LT - 08 Improve information gathering and mapping of campus environments and species.
LT - 09 Incorporate carbon accounting projects into more classes. Carbon accounting is a new and growing field. Increasing students’ knowledge of carbon accounting will provide them with an additional marketable skill.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From University Strategic Plan:
Objective V.5.1
RIT will cultivate global citizens and leaders prepared to address the interconnected ecological, economic, social, and ethical challenges of creating a sustainable future.

From Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement Strategic Plan:
* Equip students with the skills and competencies they need to positively impact communities to which they belong or affiliate.
* Cultivate awareness of complex local, national, and global issues.
* Create and support learning opportunities for students that focus on addressing community issues and enhancing the skills and competencies necessary for leaders in the 21st century.

From Climate Action Plan Update: Engage building occupants in energy conservation efforts

E - 15 Develop behavior change programming to encourage personal responsibility for energy conservation in administrative, academic, and residential buildings.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the University Strategic Plan:

Objective V.5.4
RIT will partner, locally and internationally, with the communities in which it is engaged to advance sustainability and build resiliency.

Metrics for this objective are currently in development.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Climate Action Plan has set a target date of 2030 for carbon neutrality.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Through the Climate Action Plan the University has committed to all new construction being LEED silver or better.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Climate Action Plan Update:
Goal 1: Reduce RIT’s purchased energy use by 15% by 2020, 25% by 2025, and 40% by 2030

Goal 3 Fossil Fuel Free by 2045
E - 35 Expand on-site solar energy production to 4MW by 2020 and 6+MW by 2025.
E - 37 Install a total of 5 MW of consistent self-generation capacity available regardless of weather or sunlight.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Climate Action Plan Update:

Increase food security

R - 20 Create a separate plan to address food security and sustainability, including food production, sourcing, and research opportunities.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Climate Action Plan Update:

Goal 2 Net increase in carbon sequestration on campus landscapes by 40% by 2030

RIT will work to increase carbon sequestration on campus through landscaping strategies. This will be accomplished through changes in land management practices by campus staff, as well as contracted vendors performing landscaping services.

Reduce emissions associated with landscape maintenance

LT - 10 Engage classes in solving campus land use challenges.
LT - 11 Commit to Organic Landscape Practices, i.e. no synthetic fertilizers, by 2020.
LT - 12 Decrease the amount of grass being mowed/watered/detailed, i.e. no mow zones.
LT - 13 Establish a tree replacement policy, requiring two trees to be planted on campus from an approved species list for every one tree removed.
LT - 14 Utilize third party programs to gain recognition for efforts, such as Bee Friendly, Tree Campus, and Sustainable Sites.

Increase carbon storage by landscape type

LT - 15 Narrow the perimeter of what needs to be actively maintained, especially near forested and wetland areas, allowing more natural growth.
LT - 16 Explore storage potential of converting felled trees/landscape waste to biochar.
LT - 17 Identify projects to increase soil carbon storage.
LT - 18 Evaluate opportunities to convert fields to forest in order to increase available biomass for carbon sequestration.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Climate Action Plan Update:

SE - 01 By 2020, suppliers will be required to report on the emissions associated with their products and services.
SE - 02 By 2022, a procurement strategy will be developed that will drive carbon emissions reductions in RIT’s supply chain.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From the Climate Action Plan Update:

Goal 3 Reduce emissions associated with commuting by 40% by 2020, 45% by 2025, and 60% by 2030

Reduce commuter vehicle emissions

LT - 21 Host regular events to fill tire air pressure of commuters, increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.
LT - 22 Improve enforcement of LEFE parking spots on campus.
LT - 23 Develop a comprehensive strategy to encourage EV use on campus.
LT - 24 Require alternative-fueled or high efficiency vehicles for all on-campus shuttles in future contracts.
LT - 25 Track movement of commuter vehicles on campus to determine how to best manage parking areas.
LT - 26 Offer a carbon offset option for parking permit holders.

Increase use of alternative modes of transportation for commuting

LT - 28 Offer a parking pass for students for a remote parking lot with included bus pass to incentivize public transit.
LT - 29 Provide a ride matching software for free to the campus community to increase carpooling.
LT - 30 Expand bus routes to include more neighborhoods and areas of interest off-campus. Partner with University of Rochester and MCC to increase cost effective transit route opportunities.
LT - 31 Evaluate parking permit costs as alternative transportation options improve.

Increase active transportation infrastructure

LT - 32 Work with area municipalities and advocate for infrastructure improvements for bike and pedestrian safety.
LT - 33 Increase the amount of all-weather bike storage.
LT - 34 Require all campus shuttles be equipped with bike racks.
LT - 35 Improve campus bike/pedestrian infrastructure, including better-designed crosswalks and bike lanes on the campus loop.

Develop a culture of active transportation on campus

LT - 37 Better promote the Bike Repair Shop on campus and increase utilization.
LT - 38 Increase awareness of and enhance bike maps.
LT - 39 Better promote the National Bike Registry that is offered to RIT students for free through public safety’s website.
LT - 41 Develop incentives for cyclists.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Through a tuition containment program and a capital campaign drive for additional scholarship support, RIT will address the financial needs of promising low-income students.

Objective IV.3.1
Direct a specified amount of funding from capital campaign scholarship drive to support low-income and underrepresented students (e.g., Rochester City Scholars, Pell-eligible students, SAY Yes students).

Objective IV.3.2
Create a Study Abroad/Co-op Abroad scholarship fund for low-income students.

Objective IV.3.3
Double the number of Rochester City Scholars attending RIT.

RIT will eliminate the achievement gap between minority and majority students, becoming a model of inclusive excellence for all students.

Objective III.6.1
Using an asset-based assessment and research model, develop a profile of success factors and institutional challenges for minority males.

Objective III.6.2
Develop a comprehensive mentoring program for minority males in which two mentors are assigned to each student throughout his/her RIT career, engaging alumni where possible.

Objective III.6.3
Using the model of the biannual attrition study conducted in the President’s office, interview minority students who leave RIT before graduating.

Objective III.6.4
Develop a national model for the preparation, recruitment, and financial support of urban, minority, and low-income high school graduates through the Rochester City Scholars program and the RIT-Rochester Prep Charter School partnership.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
No

The formal statement in support of sustainability:
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The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):
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Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) No

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

RIT is a signatory to Second Nature's Climate Commitment. RIT has also signed on to the We Are Still In pledge.


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