Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 78.69
Liaison Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Submission Date Feb. 14, 2023

STARS v2.2

Santa Clara University
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Center for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Sustainability Action Plan: Leading Through Laudato Si’

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

The Center for Sustainability and Division of Mission and Ministry are embarking on a year-long strategic planning process to develop a sustainability action plan that takes us through 2030, rooted in Laudato Si’. This initiative brings stakeholders from across campus together to define shared goals, draft a strategy for meeting them, and implement them over time.

In 2015, Pope Francis released his momentous encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, as a call to the world to focus on caring for the natural environment and all people, as well as broader questions about the relationship between God, humans, and the Earth.

SCU is proud to be one of the 130+ founding universities from around the world that have committed to Pope Francis’ 7-Year Journey Towards Integral Ecology through the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. These universities will define and implement unique paths to deepen their community’s integral ecology in the areas of academics and research, operations, campus life, and outreach.

We look forward to discovering how our new Laudato Si’ Action Plan can further SCU’s commitment to building a more just, humane, and sustainable world. The new Action Plan will build on our strong foundation of existing programs and goals outlined in SCU's original Sustainability Strategic Plan in 2019.

Over the 2022-2023 school year, the Center for Sustainability, along with the Division of Mission and Ministry, is launching our Action Plan Journey. Over 440 campus members provided their input to roughly 80 participants in Working Groups, a Focus Group, and an Advisory Team. Our end goal is to create a new sustainability Action Plan that takes us through 2030, rooted in Laudato Si’.

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
PA 02

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
Sustainability Across the Curriculum

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

Santa Clara University is an AASHE Center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum (SAC). We held our first workshop as an AASHE Center in June 2019. After moving the workshop online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the SAC workshop is now a virtual course, divided into short modules that can be completed at one’s own pace. The sequence of the modules moves from the general to the specific. We begin by "going big," helping participants to think about which overarching or global sustainability goals they want to inspire their students to address. We end by helping participants design the sustainability learning objectives for their course, assignments, and lesson plans. In between, there are modules on locating their course strategically in their institution's curriculum, Ignatian Pedagogy for Sustainability (especially for Jesuit school faculty), environmental justice, using the campus as a living lab for learning, and community-based learning. There is also a module for staff and faculty members at campus Offices of Sustainability who run professional development programs on sustainability across the curriculum. Throughout, we point participants to a wealth of resources, including background readings about each module topic, how faculty members in their respective disciplines are teaching sustainability, and curriculum repositories with example syllabi, assignments, and lesson plans.

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
AC 07, IN 6

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Climate Neutrality (Scopes 1 & 2)

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

As one of the first higher education institutions to set an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality, Santa Clara University is one of the few university campuses that has reached carbon neutrality in energy used for campus operations in 2020.

SCU has had a public climate commitment since 2007, when then-President, the late Fr. Paul Locatelli, recognized the urgency to care for our common home and joined the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, now known as the Climate Leadership Commitment. Since then, Presidents Fr. Michael Engh and Fr. Kevin O'Brien have each reaffirmed this presidential commitment. They have called for progress to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions and encouraged the Center for Sustainability to catalyze infusion of climate action, sustainability practices, and environmental justice work into the university’s academics, campus life, and community engagement.

Santa Clara University’s commitment to zero net greenhouse gas emissions has two components: Stage 1: those associated with campus energy use by 2020, and stage 2: those associated with energy use and transportation (commute and business travel) by the end of 2029. SCU has decreased energy use per square foot by 42% since 2005. Our Energy Master Plan sets a continued, ambitious course to reduce energy usage through efficiency upgrades, metering, and retro-commissioning building systems.

SCU plans to continue driving down our reliance on fossil fuels by reducing energy demand, expanding onsite renewable generation, and increasing onsite-energy storage capacity. These efforts directly reduce the University’s Scope 1 (natural gas and fuel for the University fleet) and 2 (electricity) greenhouse gas emissions. Recent $6 million gifts will double our on-site photovoltaic generation.

SCU’s carbon neutrality strategy also includes strategic offsets to mitigate unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions. The University prioritizes purchasing carbon credits from social entrepreneurs working on climate solutions and resilience. In 2020, SCU was able to purchase carbon credits from a social entrepreneur organization that participated in Miller Center’s Climate Resilience Accelerator. SCU, with the help of students, faculty, and staff, is using our carbon neutrality efforts to help scale global carbon solutions and climate resiliency, especially in poor and low-income communities where the impacts of climate change hit the hardest.

Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
OP 1, OP 2, OP 6

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.