Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.15
Liaison Paul Scanlon
Submission Date Feb. 29, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Slippery Rock University
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Paul Scanlon
Special Assistant to the President
President's Office/Sustainability
"---" 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 Yes
Public Engagement Yes Yes
Air and Climate Yes Yes
Buildings Yes Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes Yes
Energy Yes Yes
Grounds Yes Yes
Purchasing Yes No
Transportation Yes Yes
Waste Yes Yes
Water Yes No
Diversity and Affordability Yes Yes
Health, Wellbeing and Work Yes Yes
Investment No No
Other Yes Yes

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

As addressed in SRU's Strategic Plan Trend 5, one of Slippery Rock's goals is to "increase the number of sustainability components within goal courses in the Liberal Studies Program."

In addition, the stated desire of the President and Provost is to develop a cross-disciplined undergraduate degree in Sustainability.

The Education Subcommittee of the President's Commission on Sustainability recently succeeded in the completing an action step through the development and offering of a 12-credit Sustainability Certificate program.


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

Our plan to advance sustainability in the curriculum will be measured using a review of the sustainability components added to goal courses, with the STARS Report Curriculum Score (AC-1 through AC-8) being the metric reviewed annually.


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

President's Commission on Sustainability, Education Subcommittee
Office of the Provost
Office of Sustainability
All Academic Departments


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

As addressed in SRU's Strategic Plan, Trend 5, one of Slippery Rock's goals is to "Engage students in sustainability projects on campus and in the surrounding communities." Three specific groups, in addition to independent faculty initiatives, advance sustainability research as a core component of their mission:
1. Green Fund Advisory Group
2. Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator, and
3. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research

One action step included in the Strategic Plan to achieve this goal is to "continue to fully support the Green Fund to encourage participation by students, faculty and staff" (the Green Fund Grant program provides up to $20,000 per project and $40,000/year for sustainability projects, including research projects).

The Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator also offers fellowships funded by local businesses and nonprofit organizations to support sustainable research projects (such as the current aquaponics demonstration and research project) through the work of approximately 12 student interns each semester.

Graduate assistants at the Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research also conduct sustainability research in permaculture, organic gardening, and a variety of other topics..


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

Measurable objectives include the the number and funding levels of sustainability related research conducted during three-year rolling windows, compared to total research projects and funding levels for the entire university (these are criteria used in the University of Indonesia GreenMetric annual sustainability survey, which we participate in each year). Our strategy is generally to celebrate/publicize our successes, strive to attract incoming students interested in such research, and strive to continuously increase the amount of sustainability research conducted each year.

The number of Green Fund Grants and their funding levels are also tracked each year to measure our progress in this area, as is research conducted by graduate assistants employed at the Macoskey Center, by student interns at the Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator, and through other academic departments.


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

Administration and Finance Department
Office of the Provost
Green Fund Advisory Board
Office of Sustainability
Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Research and Education
Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator


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

As addressed in SRU's Strategic Plan Trend 5, SRU's goals include:
1. To "increase the opportunities for students to learn about sustainability and get involved in sustainability efforts on campus";
2. To "Increase faculty and staff awareness and participation in sustainability projects through various dissemination efforts, including web pages, informational pieces, etc.":
3. To "develop Sustainable Living Learning communities within the residential halls.";
4. To "Incorporate sustainability talking points into campus tours";
5. To "Engage students in sustainability projects on campus."; and
6. To "Make sustainable education a part of the "Week of Welcome"


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

Included in SRU's Strategic Plan, Trend Five are specific sustainability goals, action steps and measurement metrics against baselines established as part of the plan. Progress updates to each action step are updated annually for submission to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Specific measures and time frames were also established within our Climate Action Plan for campus engagement activities such as the behavioral change programs designed to encourage more sustainable lifestyles and conserve our resources.

Some of the measurable objectives already achieved as part of the Campus Engagement Plan include:
1. Completion of thea "Campus Sustainable Features Map", now available for use in Admissions Walking Tours, as well as being available for viewing/downloading from the Sustainability website).
2. Tracking the number of students who register for sustainable education activities such as Earth Week films, lectures and other activities.
3. Tracking the number of students, staff and faculty who electronically sign the Energy Action Pledge each year.
4. Tracking the traffic on our sustainability website pages and facebook site.
5. Tracking the number of new sustainable courses/components in the Liberal Studies program.


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

Office of Sustainability
President's Commission on Sustainability, Outreach Subcommittee
Office of Student Life
Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research
Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator


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

In addition to items described above (some of which apply to both on-campus and off-campus campus engagement goals), additional Strategic Plan Trend 5 goals include:
1. To "develop sustainability workshops as a service to the surrounding communities."
2. To "document the results of campus sustainability efforts and share those results locally, regionally, and nationally".

An ongoing program managed by the School of Business, the Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator (SEA), is also a key program used to engage the public (specifically local businesses and nonprofits) through student interns that assist organizations in advancing their sustainability plans. The SEA sponsors the Slow Foods community club and coordinates monthly meetings/dinners, and regularly sponsors Penn State Agricultural Extension workshops open to the public.

The Office of Sustainability provides presentations to the community-based Sustainable Slippery Rock nonprofit organization (recently on topics such as SRU's sustainability efforts, photovoltaic system design guidelines, and energy-efficient residential design case histories).

Graduate assistants and student workers at the Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research regularly provided public tours of the sustainable features and renewable energy systems demonstrated within the Harmony House and on site. They also offer guided tours of several natural hiking trails on the 71-acre site/Audubon Sanctuary.


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

Measurable objectives that are tracked annually include:
- Number of attendees at sustainable/environmental workshops, lectures, and tours;
- Number of articles published in local, national, and international publications;
- Sustainable website traffic and Facebook followers; and
- Number of student intern engagements with local businesses.


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

Office of Sustainability
President's Commission on Sustainability, Outreach Subcommittee
Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Research & Education
McKeever Environmental Education Center
Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator


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

SRU has signed the President's Climate Commitment, approved a Climate Action Plan, and included the following goals in our Strategic Plan Trend 5:
- to "encourage reduction of fossil fuels used in the motor pool by moving to alternative energy sources as they develop,"
- to "create incentives for students, faculty, and staff to reduce automobile use",
- to "implement a campus energy policy designed to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible to meet the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment",
- to "reduce campus waste and increase campus recycling to ultimately become a zero-waste community", and
- to "increase purchase of green/renewable energy and pursue renewable energy demonstration projects whenever possible."


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

Our annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory provides the best measure of our progress against all of the goals stated above; our ultimate goal and time frame is to become carbon neutral by the year 2037.

As indicated in our Climate Action Plan, we also have established intermediate goals and time frames: reducing our GHG emissions 20% by 2017 (already met/exceeded), reducing emissions by 70% by the year 2027, and achieving full carbon neutrality by 2037.

Our central heating plant Title V Operating Permit report also captures all SRU Campus air emissions data required to be reported on by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and is submitted annually.

Additional measurements include tracking our vehicle energy use (gallons of fuel used annually), and the number of high efficiency or electric vehicles purchased to replace grounds crew gasoline- and diesel-powered fleet vehicles.


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

Office of Sustainability
President's Commission on Sustainability
Facilities Operations and Maintenance Department


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

SRU's Strategic Plan Trend 5, goals include:
1. To "ensure that by 2015 the entire campus meets the requirements of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)" (all new buildings are required to be LEED-Certified, and major renovations are to be designed to LEED standards);
2. To "implement a campus energy policy designed to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible to meet the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment';
3. To "consolidate use of classrooms to fewer buildings at night and in the summer.";
4. To "implement maximum and minimum temperature set points for heating and cooling within all buildings and educate building occupants about those set points"; and
5. To "meter and display utility usage in campus buildings and connect all buildings to an automated energy monitoring system so that educated choices can be made about building utilization".


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

Progress on each action step is documented each year in our Strategic Plan update report, and the cumulative impact is reflected in our annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

Results achieved through an upcoming Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement (currently in negotiations) will also provide additional data and time frames for improving our energy and water conservation performance. SRU was recognized as one of only three colleges to receive the National APPA Sustainability Award in 2015.


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

Facilities and Planning Office
Office of Sustainability


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

SRU's Strategic Plan Trend 5, SRU's goal regarding advancing sustainability in our Dining Services/Food is to "encourage food vendors to utilize certified products, such as fair trade coffee, seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, and locally grown products."

In addition, our goal to reduce campus waste and increase campus recycling also advances sustainability in Dining/Food services.

Since Dining/Food Services is SRU's single largest vendor, a Sustainable Food Services Subcommittee has been established within the President's Commission on Sustainability to focus more of our efforts in this area and to work closely with the vendor, AVI, to continue improving our performance in this area.

The Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator has also implemented a "SRU Rock Roast" triple-certified coffee program, in which coffee grown from shade-grown organic coffee plantations will be produced and sold in 2016, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institute's Migratory Bird Center and Golden Valley Farms. This structure creates "profits" that are to be used to fund students' immersive sustainability experiences working and learning on a coffee plantation in South America.


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

Our Food services vendor, AVI, is contractually obligated to execute a number of sustainability policies and practices. Measurable objectives include the Dining Services contribution to our recycling program, our waste minimization goals, and the provision of pre-consumer food scraps to our composting program, which is measured and quantified in our annual greenhouse gas inventory.


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

AVI
SRU Dining Services
Office of Sustainability
Sustainable Food Services Subcommittee, President's Commission on Sustainability


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

As addressed in SRU's Strategic Plan Trend 5, Slippery Rock's goal is to "implement a campus energy policy designed to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible to meet the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment."

Another goal is to "increase purchase of green/renewable energy and pursue renewable energy demonstration projects whenever possible".

The President's Commission on Sustainability, the Energy Conservation Committee, the Facilities Planning and Design Department, and the Office of Sustainability all work together closely to improve our facilities energy efficiency (including collaborating on the 2016 Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement to improve our physical facilities energy performance).

The Residence Life Office also aids our efforts in developing and carrying out behavioral change programs to encourage more sustainable life styles, including helping to promote energy competitions among the residence halls.


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

Our efforts at advancing sustainability in energy are measured directly (via the PA State System of Higher Education "Utility Usage Report" for each fiscal year) as well as indirectly through our annual greenhouse gas inventory, which includes documentation of on-site green power generation as well as Renewable Energy Certificates purchased each year.

Mid-term and long-term action steps included in our Climate Action Plan (which can be downloaded at www.sru.edu/sustainability) provide specific, measurable objectives in energy savings due to various projects and strategies.

Measurable energy-related objectives that are reported on annually include the facilities Energy Utilization Index (E.U.I.), total energy consumption, total energy costs, energy use per student, and proportion of fossil fuels used in our central heating plant.


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

Facilities & Planning Department
Office of Sustainability
President's Commission on Sustainability


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

Contained in the Strategic Plan is an action step to "Revise the Facilities Master Plan to better define growth and include a campus grounds component that incorporates sustainability concepts and practices, and identifies green spaces, wetlands, environmentally sensitive areas, and areas of academic interest/training".

The Office of Sustainability is represented on the university committee engaged in selecting and working with an outside consultant to update our Master Facilities Plan in 2016, and provided information to the committee on "sustainable grounds master plan considerations" that we hope to be incorporated in the master plan.

The Land Use Request Form is also managed by the Office of Sustainability to ensure that no use of university property, either temporary or permanent, has adverse effects on our environment. The Office of Sustainability coordinates reviews of proposed land uses with the SRU Environmental Zoning Committee and the Facilities Grounds Crew Supervisor before advising the President to approve or reject such requests.


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

One method of measuring progress in the sustainable Grounds plan is to track the campus grounds component of the Facilities Master Plan, scheduled to be updated in 2016..

Other measurable objectives include tracking the number of LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED EB OM) certified buildings on campus, along with monitoring the success of the Integrated Pest Management, Erosion Control, and Landscape Management Plan and the Building Exterior and Hardscape Management Plan developed for the Macoskey Center Harmony House LEED EB OM Silver certification program (to be used as a prototype program to be rolled out across campus).

Finally, a GIS mapping of the campus grounds was completed in 2013 and will be used to track items such as acreage of mowed (vs. "no-mow") areas, as we intend to evaluate the benefits of planting more indigenous plantings and ground cover at steep slope areas currently trimmed with weed whackers.


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

Facilities and Planning Department Grounds Crew Supervisor
Macoskey Center for Sustainable Research and Education
Office of Sustainability
Environmental Zoning Committee


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

As addressed in SRU's Strategic Plan Trend 5, Slippery Rock's goal is to "implement a purchasing policy that stimulates purchasing of environmentally friendly, cost-competitive products and services. This would require recycled content and minimal packaging."


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

A review of SRU's purchasing policy updates, major vendor agreements (such as the Print Management Service contract implemented in 2015), and the percentage of recycled materials purchased (such as 30% recycled copy paper) is performed annually as part of our Strategic Plan update reports.

Less direct methods of measuring the sustainability of our purchasing plan is through our annual greenhouse gas inventory and waste minimization plan. GHG emissions due to paper used, paper savings tracked by the new Print Management Service program, and ultimately tons of materials recycled and landfilled all provide means of measuring the success of our strategies on an annual basis.

The new "Green Leaves" Departmental Sustainability Certification program being piloted will also contribute to measuring informal purchases made at the academic department level.


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

Purchasing Office
Office of Sustainability
Each University Department


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

As addressed in SRU's Strategic Plan Trend 5, Slippery Rock's goals include to "create incentives for students, faculty, and staff to reduce automobile use", to "encourage reduction of fossil fuels used in the motor pool by moving to alternative energy sources as they develop", and to revise the Facilities Master Plan including an updated campus transportation component that, when implemented, will optimize the use of the Happy Bus and encourage bicycling, walking, and other alternative modes of transportation."


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

Transportation fuel use by SRU's automotive and grounds equipment fleet is tracked annually as part of our greenhouse gas inventory, as is the replacement of older, inefficient vehicles with electric club cars and other high efficiency vehicles.

Tracking progress on the transportation component of the updated Facilities Master Plan, when completed, will provide another method of measuring progress on larger scale transportation action steps (such as new commuter bus routes, use of higher efficiency buses, etc.).


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

Facilities & Planning Department, Operations and Maintenance
Office of Sustainability


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

One of the goals of SRU's Strategic Plan Trend 5 is to " reduce campus waste and increase campus recycling to ultimately become a zero-waste community." Action steps identified include introducing TerraCycling into Residence Housing, going to a single-stream recycling plan to increase the amount of recycling accomplished, installing filtered cold water-bottle filling stations around campus to minimize the use of disposable plastic water bottles, working with the Purchasing Department to reduce packaging materials, and initiating a community-wide e-waste collection day.


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

Recycling quantities are tracked by category each year through the Environmental Health and Safety Department, and quantities sent to landfill are logged through the Facilities & Planning Department. Annual updates are provided with our Strategic Plan update reports.


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

Environmental Health and Safety Department
Facilities & Planning Department
Office of Sustainability


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

SRU does not use potable water for irrigation purposes (except for two varsity athletic fields, the Egli Soccer Field and Kritchfield Baseball field), and has already installed many low-flow devices through an ESCO project executed several years ago, so the primary plan for advancing sustainability in Water is through ongoing implementation of our Energy Conservation Policy (which includes water conservation items) and through educating our students, faculty and staff through workshops, poster campaigns, and web/facebook postings. Our Energy Action Pledge campaign ("Small Steps, Big Payoff) also encourages water conservation by action steps such as reducing the time spent showering each day.


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

Our objective is to continuously reduce our water usage on a gallons/FTE basis. SRU's water usage is estimated by the municipal water authority, monitored by our Facilities Operations and Maintenance Department, and reported annually in the PA State System of Higher Education's Utility Usage Report compiled by an independent entity, Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute. Additional, new water conservation projects are also planned to be executed in the upcoming (2016) Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement.


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

Facilities Operation and Maintenance Department
Office of Sustainability


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

Goals related to advancing Diversity and Affordability from the SRU Strategic Plan , Trend Four - "Education as Access" include:
1. Improve student learning and success of low-income, first-generation students and students of color, (FGLI/SC) including first-year and transfer cohorts, as measured by improved retention and graduation rates, obtained through existing and expanded institutional research processes.
2. Identify and improve social, economic, and technological mobility issues

Additional goals and action steps related to this topic are included in Trend One: Global Challenges and Trend Three: Cultural Awareness, but are not included here for the sake of brevity.

Action Steps include the following:
- Identify institutional cultural, economic, and technological barriers that limit low income students’ success.
- Increase the amount of need-based funding from private sources (SRU Foundation, Inc.) and public sources (financial aid) for low income students.
- Strive to be affordable for eligible students from low- and middle-income families.
- Increase the number of need-based scholarship opportunities for prospective and current students.
- Decrease the total average debt of students at time of graduation.


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

Annual audits are completed to measure our success in this area, and included in our annual Strategic Plan update report are the following:
- Current private and public funding levels
- First-to-second year persistence for African-American and Hispanic students
- The number of Board of Governor’s Scholars
- A report on barriers that limit low income students' success for use in establishing additional action steps.

Measurable objectives also include SRU's performance in surveys such as the National Survey of Student Engagement, in which SRU outperformed many similar institutions (see http://www.sru.edu/offices/planning-resource-management-and-assessment/institutional-surveys for details), and the Education Trust report "Rising Tide: Do College Grad Rate Gains Benefit All Students?," in which SRU was ranked among the top 26 colleges in the country for improving the graduation rate for underrepresented students by 12% or more in 2015 (see more at: http://www.sru.edu/news/120215af).
http://www.sru.edu/news/120215a).

The President’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Diversity offers a variety of programs as part of our strategy - See more at: http://www.sru.edu/news/012615c#sthash.hy7Q9gff.dpuf..


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

Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office
President’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Diversity
President's Commission on Disability
President's Commission on Gender Identification and Sexual Orientation
President's Commission on the Status of Women
Career Services Department


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

The President's Commission on Wellness, created in 2014, is charged with developing, coordinating, and facilitating health and wellness programs on campus. The Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator also helps to advance health and wellbeing through supporting activities such as the Slow Foods Club and sustainable agriculture workshops taught on campus by the Penn State Agricultural Extension experts.


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

Measurable objectives achieved to date include implementing the following:
- Creating and implementing educational opportunities related to healthy (sustainable) lifestyles and free activities such as nutrition classes, a noon jogging club, zumba, yoga, and meditation classes;
- A 10,000 steps-a-day walking program
- A program offering personal trainers assistance to those wanting to enhance their fitness and health through exercise (on average, 140 people per year take advantage of this program);
- Promotion of our "Healthy U. Points" program designed to reduce health insurance premiums for staff (that averages 82% participation).

SRU's on-campus Student Health Services also provides clinical care, health promotion and public health services to all SRU students; total clinical and non-clinical services are tracked annually, with a total of 66,373 services provided in FY 2015.


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

President's Commission on Wellness
Student Health Services
Office of Sustainability
Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator


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

NA


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

NA


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

NA


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

NA


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

NA


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

NA


The institution’s definition of sustainability:

SRU's President's Commission on Sustainability has formally defined sustainability as "the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. For an action to be sustainable, it must be environmentally benign, economically justifiable, and socially just."


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:

SRU's strategic plan, specifically Trend 5, is solely dedicated to sustainability. It addresses sustainability in the following sections at SRU: Student Interaction, Education and Research, Administration and Finance, and Operations.


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

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.