Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.24
Liaison Paul Scanlon
Submission Date Feb. 22, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Slippery Rock University
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
3.00 / 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 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:

Adopting sustainable practices is included in Goal 7 of SRU's Short Range Strategic Plan


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)? :
Yes

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

A copy of the climate action plan:
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)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):

We are currently in the process of updating our Facilities Master Plan, with the Director of Sustainability assigned to the master planning committee and providing specific direction to the consultant to consider sustainability considerations (green space preservation, transportation alternatives, "build vertically when necessary" to preserve green spaces on campus, etc.) in developing the plan. Included in this plan is a space utilization analysis aimed at maximizing the efficiency of space use and minimizing the need for additional buildings, making the campus more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, and promoting our attractive, ecologically sound stormwater management wetlands/streams/retention pond system as a more visible living laboratory site. One measurable objective of the master campus plan is to permanently preserve over 150 acres of Audubon sanctuaries on campus. These areas are delineated on the Campus Sustainable Features Map that can be downloaded at www.sru.edu/sustainability.

Our Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity also publishes policies and procedures for faculty and management position searches which include diversity recruitment strategies for women and persons of color that extend beyond advertising; these can be viewed at:

http://www.sru.edu/offices/diversity-and-equal-opportunity/policies-procedures-samples-and-forms


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:

SRU's Long Range Strategic Plan 2025, specifically Trend 5, is solely dedicated to sustainability and has served as our road map for tracking progress in our sustainability initiatives. This plan can be downloaded from www.sru.edu/sustainability. Our plan to advance sustainability in the curriculum is intended to be a continuous improvement plan, with progress measured by continuous improvement in STARS Report Curriculum Scores (AC-1 through AC-8).

Specific goals and action steps listed in our long range strategic plan related to curriculum include the following:
A. EDUCATION & RESEARCH
SRU Goal - To increase the opportunities for students to learn about sustainability and get involved in sustainability efforts on campus and in the surrounding communities.
ACTION A.1: Increase the number of sustainability components within goal courses in the Liberal Studies Program
ACTION A.2: Develop Sustainable Living Learning communities within the residential halls.
ACTION A.3: Make sustainable education a part of the "Week of Welcome"


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

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research 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 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:

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 and/or summaries of progress to date are updated 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 sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement include:

Objective 1: Raise awareness of campus sustainability initiatives and projects;
Action Steps:
- Completion of the "Campus Sustainable Features Map", now available for use in Admissions Walking Tours, and available for viewing/downloading from the Sustainability website. A similar GIS mapping of all on-campus Audubon Sanctuaries, wetlands, and Biology Dept. Outdoor Classrooms has also been developed for use in our current Facilities Master Planning effort, and will be used to alert those proposing new land uses to avoid developments/activities that might have adverse impacts on sensitive environmental areas.

- Tracking the number of students who register for sustainable education activities such as Earth Week films, lectures and other activities, as well as sustainability-focused FYRST seminars and tours of our sustainability flagship demonstration site (The Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Research and Education).

- Tracking the number of students, staff and faculty who electronically sign the Energy Action Pledge each year.

- Tracking the traffic on our sustainability website and social media sites.

- Tracking the number of new sustainable courses/components in the Liberal Studies program.


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:

SRU's strategic long range plan action steps "A.7: Develop sustainability workshops as a service to the surrounding communities" and "A.9: Document the results of campus sustainability efforts and share those results locally, regionally, and nationally" address our efforts to increase our public engagement practices.

Measurable objectives that are tracked annually include:
- Number of attendees at sustainable/environmental workshops, lectures, and Macoskey Center tours;
- Number of student intern projects and engagements with local businesses through our Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator program (see www.seasru.com for additional details)

Progress against these objectives are tracked via Strategic Long Range Plan Updates at www.sru.edu/sustainability.


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:

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, reducing emissions by 70% by the year 2027, and achieving full carbon neutrality by 2037. As of FY 2018, SRU has reduced its net GHG emissions to 28,000 MTeCO2/year, a 35% reduction from base year 2005.

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. All of the above information can be viewed at www.sru.edu/sustainability, where the results of our annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories are published.

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. Results are published in our AASHE STARS Report OP-2 Outdoor Air Quality.


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:

Elements of our long range strategic plan that address buildings include action steps "C.2: Implement a campus energy policy designed to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible to meet the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment", "C.4: Ensure that by 2015 the entire campus meets the requirements of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)", "C.6: Implement maximum and minimum temperature set points for heating and cooling within all buildings and educate building occupants about those set points", "C.7: Consolidate use of classrooms to fewer buildings at night and in the summer", "C.10 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", and "C.11: Develop ESCO process to decrease Btu/sq. ft. consumption of energy on campus by 1.5%/year". Progress on each action step is documented in our Strategic Plan update reports, and the cumulative impact is reflected in our annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory, available for viewing at www.sru.edu/sustainability.


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:

SRU complies with, and regularly exceeds, the energy objectives set forth in the Strategic Energy Plan developed for the institutes of higher education in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).

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. Sample projects and strategies listed in the Climate Action Plan include:
- Implement 2011 Energy Conservation Policy
- Implement Energy Awareness Out-reach Program, smart metering, behavioral changes campaign
- Complete steam/condensate loop improvement projects
- Implement annual condensate trap maintenance program
- Insulate attics with little/no insulation
- Implement Phase I of Central Plant improvements
- Recommission/Energy Audit/LEED EBOM 5 percent of Existing Buildings each year

Many of these items have already been implemented and/or are included in the current Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement signed in 2017.


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:

Included in our Climate Action Plan is the following objective that addresses Food & Dining initiatives:
- "Increase dining sustainability initiatives: Work with AVI Fresh to provide increased selection and awareness of sustainable alternatives. Increase organic and local purchasing, serve less meat, serve MSC-certified seafood, serve pastured/grassfed, and/or organic meat/egg products, support composting efforts, green operations, and actively participate in educational and efficiency programs".

Action step "C.12: Encourage food vendors to utilize certified products, such as fair trade coffee, seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, and locally grown products" is also included in the long range strategic plan.

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. Other practices such as waste minimization and nutrition education are also included in this contract.


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:

Included in our Climate Action Plan is the following objective that addresses grounds management: "Improve green on-campus grounds and land management: Establish no-mow zones (especially at steep-sloped grass banks requiring hand-trimming), use best practices to minimize chemicals and fertilizers utilization, utilize native plants in landscape". These objectives are measured by tracking fertilizer use and composting quantities as part of our GHG emissions inventory, as well as requiring that new buildings be designed to LEED standards, incorporating native plantings, green roofs, and rain gardens as appropriate (see SRU's Long Range Strategic Plan 2025, Trend 5 at www.sru.edu/sustainability hyperlink).


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:

SRU's Long Range Strategic Plan 2025, Trend 5, is solely dedicated to sustainability and has served as our road map for tracking progress in our sustainability initiatives (see SRU's Long Range Strategic Plan 2025, Trend 5 at www.sru.edu/sustainability hyperlink). Action steps "C.12: Encourage food vendors to utilize certified products, such as fair trade coffee, seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, and locally grown products" and "C.13: Implement a purchasing policy that stimulates purchasing of environmentally friendly, cost-competitive products and services; this would require recycled content and minimal packaging" represent continuous improvement objectives rather than more discreet and measurable objectives, so we rely on the AASHE STARS Report to gauge our progress in this area.

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 recently-introduced "Green Leaves" Departmental Sustainability Certification program also contributes to measuring informal purchases made at the academic department level.


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:

Action step "C.9: Revise the Facilities Master Plan to better define responsible growth and include an updated campus transportation component that, when implemented, will optimize the use of the Happy Bus, and encourage bicycles, walking, and other alternative modes of transportation". The current master plan specifically addresses these items in it's proposed changes to the street and parking network, more efficient Happy Bus routing, and introduction of new, major bike- and pedestrian-friendly pathways.

Action step "C.14: Encourage reduction of fossil fuels used in the motor pool by moving to alternative energy sources as they develop" is also included in the strategic long range plan, and 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.


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?:
Yes

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

"Implement water/sewage best practices" is one of the action steps defined in SRU's Climate Action Plan. Our objective is to continuously reduce our water usage on a gallons/FTE basis, which is measured in our annual Utility Usage Report.

SRU's water usage is provided 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 were executed in the 2017 Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement.


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

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability 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 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:

NA


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:

Goal 2 of SRU's short term strategic plan includes the offering of a quality, flexible, agile, and integrated curriculum and co-curriculum to develop the intellectual, social, physical, and leadership capacities of students. A President’s Commission on Wellness was created in 2014 to coordinate/facilitate educational opportunities related to healthy lifestyles, and to support free activities such as zumba and yoga classes, a 10,000 step-a-day walking program, nutrition classes, and a noon jogging club. Our exercise science program is in part facilitated through the use of personal trainers assigned to individuals wanting to enhance their fitness and health through exercise. Staff can also earn “Healthy U. Points” that reduce health insurance premiums, and a majority of our staff participate in this program.

SRU’s Student Health Services (SHS), staffed by a registered nurse and accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc., is open 24/7 to provide clinical care, health promotion and public health services to all SRU students.

Student learning outcomes gained through our wellness programs include personal development by demonstrating intellectual curiosity, a commitment to wellness, and emotional/spiritual growth. Past Continuous Quality Improvement Reports have demonstrated that student learning has improved through the health promotion and clinical services offered. Students visiting the campus health center for non-emergent care are screened for physical activity participation; if students report fewer than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, they are counseled on physical activity and offered a referral to receive personalized guidance for their own physical activity program. The majority of the students report that Student Health Services has also helped them stay healthy and stay in the classroom.
SRU also provides Step UP! bystander intervention training to all incoming students which addresses how to proactively help others in our community and discusses sensitive issues such as alcohol, sexual assault, discrimination and academic dishonesty.

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.

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.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
Yes

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

Action steps "A.6: Increase faculty and staff awareness and participation in sustainability projects through various dissemination efforts, including web pages, informational pieces, etc." and "B.1: SRU will continue to fully support the Green Fund to encourage participation by students, faculty and staff" are included in our strategic long range plan and address a wide range of arts, culture, and technology areas.

The Green Fund Grant program has, in the past, funded projects in which the Arts Department created custom bike racks on campus.Recent green fund grants (2018 and 2019) provided funding for free ChicoBags (reusable shopping bags made from single-use disposable water bottles) for all incoming students to our residence halls.

Another method used to increase awareness and participation in sustainability projects is the annual Earth Week celebration that includes a Kaleidoscope arts program hosted at the Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research; this program raises awareness of environmental issues and sustainability of both the SRU community (faculty, staff and students) and the general public.


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):

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."


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 Yes
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) Yes

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

Slippery Rock University's School of Business is a signatory institution with the United Nations Global Compact's Principles for Responsible Management Education (“PRME”) program.

Launched at the 2007 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, the PRME initiative is the first organized relationship between the UN and business schools around the globe. The mission of PRME is to inspire and champion responsible business management education, research and thought leadership on a global scale.

"The United States uses two times as much energy as any other civilized country," said Frances Amatucci, associate professor of business. "Through our involvement with PRME, we're hoping to not only increase the awareness about sustainable options in business practices, but in everyday living as well.

"We want to change the lifestyle of our students...change their mindset and focus them more on the world around them and the conditions that exist. Many believe we're in crisis right now. Even from the smallest of things, such as whether or not your bottle water container belongs in the trash or in the recycle bin. It all adds up. We need to increase awareness.

"It starts with individuals. If individuals buy in, when they enter the business world, they can help foster change."

According to PRME, the organizations six principles provide an engagement structure for academic institutions to advance social responsibility through incorporating universal values into curricula and research.

Those principles are:

• Purpose: Developing the capabilities of students to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy.

• Values: Incorporating into academic activities and curricula the values of global social responsibility as portrayed in international initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact.

• Method: Creating educational frameworks, materials, processes and environments that enable effective learning experiences for responsible leadership.

• Research: Engaging in conceptual and empirical research that advances the understanding about the role, dynamics and impact of corporations in the creation of sustainable social, environmental and economic value.

• Partnership: Interacting with managers of business corporations to extend knowledge of the challenges in meeting social and environmental responsibilities and to explore jointly effective approaches to meeting these challenges.

• Dialogue: Facilitating and supporting dialog and debate among educators, students, business, government, consumers, media and civil society organizations and other interested groups and stakeholders on critical issues related to global social responsibility and sustainability.


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.