Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 49.22
Liaison Paul Scanlon
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Slippery Rock University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Paul Scanlon
Special Assistant to the President
President's Office/Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

There are multiple sustainability-focused student groups at Slippery Rock University: The Geography, Geology & Environment/Sustainability Solutions student club, the Gamma Theta Upsilon club (GG&E Natl. Honor Society), the community-based Slow Foods club, the Environmental Education & Interpretation Club, the Park Rangers Society, the Between Two Trees club, Sigma Gamma Epsilon, and the Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator (in which self-managing student intern groups work on sustainable business projects).

Two proposals by the student interns from the Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator were accepted by the Clinton Global Initiative in 2015, and are still ongoing:
(1) an aquaponics demonstration/research project in which fish and swiss chard will be raised, with lessons learned shared with a village in Uganda where it is intended to be replicated as healthy sources of nutrition and as cash crops. The project uses a PV-powered water circulation pump, and is expected to produce twice the quantity of food using only 10% of the water required by conventional gardening practices (see http://www.seasru.com/#!aquaponics/ii996 for more details), and
(2) the "Green Leaves" Departmental Sustainability Self-Certification project, which has resulted in two departments being certified (the Parks, Conservation & Recreation Therapy Department that achieved Leaf level 1 certification in 2017, and the Library Operations Department that achieved level 2 certification in 2018.

The GG&E/Sustainable Solutions club obtained over 900 signatures on each of two petitions ("Transition to 100% renewable electricity" and "Eliminate the use of fossil fuels in the central heating plant."). This initiative led to two grants supporting these issues and the development of new Carbon Neutrality Plan.

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The Macoskey Center infrastructure includes market/demonstration gardens (for students to gain experience in organic/permaculture gardening), as well as organic community gardens available to any community members interested learning about and getting involved in organic gardening systems (see http://www.sru.edu/news/073115a#sthash.MbTVCCbV.dpuf and/or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DOwHsIkDfU for additional details).

Gardening and composting workshops are typically offered by Macoskey Center student workers and G.A.s each spring, and students participate in a Farmers Market and the Slow Foods community club, as well as other CSA-related panel discussions, conferences, organizations and miscellaneous activities.

Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator (SEA) student interns also teamed with Macoskey Center student workers to conduct the aquaponics demonstration/research project at the Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research (see http://www.sru.edu/news/071315a#sthash.mj92A9tO.dpuf for more information).

SEA has also regularly partners with the Penn State Agricultural extension to bring workshop series such as "FarmSense" agricultural workshops to SRU, to which selected SEA interns may receive free enrollment (additional information available at http://www.sru.edu/news/102115d#sthash.DeCNhtV0.dpuf).

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Rock Roast Coffee is a student-run nonprofit enterprise that markets and sells organic, shade-grown fair-trade coffees grown sustainably in Nicaraguan coffee farms. The farms not only cultivate delicious natural coffee beans, but the canopy of trees they are grown under also provides habitat for endangered bird species.plantations of Costa Rica. The proceeds from these purchases will support Slippery Rock students' sustainability service learning opportunities​ in Nicaragua, where the coffee is grown.

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

Each semester, students may submit proposals for Green Fund Grants to implement sustainable projects on campus. The maximum grant per project is $20,000, and all proposals are reviewed by a Green Fund Advisory Board made up of 11 individuals, five of which are SRU students.

Proposal requirements may be found by clicking on the "Green Fund Grant Process RFP" link on our sustainability website referenced below. Sample Green Fund Grant projects previously funded may also be found on the same page (scroll to the bottom and click on "Description of Previously-Funded Green Fund Projects").

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

SRU holds a series of campus-wide events every April to celebrate "Earth Days". Typically, twenty to thirty events/activities are held to increase environmental and sustainability awareness and appreciation on the part of our students. Events and activities typically included every year:
(1) An environmental film series, some of which students can gain class credit for attending;
(2) A World Health Class "Earth Day Festival", in which sustainable class projects are presented in a series of poster sessions;
(3) Featured speakers such as Dr. Robert Musil (CEO of the Rachel Carson Council and winner of the 1985 Nobel Prize for Peace); Dr. Stephen Mulkey, past president of Unity College, the first university to entirely divest from fossil fuel industry-supporting corporations.
(6) An "EarthFest", which features sustainability-themed entertainment and local vendors of sustainably-produced food and products, open to the public and children of all ages.

In 2017, SRU is also hosting a "No Impact Experiment" for students in late September to segue into AASHE's Sustainability Month events.

The Student Enterprise Accelerator typically host/co-sponsors speakers on sustainability each year, and leads student groups on tours of sustainability demonstration sites such as the Phipps Conservatory, the Chatham College Eden Campus, as well as an Eco-tour of Costa Rico.

The Robert A. Macoskey Center also hosts speakers, class and public tours, gatherings, and panel discussions on topics such as organic gardening and community supported agriculture.

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

During Earth week 2020 and 2021, a Kaleidoscope Arts Festival "EarthFest" event with sustainability-themed live music and theatrical performances was held at SRU's Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research Center.

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The mission of SRU's Campus Recreation's Outdoor Adventures Program is to create and maintain opportunities for Slippery Rock University students, faculty, staff, and community to safely learn, enjoy and appreciate outdoor recreation while protecting our environment. SRU students are invited to participate in as many activities as they desire.

An informal SRU Trails committee of student and faculty volunteers work to develop and maintain natural hiking trails using Leave No Trace principles, and have used Green Fund Grants and funding from the Office of Sustainability to delineate wetlands along the main on-campus "Overlook Hiking/Biking Trail", to construct causeways protecting the wetlands, and to construct trail head kiosk signage that illustrates the trails' layout and highlights natural features of the area.

Additional equestrian, hiking, and biking interpretive nature trails are also available at the Audubon Sanctuary at the Macoskey Center and follow the Leave No Trace principle.

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

"Small Steps, Big Payoff" is the theme of SRU's Energy Action Campaign that encourages students to pledge to change three small things in their life that can save energy. Students taking the pledge become eligible to win prizes such as reusable water bottles and bookstore coupons that can be used to purchase educational materials.

In addition, the Office of Sustainability coordinates Earth Week activities that are promoted via posters, online event calendars and social media that use the Earth Days Network theme chosen for that year.

In 2021 the Office of Sustainability hosted a series of Zoom evening "Climate Conversations" with a panel of experts interacting with the the campus community and members of the public.

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Students can learn sustainable life skills through a variety of internship and student worker programs at the Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator, the Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research, and the Office of Sustainability. The Park Rangers Society is also a club in which sustainable life skills are taught.

In addition, a "No Impact Week Experiment" led by Dr. Shawn Davis teaches sustainable life skills to students in a week-long program held during Fall semester 2021.

These life skills can also be learned through self-study of topics presented online on SRU's sustainability website that contains downloadable booklets and links to other websites promoting various aspects of sustainable life skills (including Energy Conservation, Alternative Transportation, Waste Minimization & Recycling, Climate Change & Global Warming, Alternative & Renewable Energy, Environmental Preservation, Sustainable Agriculture & Permaculture, and Green Careers).

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Geography, Geology and the Environment department typically shares one or two GIS mapping students (paid student workers) with the Office of Sustainability; these students have created and maintain our Sustainable Features Campus Map, as well as documenting land use data used to complete sustainability surveys (acres of protected sanctuaries, acres of building footprint, permeable vs. non-permeable acreage, site contour maps for planning mow vs. no-mow acreage, etc.). The Office of Sustainability also hires students to assist with social media outreach on an as-needed basis.

A copy of the sustainable features map can be downloaded from our sustainability landing page referenced below by clicking on the "Campus Sustainability Features Map" header at the bottom of the page.

Both the Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research and the Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator typically employ full-time graduate assistant(s), as well as additional student workers (e.g., to work on the demonstration gardens, composting services, etc.) on an as-needed basis.

A 2021 EPA "Source Reduction Assistance" grant now funds four interns who are being trained to complete technical assessments of local food and beverage manufacturers. The technical assessments include on-site visits to identify and recommend ways to reduce energy, water use, waste and greenhouse gas emissions. This practical experience will help the interns pursue jobs when they graduate.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):


A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.