Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.22
Liaison Roxane Beigel-Coryell
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Southern Oregon University
EN-11: Inter-Campus Collaboration

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Roxane Beigel-Coryell
Sustainability & Recycling Coordinator
Facilities Management & Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution an active member of a national or international sustainability network?:

The name of the national or international sustainability network(s):

Southern Oregon University is a member of several national/international sustainability networks including AASHE, Second Nature, and STARS.

Is the institution an active member of a regional, state/provincial or local sustainability network?:

The name of the regional, state/provincial or local sustainability network(s):

Southern Oregon University participates in regular calls, meetings, and networking opportunities with other higher education institutions within Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

Has the institution presented at a sustainability conference during the previous year? :

A list or brief description of the conference(s) and presentation(s):

Students, staff and faculty from Southern Oregon University have presented at several conferences during the past year including the AASHE conference, the SOU Social Justice Conference and the Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference. Presentations included:

"We Did That?!": Engaging Students in Campus-Based Sustainability Projects
Students in Environment & Society, a sociology course, take part in and initiate long-term campus-based sustainability projects at Rogue Community College. Details on the assignment and the pedagogical and sociological tools that have led to its successes will be presented. Additionally, this case study will cover projects that have not worked and why, how the assignment has been modified over the years and limitations of the project assignment. A former RCC student will describe one of the most successful student projects, the creation of a Campus Free Box.

Supporting Pollinators: SOU Bee Campus USA
The decline in pollinator populations has been declared a national issue, and the reasons are complex. To address this issue, and through collaboration with the North Carolina nonprofit, Bee City USA, Southern Oregon University has become the first designated Bee Campus USA. The objective is to create and enact the solutions for this problem, and the designation entails a committed effort towards working to provide a healthy environment on campus for pollinators. This session will include an overview of the process SOU is taking to support pollinators as well as highlighting ideas, methods, and insights into how other campuses can get involved.

Revamping a Campaign: Take Back the Tap
College students are constantly graduating, many times leaving behind unfinished campaigns that need to be taken up by another student in order for the campaign to survive. At Southern Oregon University, the Take Back the Tap campaign has been in the works for several years, being spearheaded by various students, all of whom have graduated shortly after taking up this campaign. This session will discuss how to revamp a campaign that has been lead by various students throughout the years and will help bring a long time existing campaign new life.

Sustainability Across the Curriculum
In this session we will review the results of three years' worth of program evaluations and experiences from the SOU Green House Experience. The program was developed to foster sustainability education across the campus by integrating sustainability into the required university studies (general education) curriculum. We will discuss lessons learned and strategies for improvement. We will also look at specific courses and potential for developing similar courses at other institutions. Finally, we will talk about strategies for utilizing courses in a wide range of disciplines, taught by instructors in many departments, to students from many majors as sources of projects and research on the college campus. Our experience in jointly teaching the courses between faculty and sustainability staff will be discussed. Syllabi from more than a dozen such courses will be made available for distribution as resources in course development.

Campus Connections: Sustainability and Wellness
Wellness is an important aspect of any sustainability movement. A focus at colleges and universities on social aspects of sustainability, such as wellness, leads to collaboration and partnerships that are strengthening the overall message and impact of both efforts. At Southern Oregon University, the Ecology and Sustainability Resource Center (ECOS) incorporates wellness into many events and programs each term; through a strong partnership with SOU's Health Promotions Office and collaborations with other on and off-campus organizations, ECOS is helping to expand the reach and impact of the sustainability movement at SOU.

Arbor Day Event Trains Environmental Stewards
Since 2014, SOU's Landscape Services Dept has hosted an annual Arbor Day Celebration inviting local K-12 schools, members of the surrounding community, our own student body, faculty, staff, and admin to join us for a free day of education, service learning, community-building, planting and fun. By engaging hundreds of people in hands-on activities and hosting renowned educators, like Mycologist Paul Stamets, we build inspiration to care for our environment. We also offer Continuing Education Units to local landscape professionals and arborists and thereby help educate those who maintain residential, business and municipal areas in our region about healthy and sustainable practices. The main event is an enormous, campus-wide planting party. Everyone comes together to help us plant dozens of trees and hundreds of plants every year building strong senses of stewardship, pride and connection to the places we live, work, and study. Our native campus Arboretum is the focus of Arbor Day 2016.

Moving Towards Environmentally Responsible Landscaping on Campus
SOU works earnestly to foster sustainability advancement in our region. Likewise, our Landscape Services Dept is deeply committed to minimizing negative impacts on our campus and surrounding ecosystems. Our landscaping crew is dialing in ways to maintain a beautiful campus without use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. This means more than just switching to organic substitutes; we are fundamentally changing our approach to landscaping. We're adjusting planting, arrangement and maintenance methods and we source native, locally grown plants that attract wildlife. We also partner with local nonprofits and businesses to shift cultural paradigms to build more diverse and healthy landscapes in residential, business and municipal settings. Our transition from conventional landscape management to a non-toxic, holistic systems approach demonstrates that it's entirely possible for a campus to make this change and maintain a gorgeous, environmentally responsible and community-friendly campus

Sustainability & Botanical Tours: Educating our Communities
SOU's Landscape Services collaborated with students, faculty, and staff across campus to develop signed Sustainability and Botanical Tours to educate our regional community about SOU's myriad of sustainability programs and biodiversity. To recruit students and foster community-wide engagement, participants are guided by interactive informational signs through a tour from The Farm at SOU, to bioswales and solar arrays at our dorms and Student Union, up to our native Arboretum, through the ECOS community gardens, our pesticide-free Pollinator Gardens and more; over 100 specimen plants and sustainability projects are featured. Our digital campus map includes Sustainability and Botanical Tour layers that allow people to find and read about any spot along the tours. Creating these accessible tours illuminates and encourages the ways in which our campus and greater community can expand sustainability in their lives on- and off-campus.

Has the institution submitted a case study during the previous year to a sustainability awards program that is inclusive of multiple campuses? :

A list or brief description of the awards program(s) and submission(s):

Southern Oregon University submitted case studies to several programs during the previous year and received awards including:

2014 Runner-up for AASHE Best Sustainability Case Study Award for Creating a Living & Learning Laboratory for Applied Sustainability and Campus Farm Through Collaboration and Student Engagement
2015 AASHE Best Sustainability Case Study Award for Bee Campus USA as a Model for Pollinator-Friendly Campuses
2015 Finalist for Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards
2016 Honorable Mention for Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards

Has the institution had staff, students or faculty serving on a board or committee of a sustainability network or conference during the previous three years? :

A list or brief description of the board or committee appointment(s):

SOU staff have served on the planning committee for the 2016 Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference in Eugene, Oregon and for the 2014 AASHE Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Does the institution have an ongoing mentoring relationship with another institution through which it assists the institution with its sustainability reporting and/or the development of its sustainability program?:

A brief description of the mentoring relationship and activities:

Southern Oregon University staff and faculty regularly communicate with staff, faculty, and students from Rogue Community College and Oregon Tech to provide support, advice, and assistance in the development and expansion of those campuses' sustainability programs and initiatives.

Has the institution had staff, faculty, or students serving as peer reviewers of another institution’s sustainability data (e.g. GHG emissions or course inventory) and/or STARS submission during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the peer review activities:

Has the institution participated in other collaborative efforts around sustainability during the previous year, e.g. joint planning or resource sharing with other institutions? :

A brief description of other collaborative efforts around sustainability during the previous year:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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.