|March 5, 2021
University of Central Florida
EN-3: Student Life
|1.75 / 2.00
Sustainability Specialist II
Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:
Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:
Each active student group falls into one or more initiative areas and is centralized around the goal of sustainability, despite their range in focuses.
Student groups include, but are not limited to: Advocates for World Health, who reduce medical waste and improve sustainable healthcare systems; Association of Environmental Professionals, who connect students with environmental-focused professionals and opportunities; Knights for Animal Rights, who promotes ethical eating practices and animal rights; Campus Peace Action, who promote peace and acceptance via a conglomeration of political activists, environmentalists, and community volunteers; Energy Knights, who expose students to technical experience in the energy industry; Engineers Without Borders, who focus on community-driven development via sustainable engineering; Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions (IDEAS) For Us, who promote environmental action on campus and within the community; Knights for Marine and Wildlife Conservation, who volunteer to conserve wild habitats in Florida; Urban Knights Planning Association, who connect students to emerging urban planners; Volunteer UCF, who organize various volunteer opportunities including specifically focused divisions in environment, global health, and animals; and Defend Our Future, which is building a diverse coalition of partners that have a shared goal of finding actionable and common sense solutions to solving climate change.
The various student groups form a coalition to serve as a think-tank in promoting sustainable practices at the university.
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 university has two on-campus community farm gardens that make up a quarter of an acre of land within its Arboretum natural lands that are utilized daily as a volunteering space, educational medium, and food security provider. It is predominantly student-run and overseen by the Landscape and Natural Resources staff. Students who volunteer on goodwill or service-learning basis are typically given complimentary produce for their time. The rest of the produce is donated to the Knights Helping Knights Pantry, where students can pick up fresh produce with their Student I.D. free of charge, daily. The Arboretum also has a 1,000 square foot greenhouse that supports educational and research efforts in its propagation tables and prospective hydroponic systems.
Additionally, the university has an on-campus garden at the Creative School for Children, which is utilized as a learning space for pre-school students and to locally supplement their meals and snacks. This garden is integrated into weekly lesson plans of every age group, as well as part of their daily recess time. Space is maintained by school staff, comprised of mostly undergraduate and graduate students.
Fresh U, a program within Wellness and Health Promotion Services, sponsors the upkeep of hydroponic tower gardens within active spaces on campus, such as the Student Union and Recreation and Wellness Center. The tower gardens grow herbs and small produce plants year-round that supplement weekly tower garden workshops and cooking demos/classes.
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:
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:
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:
VoLo Foundation, in partnership with the University of Central Florida, hosts Annual Climate Correction, a conference and expo dedicated to sharing and collaborating on climate change solutions. With panels such as "Farm-to-Atmosphere: Visions of Zero Hunger and Climate Action" and speakers ranging from state legislators to journalists to data scientists, the conference is packed with speakers, workshops, and tours to draw in community members to talk about climate change and solutions.
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:
The university has hosted various art exhibitions related to sustainability including visual, and cinematic art events. UCF SI annually hosts a film for World Water Day. Last year's screening included a student film documenting an organization attempting to protect a forest that has been under threat of development.
An additional event the university has hosted was the Climate Correction Art Expo where students submited art pieces within the theme of envisioning a sustainable future or solution. Three students were awarded scholarships after the audience voted on their favorite pieces.
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 university has an Outdoor Adventure Center, via the Recreation and Wellness Center, that offers a variety of rental gear free of charge including kayaks, tents, sleeping bags, surfboards, and paddleboards for outdoor enjoyment. This program sponsors adventure trips year-round, an on-campus challenge course, an indoor climbing tower, SCUBA certifications, and equipment rentals. In addition, this program manages Lake Claire, an outdoor park facility for students to utilize. All of the prior mentioned services follow and promote Leave No Trace principles.
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:
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:
The university hosts an annual Kill-A-Watt Energy Conservation Competition to educate and promote behavior modification in everyday energy usage. This is accomplished by setting aside a two-month competition period for on-campus housing communities. Throughout its duration, residents receive education on how to reduce personal energy usage, with the incentive of winning one of fifteen available scholarships.
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:
The university offers many student employment opportunities including, but not limited to: student internship positions within the Sustainability Initiatives office of various focuses (i.e. Outreach, Marketing, Digital Media, Engineering, Reporting); student research positions withing various colleges and/or departments with sustainability research focuses; and student positions within unrelated campus departments with sustainability titles and goals (i.e. Student Government Association's Director of Innovation).
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:
The Student Sustainability Advisory Committee is a student-run committee that serves as a catalyst between student perspectives and sustainability on campus. SSAC facilitates a shared avenue with the Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) by providing detailed proposals and recommendations for furthering the sustainable practices of UCF’s institutional culture. The members are appointed on an annual basis and receiving funding to pilot proposals. The students are given the option to utilize this opportunity for internship or course credit.
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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 email@example.com.