Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.05
Liaison Kimberly Reeves
Submission Date Feb. 15, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Colorado Colorado Springs
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kimberly Reeves
Interim Director of Sustainability
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

UCCS leaders work with City Council as issues arise. Engagement can be at City Council meetings or within processes that are initiated by the City. There has been representation on all of the Colorado Springs Electricity, Electric Integrated Resource Plans, two year processes to determine the grid mix. The City Council serves as the Board of Directors for the utility. The university has advocated for more renewables in the mix in each of the planning processes. The approved Sustainable Energy Plan includes an 80% carbon reduction and the decommissioning of all Springs Utilities coal generation by 2030, including the downtown Martin Drake Power Plant by 2023.
https://www.csu.org/Pages/SustainableEnergyPlan.aspx


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

The University of Colorado System Government Relations team supports campus sustainability efforts at the state and federal level.
Below are examples of sustainability-related legislation that the Government Relations team has supported and lobbied in recent years at the state level. These pieces of legislation focus on environmentally friendly practices, and focus on sustainability in a broader sense, like supporting the higher education infrastructure in the state of Colorado. CU supports legislation that increases access to higher education, promotes flexibility for institutions of higher ed, and legislation creates long-term solutions to workforce and economic needs in the state.

Environmental Sustainability:
HB19-1015 Recreation of the Colorado Water Institute (Rep. Arndt/Sen. Ginal)
The Colorado Water Institute (institute), a unit of Colorado State University (CSU), and the Advisory Committee on Water Research Policy automatically repealed effective July 1, 2017. This bill recreates the institute and advisory committee in state law. Through the Energy Collaboratory, CU is in a partnership with Colorado State and Colorado School of Mines working on water research and policy efforts. Status: Signed by the Governor.

HB17-1008 Graywater Regulation Exemption for Scientific Research (Rep. Arndt/Sen. Sonnenberg)
Under current law, the Water Quality Control Commission (commission) in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) adopts rules concerning water quality. One set of rules has been adopted for the control and use of graywater. Graywater refers to wastewater that, prior to being treated or combined with other wastewater, is collected from certain fixtures within residential, commercial, or industrial buildings for a beneficial use. This bill authorizes the use of graywater for scientific research involving human subjects and sets minimum requirements for conducting such research. Research must be conducted by or on behalf of an educational institution. Graywater research conducted pursuant to this bill's authority need not comply with the commission's water quality control regulations. Status: Signed by the Governor

HB10-1001 Renewable Energy Stds Solar Certification (Reps. Tyler, Apuan/Sens. Schwartz, Whitehead) Existing law creates a renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) under which certain electric utilities are required to generate an increasing percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, in a series of increments from 3% in 2007 to 20% in 2020 and thereafter. The bill boosts these RPS percentages to achieve 30% renewable generation by 2020 and requires a portion of the RPS to be met through a subset of renewable generation, "distributed generation" (DG). We worked with the Governor’s office to ensure language would be included in the bill to maximize CU’s rebates and incentives for renewable energy programs as suggested by the Boulder campus. This also opened the door for continued discussion with Xcel which is a great opportunity for our renewable energy programs. Status: Signed by the Governor

Higher Education Sustainability and Accessibility:
HB20-1407 College Admission Use of National Test Score (Reps. Kipp, Baisley/Sens. Story, Zenzinger) For high school students who graduate in 2021, the bill temporarily allows institutions of higher education to forego a national assessment test score, like the ACT and SAT exams, as an eligibility criterion of admission standards. CU officially supported this bill, along with a coalition of institutions. Test scores used in admission decisions create an additional barrier to already marginalized students. Removing this barrier gives institutions an opportunity to increase access, diversify their student body and utilize a holistic mix of metrics that have been proven to predict student success, including high school GPA, performance in core subjects, Concurrent Enrollment, AP/IB, work, leadership, and life experiences. In the upcoming 2021 state session, CU and coalition of other institutions are seeking permanent flexibility with test scores used in admissions decisions. Status: Signed by the Governor
HB18-1309 Programs Addressing Educator Shortages (Coleman,Wilson/Hill)
This bill creates initiatives to address teacher shortages by requiring the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education to create a framework for a “Grow Your Own” educator program which will provide tuition stipends in teacher preparation programs for up to 50 students who will teach in rural areas upon graduation. Additionally, the bill appropriates $75K each year for two years to CU Denver’s School of Education to develop targeted customized solutions with education stakeholders and report applicable data to the state. Status: Signed by the Governor

SB10-003 Higher Education Flexibility (Sens. Morse, Penry/Reps. Middleton, May) - Provides greater flexibility to higher education institutions including in the areas of tuition, fiscal rules, financial aid allocation, employment of PERA retirees, debt collection, capitol construction, international students among other things. Status: Signed by the Governor

SB17-267 Sustainability of Rural Colorado (Guzman, Sonnenberg/Becker, J., Becker, K.): This bill turned the Hospital Provider Fee into an enterprise. The change will significantly reduce pressure on the state budget when Colorado’s economy is robust. This is great news for CU and all higher education. While state budget writers will continue to face difficult choices every year, they will not need to implement budget cuts to pay for TABOR rebates for several years due to the changes in this bill. If the bill had not passed, hospitals throughout Colorado would have been cut by $256 million next year. The bill also lowers the state’s revenue cap, protects the senior homestead tax credit, funds schools, provides business personal property tax relief, allocates $120 million for controlled maintenance projects throughout the state ($24.9 million of which are at CU’s campuses) and directs $1.9 billion to transportation projects. Status: Signed by the Governor

SB18-206 Research Institutions Affordability for Residents (Priola, Kerr/Arndt, Wist)
Summary: SB 206 provides important updates to enrollment statutes for research institutions. The bill standardizes the overall total enrollment caps at research institutions to 45% in-state and 55% out-of-state students and also slightly increases the percentage cap for international students. These statutory updates will help sustain important affordability and quality initiatives designed to attract and retain Colorado students. Status: Signed by the Governor

HB19-1196 Financial Aid For Students With In-state Tuition (Gonzales-Gutierrez/Moreno)
Under current law, a student who does not have lawful immigration status may be classified as an in-state (resident) student for tuition purposes, under certain circumstances. These students are eligible for the resident tuition rate at state supported institutions of higher education, for stipends from the College Opportunity Fund, and may be eligible for institutional or private financial aid programs. This bill permits these students to also be eligible for certain state-funded student financial assistance programs offered by the Department of Higher Education and administered by the institutions. Status: Signed by the Governor
HB20-1366 Higher Education Funding Allocation Model (Reps. Esgar, McCluskie/Sens. Zenzinger, Rankin) The bill creates a new higher education funding allocation model beginning in FY 2021-22. The bill modifies how state appropriations are allocated among institutions of higher education. All the higher education governing boards came together to support this bill, which focuses on transparency and accountability metrics for institutions. Our CFO Todd Saliman and Deputy CFO Chad Marturano wrote the formula. Status: Governor signed


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

On behalf of the CU System, the Office of Government Relations (OGR) leads state and federal advocacy efforts for all four CU campuses. In recent years, OGR has advocated for a number sustainability-related policy efforts, including bolstering funding for climate-focused research, as well as other policies focused on sustainability in a broader sense, like supporting the higher education and research infrastructure in the state of Colorado and across the nation, increased access to health care, and increased support for state and federal student financial aid programs.

2019:
Environmental
• Expressed support for wildfire research, including the Joint Fire Science Program
• Expressed concern about USGS grant funding delays and expressed support for establishing a Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) as authorized by Congress
• In August, 2019, CU Boulder hosted a congressional field hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on the Climate Crisis with sustainability a key focus of the hearing. (See testimony by CU Boulder Chief Sustainability Officer, Heidi VanGenderen) https://docs.house.gov/meetings/CN/CN00/20190801/109874/HHRG-116-CN00-Wstate-VanGenderenH-20190801.pdf

Budget/Appropriations
• Expressed support for campus-based student aid programs including Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Federal Work Study.
• Expressed support for fully funding the National Quantum Initiative.
• Expressed support for arctic research, wildfire research and development of an Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facility.
• Expressed support for funding for the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), including the Education and Research Centers (ERCs), the Agriculture Forestry and Fishing (AFF) program, and Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health (TWH).
• Expressed support for NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program in the FY20 appropriations cycle.
• Expressed support for social, behavioral and economic research at National Institutes of Health (NIH) in FY20

Health
• Expressed support for reauthorization of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Special Diabetes Program.
• Expressed support for reauthorization of community health center funding.
• Expressed support for reauthorization of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Trust Fund and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
• Expressed support for the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act of 2019 (S 1618)
• Discussed the Lower Health Care Costs Act (S. 1895)
• Expressed support for funding for Public Health Training Centers and Preventive Medicine Residencies, and the Area Health Education Centers.
• Expressed support for the Assistive Technology Act programs in the HHS Administration for Community Living.

2020:
Budget/Appropriations:
• Expressed support for campus-based student aid programs including Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Federal Work Study.
• Expressed Support for funding for State and Local government budgets impacted by COVID-19
• Expressed support for relief funding for researchers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
• Expressed support for direct federal assistance to higher education students and institutions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
• Expressed support of funding for the Cooperative Institutes and Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program within National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
• Expressed support for research relief funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded researchers, and National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded researchers in the coronavirus aid package as well as new NIH funding for COVID-19 related research.
• Expressed support for the Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act (S.4421)

Health
• Expressed support for funding of Colorado Assistive Technology Program funded by PL 108-634 and the Assistive Technology Act.
• Expressed support for Congress mandating a special enrollment period for individual insurance markets in COVID-19 relief legislation
• Requested letters of support for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Total Worker Health Center grant proposal
• Expressed support for flexibility in the use of resources from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund
• Expressed support for Supporting Children with Disabilities During COVID-19 Act (H.R. 8523)

Science/Technology
• Expressed support for Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow (PROSWIFT) Act (H.R. 5260)
• Expressed support for the Relief and Investment for Student Entrepreneurs (RISE) Act (S. 1585, H.R. 5613) to authorize relief for researchers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Education
• Expressed support for extension of the student loan interest holiday in COVID-19 relief legislation
• Expresses opposition to the executive orders restricting H-1B visas
• Expressed opposition to the ICE SEVIS guidance on F-1 visa-holders access to online classes at U.S. institutions of higher education


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

On behalf of the CU System, the Office of Government Relations (OGR) leads state and federal advocacy efforts for all four CU campuses. In recent years, OGR has advocated for a number sustainability-related policy efforts, including bolstering funding for climate-focused research, as well as other policies focused on sustainability in a broader sense, like supporting the higher education and research infrastructure in the state of Colorado and across the nation, increased access to health care, and increased support for state and federal student financial aid programs.

International/Education/Budget/Appropriations:
-Expressed support for funding for Title VI (International Education programs).


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
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A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
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Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
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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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.