Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.01
Liaison Patrick McKee
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
EN-2: Student Orientation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Richard Miller
Ofice of Environmental Policy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Are the following students provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability? :
Yes or No
First-year students Yes
Transfer students Yes
Entering graduate students Yes

Percentage of all entering (i.e. new) students (including transfers and graduate students) that are provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability (0-100):

A brief description of how sustainability is included prominently in new student orientation (including how multiple dimensions of sustainability are addressed):

Each year in the late spring, the Director and the Sustainability Program Manager train University Orientation leaders on sustainability activities and green campus features for the orientation program, including the walking tour of the campus. As part of the tour, the students and parents stop in front of a sustainability wall mural (near the model dorm room) that gives an overview of campus sustainability initiatives and programs. The wall has become a feature on the campus tours. It is located near McMahon dining hall, which is certified LEED Gold. The dining hall’s LEED features (along with the several other LEED certified buildings on campus) are also discussed with incoming students and their parents.

During summer orientations, UConn’s Undergraduate Orientation Office’s opening presentation for all incoming first year, international, and transfer students featured educational slides about recycling and issued reusable water bottles to all students along with directions to the over 60 water bottle refilling stations on campus. Also included in the slides are “fun-facts” about sustainability initiatives on campus.

Each year, the office of sustainability works with other University departments to collaborate on an outreach and engagement campaign targeting new students during move in week.

At the start of the 2016-17 academic year, UConn Dining Services issued reusable water bottles to all first-year students. Each bottle included an educational insert about the benefits or a reusable water bottles compared to single use disposable plastic bottles. This was part of a broader three-year outreach campaign called "Think Outside the Bottle" wherein UConn created a website with educational information about this topic. Meanwhile, the campus gradually installed a growing number of reusable water bottle refilling stations at locations across campus.

In the fall of the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years, the Office of Sustainability collaborated with Facilities Operations and the UConn Bookstore to conduct an LED desk lamp giveaway for all incoming students, held during first-year move-in days. This promotion was funded mostly by UConn's energy provider/electric utility company, Eversource, as part of its ratepayer-based conservation and load management program. Students were given free LED desklamps and handouts outlining the environmental benefits of LED vs. Incandescent/CFL bulbs in addition to information on campus sustainability at UConn. By the time all the first-year students who received an LED desk lamp graduate, they will have saved nearly 2 million kilowatt hours of electricity—enough to power 240 homes for an entire year! They will also have avoided 941 tons of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 200 cars off the road for a year.

In the fall of 2019, first and second year students arriving to campus received a reusable cloth “recycling bag” with instructions on proper recycling behaviors to ensure ease of transportation of recyclables to central waste areas in their residence halls. Inside of their recycling bag they received a Sustainability Activity Book. The book is the result of a collaborative effort and contribution of artistic skills from many OS interns, and a sponsorship by UConn’s utility providers Connecticut Natural Gas and Eversource.

The book invites readers to learn about sustainability initiatives while they color Jonathan the Husky riding a bike from UConn’s CycleShare program, ponder over the answers to a sustainability crossword puzzle, explore a map of the green features on campus, like LEED certified buildings and low impact development, and more. The book aims to put the many initiatives at UConn, from sustainable dining to energy efficiency, into an educational format that is fun and invites student engagement. To engage members of the community who are not part of the first and second year cohort, the books were made available at the Office of Sustainability tent or table at events as well as on our website. Sustainability activity books are also available at UConn’s information center in the core of campus. The roll-out of this activity book added another layer of sustainability to orientation of new students at UConn.
Link to book: https://ecohusky.uconn.edu/sustainability-activity-book/

Also held in the beginning of the semester is the school involvement fair which helps students get involved on campus. The involvement fair is UConn’s largest free event open to all students, faculty, and staff. Over 600 student organizations and university programs participate in the fair held on Fairfield Way, the heart of campus. A section of the fair is dedicated to environmental groups on campus. Many clubs and organizations such as EcoHusky, Office of Sustainability, and Spring Valley Student Farm table in this area to introduce students to environmental issues and ways to get involved. The EcoHusky homepage and Facebook page contain a large amount of sustainability information and resources for new students.

There are also many aspects of social sustainability discussed at orientation. Every student is taught the importance of tolerance, honesty, and safety on a college campus through various workshops, speakers and videos.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

OS and EcoHusky social media also provide good entry-level information to help orient students about sustainability issues, activities and events at UConn

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