Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.87
Liaison Kevin Kirsche
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Georgia
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Nate Shear
Sustainability Metrics Intern
Office of 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:
• American Water Resources Association UGA Student Chapter (AWRA) - UGA student chapter of the American Water Resources Association, a non-profit professional association dedicated to the advancement of men and women in water resources management, research, and education. AWRA’s membership is multidisciplinary; its diversity is its hallmark. It is the professional home of a wide variety of water resources experts including engineers, educators, foresters, biologists, ecologists, geographers, managers, regulators, hydrologists and attorneys.
• Bag the Bag - Bag the Bag UGA is a group of concerned individuals advocating for the reduction of plastic waste while promoting sustainable and reusable alternatives. We strive to raise awareness about the ecological and economic dangers of single use plastic bags while promoting the use of reusable bags as a sustainable alternative. We hope to encourage the Athens community to stop the plastic bag habit through education at schools and classes, outreach with local organizations and businesses, and advocacy through county legislation. We look forward to making Athens, and the UGA community therein, a more sustainable place.
• Campus Kitchen at UGA - Campus Kitchen at UGA is part of a growing network of universities called The Campus Kitchens Project. Each school affiliated with CKP operates a little differently, but they all have the common goal of reducing food waste in their university and community and combating food-insecurity by addressing its root causes.
• Ecology Club & Graduate Student Organization - The Ecology Club connects undergraduate ecology majors to one another and to opportunities in research and service, and is always ready to get its hands dirty with outreach in the local community or with campus sustainability initiatives. Part social (trips, retreats, parties, meetings), part educational (local tours, speakers, research connections), and part activism (environmental advocacy on campus), the club welcomes all students from all majors to make friends, make memories, and make positive change.
• Environmental Health Sciences Club - The Environmental Health Science (EHS) Club is designed to foster mutual interest and enthusiasm among students and faculty at the University of Georgia who are interested in Environmental Health Science. We provide an informal forum for networking with environmental professionals through monthly meetings and workshops.
• Environmental Law Association - The Environmental Law Association (ELA) is an organization of the University of Georgia School of Law students who seek to further the development and advancement of environmental law through activities designed to increase environmental awareness among members of the community at large and the student bodies of the University of Georgia and the Georgia School of Law.
• Georgia Students of Landscape Architecture - The College of Environment and Design is the home of the state student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Georgia Students of Architecture (GSLA) aspires to bring landscape architecture students from the BLA and MLA programs together for social purposes.
• Outdoor Adventure Club - The purpose of this organization is to promote affordable outdoor recreational activities. These activities will comprise of, but are not limited to, camping, hiking, canoeing, rafting, and rock climbing/bouldering.
• Real Food UGA - Real Food UGA is focused on promoting awareness and advocacy for real food: food that truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities, and the earth. Food that is produced under fair and humane conditions for farmworkers; food that does what it’s supposed to do–-keep us healthy and well; food that is derived from and strengthens our local economy; food that is grown under responsible agricultural practices, keeping our soil, water, and air clean. However, colleges and universities in the US spend $4 billion every year on dining hall food. Real Food UGA partners with the national nonprofit Real Food Challenge to help achieve the goal of redirecting 20% of that $4 billion towards real food by 2020. We can therefore redirect food dollars towards a more sustainable, cleaner economy based on liberation and justice.
• Society of American Foresters - The Society of American Foresters (SAF) is the national scientific and educational organization representing the forestry profession in the United States. The mission of SAF is to advance the science, education, technology, and practice of forestry; to enhance the competency of its members; and to use the knowledge, skills, and conservation ethic of the profession to ensure the continued health and use of forest ecosystems and the present and future availability of forest resources to benefit society.
• Speak Out for Species - S.O.S promotes the protection of all animals. Through education and advocacy, we work to defend animals from cruelty and exploitation, to reduce animal suffering, and to encourage compassion for all living beings.
• Triple Impact Consulting – A new student organization who's mission is to educate students and local businesses on the intersection between business and sustainability. The clubs activities include education speakers and professionals from industries of interests, and the club provides pro-bono sustainability consulting to Athens small businesses.
• UGArden Club – The student organization dedicated to the protection, upkeep, and production of the only student-run garden on the University of Georgia campus, which provides a unique outdoor learning environment and offers students the opportunity to engage with the natural world.
• USGBC Students at UGA - U.S. Green Building Council Students (USGBC) at UGA seek to provide education and service to the University of Georgia and surrounding Athens community to create an economically feasible, socially just, and environmentally friendly built environment.

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:
UGArden Learning & Demonstration Farm seeks to promote the social, environmental, and nutritional benefits of sustainable gardening through the creation of a student-run community garden. Such a unique outdoor learning experience encourages engagement with the natural world, fosters interdisciplinary pursuits at UGA, and offers a meaningful sense of place to a largely transitory student body.

This student organization is dedicated to the management of a 4-acre garden. It began as a simple idea- to provide a place for students to learn to raise food and promote sustainable gardening. With this in mind, a group of dedicated students developed a plan and sought approval for a place to garden. After a year-long process, and a lot of hard work by many students and faculty advisor, David Berle, the garden found a home. The garden is located on South Milledge Avenue, on university land formerly dedicated to sheep and hog farming. The first planting was in May of 2010. Professor Berle has led an enthusiastic group of UGArden members and student volunteers to establish a garden that now includes fruit plantings, bee hives, green walls, medicinal herbs, a high tunnel and a woodland mushroom demonstration area.

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:
The UGArden Produce Stand welcomes the public to come purchase freshly picked produce. Proceeds from produce sales go back into running the garden. In addition to typical plant produce, fresh herbs and mushrooms are produced and sold at select times throughout the year.

A large portion of the produce grown at UGArden is distributed to families in need in the community through our partner organization, Campus Kitchen. Some produce is shared through our outreach program Grow it Know it at Clarke Middle School, Hilsman Middle School, Coile Middle School, and Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School. At these four Clarke County middle schools, UGArden produce is used for cooking demonstrations and food sampling in the cafeteria. They also use our produce in the summer Kitchen Corps Program and their weekly pop-up restaurant. UGArden is proud to support four weekly community produce stands at Clarke Middle School, Athens Community Council on Aging, Hilsman Middle School, and Coile Middle School. Produce is offered at a reasonable price for anyone and half off for those eligible for SNAP benefits.

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:
UGA hosts several major events related to sustainability each year:

Green Cup Challenge:
The UGA Green Cup Challenge is a competition among the residents of the Hill community to reduce their energy, water, and waste over a one month period.

Semester in Review: Creating a Culture of Sustainability at UGA
At the end of each semester, Office of Sustainability interns and students from sustainability-focused courses present their efforts to members of the UGA and Athens community.

Sustainability Summit:
This day-long event combines UGA's Center for Integrative Conservation Research's Sustainability Science Symposium with the Office of Sustainability’s fall Semester in Review. Individual events include: Faculty Workshops, Office of Sustainability’s Semester in Review, Sustainability Science Symposium, Poster Session and Closing Reception

Red Clay Conference:
The Red Clay Conference is an annual Environmental Law Conference that is entirely student organized by members of the Environmental Law Association at the University of Georgia School of Law. ELA's continuing mission is to advance sound environmental policy, encourage discussion and raise awareness among attorneys and law-makers here in Georgia and throughout the Southeast. The goal of the conference is to increase public awareness of environmental issues of regional, national, and international significance through a series of educational presentations and open forum discussions.

UGA Earth Week:
UGA Earth Week is a week-long celebration of sustainability with multiple events each day focused on various topics or themes from food and waste to transportation and careers in sustainability. Events are designed to engage and inspire action.

Dawgs Ditch the Dumpster and Donate:
Dawgs Ditch the Dumpster and Donate is an initiative co-sponsored by University Housing and the UGA Office of Sustainability. During move-out in early May of each year, students are asked to donate their unwanted items to the local community at a convenient drop site located within each campus residential community.

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 Lamar Dodd School of Art and Ideas for Creative Exploration incorporate sustainability+art as a theme throughout the student experience including sustainable art-making processes, sustainability-focused art works, and sustainability-focused cultural events.
In partnership with the Lamar Dodd School of Art, the Office of Sustainability hires a Sustainability Artist in Residence to create works of art that specifically incorporate principles of sustainability, and who works with the Office to create art education and public art opportunities that promote sustainability + arts to campus and community members.
UGA hosted the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (A2RU) annual conference in 2018 with a focus on sustainability.

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:
UGA Recreational Sports offers many outdoor recreation activities to students, faculty/staff, and members of the Athens community. UGA's climbing wall, challenge course, equiptment rental center, and trips and clinics are available.

Activities includes: Backpacking, bouldering, canoeing, caving, cycling, day hiking, fly fishing, flatwater and whitewater paddling, hang gliding, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, paragliding, rafting, rock climbing, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, ziplining, and more.

Unless stated, no prior experience is required and in most cases, all group equipment for that activity is provided as well as transportation by passenger van. An experienced staff of trip leaders provides logistical planning, instruction, leadership and facilitation for a group experience.

UGA Outdoor Recreation practices Leave No Trace (LNT) principles, values, and guidelines on trips and clinics. The Outdoor Recreation program refers to the seven core principles of LNT offered by the LNT Center for Outdoor Ethics: (1) plan ahead and prepare, (2) travel and camp on durable surfaces, (3) dispose of waste properly, (4) leave what you find, (5) minimize campfire impacts, (6) respect wildlife, (7) be considerate of other visitors.

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:
A collaboration between the River Basin Center and the Office of Sustainability, Watershed UGA is a stream restoration and protection initiative aimed at engaging the campus community in sustainability through watersheds. Watershed UGA provides a number of resources for the campus community, including modules that enable teachers to bring watersheds into the classroom, service learning opportunities, and communications initiatives meant to educate the campus about where their water comes from and how they can play a role in protecting it.
Your first year at UGA is an exciting time to engage, experience and explore the opportunities available to you at the University of Georgia. The First-Year Odyssey seminars are designed to introduce you to the academic life of the University. These seminars will allow you to engage with faculty and other first-year students in a small class environment to learn about the unique academic culture the University offers. The University of Georgia offers a number of sustainability-focused First-Year Odyssey courses for freshman students.

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:
Building 1516 opened in fall of 2010 and is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED Gold-certified residence hall. Building 1516 is a signature space that supports the academics and personal growth of residents, provides a place where programs, classes and events are hosted, and most importantly, provides a home-away-from-home for 555 students. Building 1516 also houses first-year Learning Communities, in which participating students share an intense learning experience that features assignment to rooms within the same vicinity, concurrent registration to academic classes in the field of interest, completion of a service learning project and collaboration with a lead faculty instructor and an upper-class student peer advisor. In the 2017-2018 school year, Building 1516 is home to a Sustainability & Environmental Law learning community, led by environmental law professor and Pre-Law Program Director, Catherine Clutter. This community will seek to answer the question: "Pollution, climate change, consumerism, overpopulation – can our environment sustain our impact, particularly with the proposed rollback of many environmental laws and regulations?” Building 1516 utilizes a single room out of its residence spaces to "model" a sustainable room and what items should and should not be in the room.
There are four primary ways by which University Housing demonstrates its commitment towards sustainability efforts - educational programs and campaigns, water and energy conservation efforts, recycling and other conservation efforts, and maintaining a healthy living environment. The University Housing Sustainability Coordinator holds educational tabling sessions to teach students about recycling, composting, and decreasing personal consumption. They provide students with recycling bins, reusable water bottles, reusable cutlery, and many other resources.

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

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:
The Office of Sustainability hires 20 to 30 paid student interns each semester. Interns work on a variety of different topics including composting, curriculum, greek life, STARS report, etc.

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):
The Sustainable UGA Graduation Pledge serves to manifest student commitments to wisdom, justice, and moderation in the form of sustainable actions and awareness. The pledge asks individuals to consider the social and environmental impacts of their post-graduation work and lifestyle choices. Student commitment will help to build a healthy, resilient, and just global community.


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:

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 stars@aashe.org.