Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.35
Liaison Christa Rieck
Submission Date Nov. 23, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Houston
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Michael Mendoza
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that fall into the following categories?:
Yes or No
Active student groups focused on sustainability Yes
Gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems Yes
Student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes Yes
Sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills No
Conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles Yes
Sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences No
Programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills No
Sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution Yes
Graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions No
Other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives Yes

The name and a brief description of each student group focused on sustainability:

The U.S. Green Building Council UH student chapter encourages emerging professionals from all majors to understand and establish sustainable practices, to ensure that the University of Houston is a sustainable campus, and to encourage green building in surrounding communities.

Energy and Environmental Law Society is a student-run organization seeking to further the academic and legal discussion of energy, environmental, and natural resources law.

Enactus is a worldwide organization that brings together the top leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the power of business. The Enactus chapter at the University of Houston is trying to do just that. They aim to better Houston by creating projects that empower the community to have a better lifestyle. Their goal is to help the community through a three-pronged sustainability approach: environmentally, socially, and financially. The UH Enactus Chapter accepts all majors at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

The Clean Energy Initiative mission is "to develop our members into young professionals in the sector of energy by educating our community on the matters of alternative/renewable energy, career building events, and participation in clean energy prize competitions."

The Horticulture Society: Interested students can grow plants in a ventilated and temperature controlled greenhouse on campus, from tropical plants to vegetables, herbs, and fruit. The Horticulture Society also provides seedlings for the UH Campus Community garden and helps maintain the campus green roof.

Metropolitan Volunteer Program is a student, fee-funded organization at the University of Houston that creates and provides service opportunities for students by collaborating with campus and community partners. Volunteering with MVP not only provides students with the opportunity to make a positive impact on our campus and community but also to gain leadership skills, build relationships with fellow students, and gain experience in their field of interest. Partners and projects are almost exclusively sustainability focused. MVP partners with the Office of Sustainability to maintain the campus garden, on sustainabily-focused campus service projects, and during UH Earth Week.


The website URL where information about student groups is available:
A brief description of gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems:

The Campus Community Garden is approximately 600 square feet of university land devoted to growing organic produce and educating campus and community members about healthy living. All produce is donated directly to local food pantries and facilities serving low-income families and individuals. Campus and community members volunteer in the garden.


The website URL where information about the organic agriculture and/or sustainable food systems projects and initiatives is available:
A brief description of student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes:

REEcycle, a four person student team from the University of Houston, developed a profitable way to reclaim rare earth elements from magnets in electronics. Rare earth elements are critical to manufacturing clean energy technologies, including wind turbines, energy-efficient lights, thin-film solar cells, and motors and batteries for electric vehicles. The company acquires used electronics and extracts rare earth elements using a method developed by a UH researcher.

As the winner of the U.S. Energy Department’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition, REEcycle will receive technical, legal and other assistance from competition sponsors to help grow their business and commercialize their clean energy technology. They will launch their start-up with the prize money and receive incubator space at the UH's Energy Research Park.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprise(s) is available:
A brief description of the sustainable investment or finance initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable investment or finance initiatives is available:
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A brief description of conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

UH Energy hosts a symposium series focusing on issues in energy and sustainability. Last year topics included climate change, renewable energy, and fracking. Speakers represent both sides of each energy or sustainability issue. Students are the intended audience; however, UH faculty, staff, alumni and the community are also encouraged to attend.

The Office of Sustainability recently launched a Sustainability Meetup program intended to provide a setting for students to learn about specific topics in sustainability and connect with others who share similar interests. The first two topics were resilience and sustainable architecture. The main audience is students but faculty, staff, alumni and community members are also invited to attend.


The website URL where information about the event(s) is available:
A brief description of cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

The College of Architecture and Arts department regularly creates and publicizes installations related to sustainability. A recent project was Re/Cycle Hub, which was comprised of four adult-sized tricycles that will transform into an activity center promoting sustainable habits. Student teams worked to construct and design trikes with infographics and interactive demonstrations. Trikes are made from recycled bicycles and have specific themes: sound, light, wind and art making. A canopy made from a recycled billboard will cover the Hub. Students can ride the trikes independently then connect them to form the Re/Cycle Hub.

Another installation created by student leaders in the College of Architecture is an annual project to transform a parking spot into a parklet: www.facebook.com/UHSustain/posts/10152456033184930
www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2014/September/0915Parking

The Re/Cycle Hub installation was presented at various events in the Houston area with surrounding community members as the intended audience; however, the installation was marketed specifically to UH students as a major part of the intended audience. The UH Park(ing) Day installation was intended for UH students.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts event(s) is available:
A brief description of wilderness or outdoors programs for students that follow Leave No Trace principles:

UH Outdoor Adventure offers wilderness trips, indoor rock climbing, team building and classes. All outdoor trips incorporate leave no trace principles. Trip goers receive leave no trace training before and during the trips. Outdoor Adventure also attends events hosted by the Office of Sustainability to teach leave no trace.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:
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The website URL where information about the theme is available:
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A brief description of program(s) through which students can learn sustainable life skills:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills program(s) is available:
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A brief description of sustainability-focused student employment opportunities:

The UH Office of Sustainability hires paid student workers who are tasked with specific sustainability-related projects on campus. The student staff are directed by full-time staff. Each student worker has their own title and role, including a graduate assistant, office and team lead, outreach assistant, garden assistant, communications assistant, waste diversion assistant, and bike program assistant. Additional positions will be created as new projects arise.

Current staff members can be found online: http://www.uh.edu/af-auxiliary-services/sustainability/about-us/staff/


The website URL where information about the student employment opportuntities is available:
A brief description of graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledge program is available:
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A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Sustainability Fest is hosted every Fall semester and encourages students, faculty and staff to rethink how they live and practice sustainable behavior. Programming includes weather balloon launches, sustainable trivia, crafts using reused materials and more. Departments on campus and community organizations host booths to teach attendees about their specific sustainability initiatives and how they can get involved.


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available:

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.