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
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Michael Mendoza
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee, office, and/or officer that focuses on sustainability broadly and covers the entire institution?:
Yes

A brief description of the activities and substantive accomplishments of the committee(s), office(s), and/or officer(s) during the previous three years:

In 2011, the first University of Houston sustainability coordinator was hired. Accomplishments of that coordinator include: supporting the sustainability task force, launching the Office of Sustainability, and collaborating with faculty to launch the energy and sustainability minor, to name a few. In early 2013, GreenUH was restructured and renamed as the Office of Sustainability. In 2013, the first sustainability coordinator left UH and a sustainability manager was hired in 2014. The new manager is continuing the efforts of the previous coordinator in addition to expanding the scope of the office of sustainability, hiring additional staff, evaluating sustainability progress and preparing for a campus-wide sustainability plan.

As of November 2015, some accomplishments of the current sustainability manager include:
- launching the uh.edu/sustainability website and The Sustainable Coog newsletter and blog
- creating the first-ever UH Earth Week
- refining all sustainability events, communications, outreach and programming
- collaborating with other Texas sustainability programs through the Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability
- leading the STARS reporting effort
- restructuring the office of sustainability staff structure and creating the student sustainability team; hiring staff in new roles like bike assistant, outreach assistant, waste diversion assistant and office and team lead
- managing the campus community garden through two garden assistants and volunteers
- building relationships with campus departments and community groups to drive institutional and community sustainability progress

Ongoing efforts include:
- restructuring and renaming the Sustainability Task Force
- drafting a new campus sustainability policy
- exploring how to integrate sustainability into the campus master planning process, including natural space projects like a pocket prairie, garden improvement project and campus orchard
- developing an indoor recycling process


Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee?:
Yes

The charter or mission statement of the committee(s) or a brief description of each committee's purview and activities:

The Campus Sustainability Task Force, acting with the support of the
President and the Board of Regents, is charged with developing and implementing
policies and practices that create a campus culture of sustainability. This committee advises campus leadership and the Office of Sustainability on sustainability initiatives, develops sustainability policies, and provides representation for varying stakeholders in regards to campus sustainability issues. Active working groups under the sustainability task force include the Campus Tree Advisory Committee and will later include the UH Bike Working Group and Fair Trade Campaign Working Group.

Policy that established the sustainability task force and will transition to the new campus sustainability policy: http://www.uh.edu/af/universityservices/policies/mapp/14/140101.pdf

In 2016, the Sustainability Task Force will be transitioning to the Campus Sustainability Committee and will have a slightly different member structure to include alumni and community members.


Members of each committee, including affiliations and role (e.g. staff, student, or faculty):

Faculty Senate appointments- Alex Robinson, Jeff Feng, John Reed
Faculty self-nominations and Asst. VP for University Services appointments: Kristin Wintersteen
Staff Council appointments - Elsie Myers, Joana Tan
Staff self-nominations and Asst. VP for University Services appointments: Stephanie Coates, Belkis Hidalgo
Student Government Association appointments - Kokila Jatasekera, Kayshewa Cahmupathi, Alternate: Jayde Fitzgerald
Student self-nominations and Asst. VP for University Services appointment: Gabriel Durham and Sujata Gautam

Ex-officio members:
Sustainability Program Manager- Sarah Kelly
Asst. VP for University Services - Esmeralda Valdez
Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications, Maria Honey
Keith Kowalka and Mackenzie Wysong, Division of Student Affairs
Jeanne LaMontagne and Joujou Zebdaoui, Facilities Planning and Construction
Jacquie Vargas and Paul Brokhin, Facilities Services
TJ Meagher, Athletics


The website URL where information about the sustainability committee(s) is available:
Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee?:
Yes

A brief description of each sustainability office:

The University of Houston Office of Sustainability serves as the hub for campus sustainability efforts. Engaging the campus and community, the office fosters collaboration and educates individuals about social, economic and environmental factors that impact today’s society and generations to come.

Initiatives led by the Office of Sustainability include:

- Fostering collaboration on campus and in the community
- Facilitating educational and outreach programs
- Collecting institutional sustainability data
- Managing the campus community garden
- Communicating about sustainability topics
- Recommending campus sustainability improvements
- Supporting sustainability governing bodies
- Driving institutional sustainability progress
- Encouraging sustainable actions in individuals’ daily lives


Full-time equivalent (FTE) of people employed in the sustainability office(s):
5

The website URL where information about the sustainability office(s) is available:
Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:
Yes

Name and title of each sustainability officer:
Sarah Kelly

A brief description of each sustainability officer position:

Job description for University of Houston Office of Sustainability manager:

Manage the Office of Sustainability staff, tasks, and projects:
- Manage hiring of staff including students and full-time staff

Develop strategic plan for the office of sustainability including clear goals and project timelines:
- Manage office budget and explore new funding opportunities

Manage and lead UH Sustainability reporting initiatives and develop sustainability reporting protocols for the university (STARS, Princeton Review Green Guide, etc.)

Lead new sustainability projects, when possible, and advise campus partners in new projects (bike program, expanded recycling, garden expansion, pocket prairie project, educational signage, sustainability branding, Tree Campus U.S.A., etc.):
- Develop policies and procedures to ensure lasting success in newly adopted programs
- Motivate campus partners to improve their areas within STARS

Develop and maintain sustainability council/committee and structure:
- Manage and serve as liaison for the sustainability council/committee
- Develop and update sustainability policy for UH
- Lead the development and implementation of a university-wide sustainability plan

Develop relationships on campus and in the community to enhance campus sustainability and bridge existing gaps in collaboration:
- Present and develop trainings and informational sessions in sustainability on campus, in the local community and nationally/regionally through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

Advise the coordinator and sustainability team in communications and outreach strategies and planning:
- Serve as editor and final approver on all sustainability communications and design pieces
- Approve outreach and events initiatives and conceptualize target audience, goals, messages, cost and scope


The website URL where information about the sustainability officer(s) 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.