Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.81
Liaison Michael Mendoza
Submission Date Jan. 4, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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 active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups 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.
See notes for specific group examples.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

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 gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The Hilton College houses the ever popular student-run coffeehouse, Cougar Grounds. This campus hot spot features gourmet coffee, blended coffee drinks, deluxe teas, pastries, desserts and more in the hip atmosphere of an independent, urban coffeehouse. Cougar Grounds is the first university coffeehouse in the country to be run by students as part of a corollary education class. It serves as the laboratory for an entrepreneurship class, in which students learn all about small-business operations, including marketing and sales, price-setting, payroll, cost control, supply management and new product development.

Additionally, Cougar Grounds is committed to educating students in sustainable business practices. Examples include: no single use plastic in the shop while educating on alternative options, providing oat milk and other more sustainable milk substitutes, and that all coffee grounds donated as needed to campus community garden


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have 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

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

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.
http://www.uh.edu/af-university-services/sustainability/news/articles/2018/september-soil-meetup.php


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

On Monday, April 17, 2017, the Student Centers presented Grant Manier, a young and talented artist living with autism who incorporates conservationism into his artwork. This event was part of the Student Centers Earth week activities, so Grant’s “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” philosophy is a perfect fit. Attendees learned about how Grant creates works of art using magazines, calendars, wallpaper, posters, food wrappers, puzzles and more. Each artwork contains thousands of cut or torn pieces of recycled paper. Using cool colors, shapes, textures, Grant call’s his masterpieces “COOLAGES”. Grant, an award - winning artist, is leading sustainability and autism awareness by bringing Eco-Art exhibits and demonstrations to the University of Houston. The Student Centers collaborated with Center for Students with DisABILITIES to have Grant conduct a live demonstration of his work later the same day.

The University of Houston Student Centers also hosted the Sustainability “Life Hacks” Contest. Find a creative way to recycle and repurpose materials as either a work of art, décor, fashion or functional item for everyday use. The contest reflects the Student Centers’ goal to increase sustainable knowledge and promote sustainable practices
https://www.facebook.com/UHStudentCenter/photos/a.1494804187409212/2014265388796420/?type=3&theater


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs 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 programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:
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The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
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Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The Office of Sustainabilty, in partnership with RHA & NRHH, teach students how to live a more environmentally sustainably on campus. During these workshops students will learn about what is able to be recycled, solar arrays on campus, water bottle refill stations, the community garden, et cetera. For their time devoted to green living on campus students who attend Sustainable Coogs will earn a placard designating them as a resource on environmentally friendly campus living practices and will also earn points towards a chord for graduation awarded by the Office of Sustainability.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

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 opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
No

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:
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The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
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Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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