Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.81
Liaison Christa Rieck
Submission Date Jan. 4, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Houston
EN-11: Inter-Campus Collaboration

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Michael Mendoza
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution an active member of a national or international sustainability network?:

The name of the national or international sustainability network(s):

1) Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education - http://www.aashe.org
2) U.S. Green Building Council - http://www.usgbc.org
3) Forest Stewardship Council - https://us.fsc.org/en-us

Is the institution an active member of a regional, state/provincial or local sustainability network?:

The name of the regional, state/provincial or local sustainability network(s):

1) Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability (TRACS) - https://texascampussustainability.com/

Has the institution presented at a sustainability conference during the previous year? :

A list or brief description of the conference(s) and presentation(s):

Representatives of the University of Houston Office of Sustainability attended the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability and Higher Education's national conference and expo, held Oct. 15-18, 2017 in San Antonio and Oct. 1-5, 2018 in Pittsburgh.

The representatives presented information to conference attendees about COAST (Coogs on Alternative and Sustainable Transportation), an initiative launched by UH Parking and Transportation Services that incentivizes students, faculty and staff to use more sustainable, alternative options - such as carpooling, METRO public transportation and cycling - to commute to campus in 2017.

This year the Office presented a poster detailing campus dining halls’ commitment to sustainably sourced food and drastic waste reduction (Sustainability Coordinator, Gabriel Durham shown presenting on right). As detailed on the poster, campus dining facilities are now committed to producing zero waste by 2020, maintaining Green Restaurant Certification, expanding vegan options, and many other great goals to help campus food be more sustainable.

University of Houston Office of Sustainability Coordinator Melissa Halstead spoke about sustainability at the IEHA Houston Chapter Spring Seminar on June 14.

Halstead’s presentation was part of a day-long seminar at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Conference Center that covered a variety of topics ranging from hurricane preparedness to “cleanology” academics.

Halstead talked with attendees about the different aspects of sustainability and how to incorporate sustainability into building design, energy usage and in natural spaces. Halstead also discussed many of the programs and partnerships the Office of Sustainability has at the University, including single-stream recycling and waste minimization programs, its partnership with UH Dining Services in adopting more sustainable food waste disposal practices, the Campus Community Garden and Farm to Work.

Has the institution submitted a case study during the previous year to a sustainability awards program that is inclusive of multiple campuses? :

A list or brief description of the awards program(s) and submission(s):

In 2018, the Office of Sustainability and UH Dining submitted the UH System dining plan to the National Association of College and University Food Services sustainability awards. The dining contract covers all institutions within the UH system and contains sustainability targets in purchasing, zero-waste, facilities performance, and programming for sustainable food practices. UH was not awarded.

Has the institution had staff, students or faculty serving on a board or committee of a sustainability network or conference during the previous three years? :

A list or brief description of the board or committee appointment(s):

Stephanie Coates is a UH employee who is a sustainability committee member and also a committee member of a Houston sustainability network-Citizens Environmental Coalition. Stephanie is a member of the Citizens Environmental Coalition Earth Day planning committee. The Citizens Environmental Coalition will host Houston's 2018 Earth Day celebration. She is an active member who works to coordinate sustainability related organizations for the city wide celebration.

Does the institution have an ongoing mentoring relationship with another institution through which it assists the institution with its sustainability reporting and/or the development of its sustainability program?:

A brief description of the mentoring relationship and activities:

UH is currently helping the University of Clear Lake, University of Houston Downtown, and University of Houston Victoria organize a formal office of sustainability for their campuses. Currently, UHD has an Environment & Sustainability Coordinator that works to increase communication and create synergy around environmental and sustainability efforts of administrators, staff, faculty, and students by monitoring, coordinating and communicating with departments and relevant committees and student organizations. Each campus is working on goals are to promote and publicize best practices, increase sustainability across the university, and strengthen stewardship of our environment. Representatives from UH are working with representative from each campus to conduct and initial STARS assessment, develop a strategic plan, organize sustainability office structure, and outline funding outline for their future office.

Has the institution had staff, faculty, or students serving as peer reviewers of another institution’s sustainability data (e.g. GHG emissions or course inventory) and/or STARS submission during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the peer review activities:

Has the institution participated in other collaborative efforts around sustainability during the previous year, e.g. joint planning or resource sharing with other institutions? :

A brief description of other collaborative efforts around sustainability during the previous year:

UH is currently developing a climate action plan for the institution. Representative of UH have reached out to other national and Texas institutions, including the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Rice, University of North Texas, Colorado State University, Arizona State University, and others. Additionally, the UH Office of Sustainability partnered with Johnson Space Center (NASA) Office of Sustainability to collaborate on joint climate action plan and initiatives

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support 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.