Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 63.89
Liaison Christa Rieck
Submission Date March 3, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Houston
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Gabriel Durham
Graduate assistant
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:

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. https://uh.edu/architecture/current-students/student-life/organizations/usgbc/

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. http://law.uh.edu/organizations/eels/

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 is a student organization where 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. https://uh.edu/mvp/about-us/

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:

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. https://uh.edu/af-university-services/sustainability/campus-community-garden/

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 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, and providing oat milk and other more sustainable milk substitutes.

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:

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 continues to provide the 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 main audience is students but faculty, staff, alumni and community members are also invited to attend. Here is an example meetup regarding the Texas Bullet Train project.

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:

In partnership with the Student Centers, the Office of Sustainability holds occasional film screenings to highlight sustainability topics. For example, as part of Recyclemania 2020, the Student Centers screened the film "A Plastic Ocean" to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the worlds oceans. A future screening of "Food Inc." will also be shown at the Student Centers in partnership with a conference regarding Food Security.

Student Centers Film Program and Sustainability Page: https://www.uh.edu/studentcenters/special-programs/film-series/

Film Facebook Event Example: https://www.facebook.com/events/354540122068636/?acontext=%7B%22event_action_history%22%3A[%7B%22surface%22%3A%22page%22%7D]%7D

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:

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.

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:

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:

The Office of Sustainabilty, in partnership with the Residence Halls Association & local NRHH chapter, teach students how to live more 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.

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

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/

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):

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:

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.