Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.22
Liaison Olivia Wiebe
Submission Date Jan. 28, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Idaho
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Olivia Wiebe
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability Coordinator
"---" 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:

There are six student groups focused on sustainability, most notable is the University of Idaho Sustainability Center.

1. In 2006, the Sustainability Center (UISC) was established as the first student-led Sustainability Center west of the Mississippi, as part of campus-wide student movement with support from staff, community, faculty, all three student governments including the Associated Students University of Idaho (ASUI), Graduate Professional Student Association (GPSA), and the Student Bar Association (SBA), residence hall presidents, and many clubs. This effort culminated in the passing of a $5 per semester student fee that continues to support UI Sustainability Center activities. One professional staff advises four student coordinators who are responsible for hosting 50-70 culture change activities annually. In addition, student staff recruit volunteers, support recycling efforts, develop electronic marketing, award up to $10,000 in student-led grant projects, and create new partnerships on campus and the community.

Our Mission—A student-led and student-funded organization, the Sustainability Center supports efforts to create an active culture of sustainability, and we are committed to developing and maintaining healthful, educational living environments while fully integrating sustainable practices at the University of Idaho and in the communities where we operate. Sustainability involves reorganizing our life support systems; climate, energy, biodiversity, food, waste, transportation and built environment. We do this through projects that reduce our environmental footprint and increase participation and collaboration among students, faculty, staff and community members in addressing sustainability-related issues.


The representative body of all undergraduate students, ASUI is comprised of three branches; executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch includes a Director of Sustainability position. This position serves as a liaison between ASUI and the UI Sustainability Center and is responsible for coordinating Fall/Spring sustainability events, and encouraging sustainable practices at the University of Idaho. In addition, the ASUI president often collaborates with the Sustainability Center on conservation initiatives.


3. Conservation and Environment Club
The C&E club are students at the University of Idaho interested in conservation and the environment that provide opportunities for UI students and the community to learn about the relationship between humans and our environment while providing a place to connect, have fun, and be outside through volunteering, outreach, networking, and other events.


Soil Stewards is a student organization focused on local, organic and sustainable farming - for students and the surrounding community. The Soil Stewards were founded in 2003 and for 10 years the members have operated their own farm at the University of Idaho research farms a mile from main campus. They grow starts to sell at the Farmer's Market and produce which is sold to the Moscow Food Co-op, and on-farm sales. Members gain valuable experience in farming, project development and organization.


5.) Society for Conservation Biology, U.I. Chapter:
The main goal of this organization is to help enhance the experience of students who are interested in conservation biology at the University of Idaho. Geared towards students interested in conservation, ecology, or environmental sciences and enjoy being outdoors, volunteering, or getting involved in the scientific community, this organization is affiliated with the international SCB community, and offers opportunities to connect with conservation leaders around the world as well as right here on the Palouse.


6.)Vandal Clean Energy Club
The VCEC is dedicated to educating, promoting, and implementing clean energy and sustainable practices in and around the University of Idaho. VCEC has members from nearly every department on campus. This diversity allows VCEC to utilize and strengthen a vast array of skills and viewpoints. Club activities include hands-on engineering projects, grant writing, business modeling, fundraising, multimedia design, and many others.


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:

Soil Stewards Farm, founded in 2003, provides an opportunity for students to learn and practice the principles of sustainable, small-acreage market garden production. Our student farmers gain important hands-on experience and leadership skills through the operation of the farm. Students who work at the farm learn to apply scientific knowledge to management and receive the hands-on training to sustain the Soil Stewards Farm.

Soil Stewards goals are to promote the preservation of natural resources and sustainability through community outreach, research, and experiential learning. It’s a diverse group joined by a desire to effect change and grow healthy, organic food right here on campus. Members include students, faculty, and community members alike. Students range from undergraduate and graduate members, art majors, soil science majors, agriculture majors and environmental science majors.


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 Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) is one of the only programs of its kind in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. The program prepares students to solve the 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering in the 21st century, as established by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Here are 5 out of 14 of the program focuses under the umbrella of sustainability.
 Make solar energy economical
 Provide energy from fusion
 Develop carbon sequestration methods
 Manage the nitrogen cycle
 Provide access to clean water


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:

There is a proposed revolving fund that has not yet been implemented. More information can be found here:


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:

The UI Sustainability Center (UISC) hosts various speaker series and symposia.

In 2020, the Sustainability Center hosted a UI Dam Removal Webinar, which sought to educate citizens and students about dam removal impacts on fish, alternative energy needs, research, and more. Five natural resource professionals from around the state of Idaho answered questions from attendees about dam removal impacts (and the Mike Simpson dam removal proposal).

Also in 2020, the Sustainability Center hosted an Interfaith Climate Discussion that aimed to answer how faith informs responses to climate change. Five panelists from a wide array of faiths and backgrounds came together to discuss the responsibility of humans to work towards the common goal of climate stability. Students, staff and faculty were able to ask questions and discuss answers in an open, collaborative format.

Each year, the Sustainability Center hosts a Sustainability Showcase to celebrate the collective efforts to achieve a more sustainable campus. Students showcase their sustainability-related work in research, campus projects, and creative/artistic endeavors through presentations and an open gallery. The Showcase aims to feature the thinkers, creators and innovators in our student community who are leveraging their education for good by contributing to making UI a more sustainable place. All students, graduates and undergraduates, are encouraged to participate in the showcase. Each category has certificates of excellence awarded to the most significant entries.

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:

The Sustainability Center hosted an art exhibit in the Idaho Student Union Building in the Reflections Gallery. The art exhibit featured student and staff art that related to sustainability and eco-consciousness. The exhibit was displayed for two weeks.

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:

The University of Idaho Outdoor Program is a non-profit service organization providing the university community with education and resources for wilderness-based, human-powered, and environmentally sound activities. We promote teamwork, leadership, and growth through outdoor adventure experiences. The UI Outdoor Program runs over 60 field-based trips per year, totaling over 6000 contact hours with participants. Trips are run in four western states and include a wide variety of activities for individuals with varying experience levels. All UI Outdoor Program trips incorporate Leave No Trace education and principles.

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:

In 2019, the Sustainability Center partnered with the campus dietician to host a series of free cooking classes for students. These classes featured healthy recipes that were able to be executed in a shared kitchen space. The classes featured trivia questions about food sources, discussion based questions about sustainable food substitutes, and questions designed to get participants to think about how health and sustainability relate to one another and how to incorporate both into purchasing decisions at the local grocery stores while maintaining a tight budget. Students could win sustainability-enhancing prizes and earn one personal fitness credit.

This series was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic, but a similar event is planned for 2022 that will feature a pickling workshop where students will learn about extending the shelf-lives of less processed foods and local organic produce sourcing.

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

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

Student Leadership employment opportunities are offered at the U of I Sustainability Center (UISC). UISC employs four student staff positions responsible for coordinating events, volunteers, recycling, marketing, grant projects, website, and social marketing. Students receive training, support, and mentorship from the Sustainability Coordinator.

The Sustainability Center does not have a webpage describing student employment opportunities. Each spring we announce employment opportunities through an all-student email, social media, and the student employment portal, Handshake.

Student staff profiles and contact information are posted on the UISC website.

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):

The Graduation Pledge of Social & Environmental Responsibility states:

“I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work.”


A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

The Confluence Lab:
The Confluence Lab is a unit within the English Department that incubates and implements creative interdisciplinary research projects that bring together scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, and community members, to engage environmental issues in the state of Idaho. The primary goal is to facilitate idea exchange, and the central premise is that the tools of the humanities—especially those related to storytelling, representation, emotions and communication—can help develop holistic approaches to these issues from the ground up. The projects investigate conceptual and communication barriers that underlie debates about controversial issues especially relevant to rural communities, such as public land use, natural resource management, wildfires, drought, energy infrastructure and the causes and effects of climate change.


Additional documentation to support the submission:

Wilderness program: Trevor Fulton, Executive Director of Recreation and Wellbeing

Sustainability events and student employment opportunities: Olivia Wiebe, Sustainability Center Coordinator; Department of Student Involvement

Events like the dam removal or art show do not have active URLs, only marketing and event photos.

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.