Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.92
Liaison Gretchen Vanicor
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Gretchen Vanicor
"---" 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:

Ragin’ Cajun Sustainability Leaders (RCSL) – Founded in Summer 2019, RCSL aims to spread education and passion for sustainability throughout campus and the city of Lafayette as a whole. Members work hand-in-hand with the UL Lafayette Office of Sustainability on fun and meaningful sustainability projects. All majors are welcome in this club and there were 85 members in the 19-20 school year. https://www.facebook.com/rcsustainabilityleaders

SAVE - description requested from SAVE student

Biology Society – The objective of the UL Biology Society is to promote and nurture interest in the Biological Sciences, much of which revolves around sustainability or sustainability-related topics. All students interested in Biology and all topics that relate to it may join, no matter their major. This organization was created over ten years ago to help students learn more about careers and studies in the ever-changing world of Biology; keeping them updated in interesting and relevant biology-related facts in today’s world. Each year they have between 70 and 100 dues paying members. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ulbiologysociety/

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 Offices of Sustainability, Global Engagement, and Graduate School worked with students to install a community vegetable and pollinator garden, berry patch, and fruit orchard in the courtyards of Cajun Village, the on-campus graduate and family housing. The garden began with four beds and because of requests from student residents has doubled to eight raised beds. The raised beds were filled with compost from the University's Zero Waste campus program by students. The garden was started with funding from the University's Living Lab for Sustainable Development program and expanded by the Office of Student Housing. Students and staff, their spouses, and children help plant and maintain the beds, and decide what plants will be planted each season.

Some beds are designated as "open", where anyone can harvest, and others can be reserved by students or families. UL AmeriCorps student volunteers and Graduate School Organization student volunteers will continue to volunteer in the garden, gaining experience in producing seasonal, fresh food and circular, sustainable food systems. Any extra yields will be donated to the our Campus Cupboard for students experiencing food insecurity.

In addition to the Cajun Community Garden, the Office of Sustainability and Grounds Management engage students in planting fruit and nut trees throughout campus. The trees are strategically located to maximize exposure and seasonality. Citrus trees are planted near our Dupre Library and Residential Halls, and produce prolific amounts of fruit during fall semester finals week. Campus social media and Res Life promote the effort to students as fruit becomes ripe. Many more citrus, fig, pear, peach, and nut trees are planted along high-traffic bike and pedestrian paths. In 2019, the student government association voted to contribute funds for additional trees and signage promoting the urban productive landscape.

In Spring 2020 the Sustainability RAs adopted a Tower Garden to grow vegetables and herbs in the lobby of the residence halls. Currently, we have been loaned one TG from a community member and every couple weeks the RAs move it to a new hall. The Sustainability RA in each hall takes care of the garden and all residents are free to help and benefit from what grows. We had additional programming planned but it has been postponed due to Covid-19.

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:

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:

Every year for Earth Week, the Office of Sustainability puts on a week of programming filled with film screenings, lectures, and events, all culminating with our biggest event of the year - the Fête de la Terre Expo for organizations, businesses, and non-profits who are committed to a more sustainable Acadiana and Louisiana. The 2019 Fete de la Terre Expo had about 400 attendees. https://sustainability.louisiana.edu/get-involved/f%C3%AAte-de-la-terre/f%C3%AAte-de-la-terre

During the 2019/20 school year, RCSL hosted a series of meeting focused on the link between sustainability and various career paths/departments on campus. Four meetings covered: sustainability & engineering, sustainability & architecture, sustainability & social justice and politics, and sustainability & health and wellness.

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 Hilliard University Art Museum regularly features phenomenal art exhibits and hosts events that are focused on sustainability, the environment, and our responsibility. The exhibits are free to students. Below are descriptions of recent exhibits and events:

Apr 17, 2021 — Aug 25, 2021

Nancy Macko’s exhibition The Fragile Bee presents pollinator conservation as an environmental justice issue with roots in 1970s Ecofeminism. Macko’s bees are symbols of a movement that aims to undo the damage humans have wrought on our environment. Bees and other pollinators are animals we rely on. They deserve our respect because they are responsible for the vast majority of the food humans eat. In the context of Macko’s art activism, advocating for bees is equal to advocating for ourselves; doing so illustrates our interconnectedness. However, it is important to note that Macko’s work does not anthropomorphize bees, assigning them human values, which may be more myth than reality. For example, it is hard to know whether bees value hard work or favor an orderly society. Thanks to a collaboration with Mark A. Genung and his students in the Department of Biology here at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, you will learn that bees might be better characterized as opportunistic. Furthermore, many social bee habits are controlled chemically using pheromones queen bees emit, potentially limiting bees’ ability to opt into behaviors. Acknowledging bees lack human agency to fend for themselves in the face of threats to their environment makes it easier to advocate on their behalf.

It is easy to understand how Nancy Macko’s work is relevant in a global sense, but her rich art historical lineage is complex. Artists whose work can provide interesting context for Nancy Macko’s practice include Anna Atkins, Diana Thater, and Aganetha Dyck and are part of a continuum of women artists who share similar interests. Take Anna Atkins’ seminal text British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions for example. Published in 1843, it was one of the first publications to use light-sensitive materials for illustrations as well as text (replacing the likes of engravings, lithographs, and letterpress type). Over time, Atkins’ images are now respected for their artistic value, but initially, she was most associated with using photographic means to document the world with unprecedented accuracy. Hers was a ground shaking innovation. Photography’s use within scientific and creative capacities continues today in work like Macko’s as well as Diana Thater’s. Both use photography and moving images to critique how animals and the environment are treated by humans. As the longtime Director of the Scripps College Digital Art Program, Macko is also tied to narratives associated with technological innovation. From the standpoint of subject matter, the Canadian sculptor Aganetha Dyck shares Macko’s interest in bees. Dyck is known for her work with live bees and creates sculptures by encouraging bees to build hives in forms she creates. Her interests are clearly aligned with Macko’s and understanding each of these four artists is important because they are interconnected. Their relationship within art history parallels human interconnection with honey bees in that it is complex, vital, and easily taken for granted. (https://www.hilliardmuseum.org/exhibits/nancy-macko-the-fragile-bee)

Feb 07, 2020 — May 16, 2020

The exhibition Robert C. Tannen|BOX-CITY is an interactive exhibition using cardboard boxes as to-scale models that allow museum visitors to explore urban design concepts as they relate to collaboration and civic discourse. The monumental work of art for which the exhibition is titled will consist primarily of sixty 48" x 40" x 48" triple wall boxes visitors can use to create their own metropolis. Tannen is focusing on cardboard boxes as an art-making material because it is so relatable. He is also interested in exploring cardboard as a potential building material in a future with more people and fewer resources to go around. (https://www.hilliardmuseum.org/exhibits/robert-c-tannen-box-city)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 AT 6 PM – 8 PM
Panel Discussion: Architecture and Sustainability

UL Lafayette Professors of Architecture explore the role sustainability plays in the world of modern architecture, and how they integrate these themes into their own practice. This panel is presented in response to the exhibition “Robert C. Tannen | BOX-CITY”. Panelists include W. Geoff Gjertson, Professor; Kiwana T. McClung, Assistant Professor; Michael A. McClure, Associate Dean; and Corey L. Saft, Professor.(Professors of Architecture explored the role sustainability plays in the world of modern architecture, in conjunction with BOX-CITY exhibition.)

Feb 20, 2019 — Apr 30, 2019

An interactive public art project by Emily Stergar

Part of being from a place, or living in a community is knowing the landscape. Oftentimes, the earth under your feet feels more authentic than a person ever could. Emily Stergar’s work is rooted in these ideas and if you claim Acadiana as your home we need your help.

Stergar’s sculpture will be outdoors near the Hilliard’s water wall from 2/18/2019 – 4/30/2019. Mark your claim to our community by bringing a small container of soil from your home or a favorite place to contribute to Stergar’s sculpture. Take an image of yourself with your earth contribution, then post it on social media tag us on Facebook or Instagram @hilliardmuseum with your neighborhood or city.

Emily Stergar is Assistant Professor of Sculpture in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Department of Visual Arts. She is a recent transplant to Lafayette. (https://www.hilliardmuseum.org/exhibits/installation-land-displace-ment-replace-ment-1)

Sep 06, 2019 — Oct 26, 2019

Through the media of visual art and poetry, artist Melissa Bonin explores ancient and universal themes. She uses nature as metaphor to create a personal symbolic language. Her work examines life, death, rebirth, transformation and the intersection between Heaven and Earth. Symbols of land, trees, water, sky, birds and moons, which are accessible to all, are used to link the viewer to the past.

Bonin states: “The minimal bayou paintings are not landscapes; they are journeys. Painted trees serve as portals, and dancing vines and low-lying branches become obstacles which define the path from darkness into light. While birds represent the human soul and eternal life, acting as guides and forecasters… As the link between Heaven and Earth, their flight is a powerful metaphor for freedom and the soul’s journey in pursuit of higher knowledge. Moon and moonlight illuminate the Divine Feminine, while perspective, color, rhythm, and movement are used to draw the viewer in. Guided by this light, the observer is then invited to go deeper, into the water, and into the song of the terrain.

Informed by a multicultural blend of sources, I present perspectives influenced by my French and Acadian ancestry, and the journey of the Great Deportation: refugee to joie de vivre, from deportation to transformation. In honor of the feminine, the work echoes a deep connection to the natural world, a responsibility as guardians of the Earth, human spirit and the song of the terrain and its people.” (https://www.hilliardmuseum.org/exhibits/songbirds-nature-as-metaphor-by-melissa-bonin)


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 Biology Society hosts hikes, camping, and other outdoor trips that follow Leave No Trace 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:

All Freshmen are required to take a UNIV 100 class their first semester. Of the ~40 UNIV topics offered in 2019, 18 of them were either sustainability courses or courses that include sustainability. https://firstyear.louisiana.edu/univ-100

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:

Our Res Life Sustainability Coordinators are dedicated to helping fellow student residents develop an understanding of their individuals impacts on the environment and life skills and daily practices they can implement to reduce their impacts. Res Life Sustainability Student Coordinators with the support of the Office of Sustainability, engage students through a variety of programming efforts, including Zero Waste Move-In Day, Energy Week, Saturday bike trips to the local Farmers' Market, craft projects, tree plantings, movie screenings, and Goodwill, not Landfill for move-out. Peer-to-peer mentoring helps students adopt our Good to Geaux reusable to-go container program, learn proper recycling methods, conserve energy by adjusting thermostats and unplugging during breaks, and encourages students to be mindful of their water use.

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

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

The Office of Sustainability has three graduate assistant positions, one 20-hr student worker position, and 5 12-hr work study positions available for students.

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:

UL Lafayette has the only university-based AmeriCorps program in the state of Louisiana. In 2019 UL Americorps and the Office of Sustainability formalized a partnership making the Office of Sustainability and sustainability-related projects on campus an official project site for the program. In the 2019-20 school year, Americorps members took part in projects related to zero waste, biodiversity and landscape management, and storm water management amounting.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.