Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.24
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Louisville
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Justin Mog
Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives
Office of the Provost
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Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

UofL has several student groups focused on various aspects of sustainability.

1. The Louisville Student Cycling Coalition actively encourages students to ride bicycles for fun and transportation. They advocate for improved bike facilities on campus, provide bike repair assistance and training, and host the UofL Cycling Team. http://uoflcycling.com/

2. The Green House Committee engages residential students at UofL in a variety of sustainability initiatives and awareness-raising campaigns, from Recyclemania and Ecolympics to a model green dorm room to end-of-semester "Lighten Your Load" campaigns for keeping unwanted items out of the landfill.

3. Engage.Lead.Serve. Board's Green Initiatives Committee is supported by SGA and engages students in service, social, educational, and networking events focused on sustainability. The committee organized the first-ever Student Sustainability Summit for UofL in February 2016. http://www.uoflelsb.org/green-initiatives.html

4. UofL's Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter raised funds and organized students to build the first-ever student-funded and student-built, LEED-designed home for a needy family in Louisville in 2015. http://orgsync.com/50196/chapter

5. The Cardinal Student/Farmworker Alliance formed in 2015 to advocate for the rights and fair treatment of farmworkers who help supply food for the campus and the country. https://www.facebook.com/CardinalSFA

6. Cards United Against Sweatshops formed in 2014 to encourage the responsible sourcing of UofL apparel and to advocate for fair treatment and living wages for all workers, including those on campus. http://www.facebook.com/groups/1395717654022910/

7. Student Athletes Taking Action (SATA) formed during the 2013-14 year as a grassroots initiative of student athletes to help engage other students and Athletics staff in sustainability and social justice. They have helped launch composting and shoe-collection initiatives at Athletics facilities and organized the Cards Go Green home game promotions in April 2014. http://www.facebook.com/groups/421683291298792/

8. In the spring of 2010, a group of students interested in gardening and local food systems formed around the creation of the campus Garden Commons project at the Cultural Center and the group gained status as a Registered Student Organization in summer 2010. The group evolved over time and is now directed by a student sustainability intern. More info: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=113263822035351

9. In the fall of 2010, UofL incorporated a student-chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council with a focus on expanding their LEED design and green building knowledge. More info: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Student-LEED-Group-University-of-Louisville/104199722986682

10. Group Recycling and Sustainable Solutions (GRASS) was first recognized as a registered student organization (RSO) in February of 2009. GRASS has the goal of bringing issues of sustainability to public awareness and of enlarging the environmental movement by working with other groups. The members of GRASS participate in many events throughout the year that bring awareness to the community. Past activities included "dumpster dives," an environmental film series, and several volunteer opportunities throughout the community to provide students with both hands-on experience and a forum for discussion regarding sustainability. GRASS has a representative on UofL's Sustainability Council. More info: http://www.facebook.com/groups/25273129997/

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?:

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

On March 3, 2010, volunteers from across the UofL community gathered at the Cultural Center to break ground on the Garden Commons - a hands-on effort to educate and involve students in organic local food production. The garden is student-managed, originally through an internship program and now by the Garden Commons Recognized Student Organization whose goal is: "Educating ourselves to become urban farmers." Though everyone in the UofL community is invited to participate, students have taken the lead role in making decisions about what to plant, how to care for the crops, and what to do with the harvest. The Garden Commons has hosted an on-going series of workshops about organic gardening, agriculture, and food justice.
In June 2011, the Garden Commons received a grant to significantly expand and install a greenhouse, rain barrels, signage, more growing beds, and an outdoor gathering space. Watch a video about the expansion at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkR3-3UD4vw&feature=player_embedded.

In May 2013, graduate students and staff in the Dept. of Urban & Public Affairs broke ground on a new "Horticulture Zone" designed by students to highlight sustainable permaculture principles. The garden was created by removing under-utilized lawn that had to be mowed with fossil fuels and now features four raised beds for vegetables, an historic apple tree and 14 newly planted fruit trees, a no-mow nitrogen-fixing clover plot, bird-feeders and native plants to attract wildlife, two compost bins, and three rain barrels. The garden is majority-funded by student government and managed by students in collaboration with staff.

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)?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

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?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

In 2017-18, UofL piloted a new full-circle, Student Sustainability Fund through which students in a fall Finance class learn about and gain real-world experience with Socially-Responsible Investing during the fall semester; and then, in the spring semester, students in a Social Change class learn about and gain real-world experience with Student Philanthropy to support local projects and organizations working to implement sustainability.

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

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

Throughout the year, UofL hosts a wide variety of sustainability events for students. Major sustainability related conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events at UofL include:
- EcoReps Monthly Sustainability Workshop Series
- Sustainability Roundtable biweekly speaker and discussion series
- Organic Gardening Workshop Series
- Annual UofL Sustainability Week and Campus Sustainability Day Fair (October)
- Louisville Sustainability Summit (October 2018)
In past years, UofL has also hosted:
- Climate Change Teach-Ins (April)
- TEDxUofL conferences on “3Es for the Future: Education, Entrepreneurship & Environment" (March 2012) and "Interconnect" (February 2015) http://tedx.uofl.com/
- Campus Community Partnerships for Sustainability conference (organized and hosted by UofL in 2012)
- Conscious College Road Tour & Sustainability Town Hall (March 2014)

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?:

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

• UofL's Cressman Center for Visual Arts periodically features art installations with sustainability themes. Installations have included:
1. "Organize Your Own: An Intergenerational Cultural Dialogue" (February 2019). This exhibit included a cultural program and spoken-word event at and about the exhibit. It was cohosted by UofL’s Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, the Black Scene Millennium, and Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice (L-SURJ). This cultural program focused on issues of identity in the struggle against racism and in other social justice movements since Stokely Carmichael's 1965 call to "organize your own." The program included conversation, music, snacks, spoken-word, and an open-mic part of the program. In 1965, Stokely Carmichael and SNCC made a historic call for Black Power, as well as a directive to all racial justice supporters to organize in their own communities. Groups like the Panthers, the Young Lords, the Young Patriots, and many others responded. Fifty years later, Louisville native Daniel Tucker invited artists and cultural workers to produce new works reflecting on this call to “organize your own” in the struggle against racism. The resulting "Organize Your Own" exhibition has toured the US. The dialogue engaged both the exhibit and the important histories and currents it raises. Curator Daniel Tucker joined us from Philadelphia to tour and discuss the exhibit, and participants heared more about the exciting revival of The Black Scene, a local 1970s publication.
2. “Phytophilic: New works by Gabrielle Mayer and Gail Wisdom." Mayer’s pieces for “Phytophilic” are nature-oriented with hair twisted, braided and entwined into wreath-like patterns and floral motifs. The floral focus ties in with Wisdom’s images of weeds. Wisdom’s medium is camera-less photography, or photographic contact printing, and her subject is botanicals.
3. “10,000 Thoughts” Deep Ecology Art Exhibit. UofL’s Ying Kit Chan, chair of the department of Fine Arts, produced this installation of small sketches and photographic prints embedded with philosophical contemplations of the state of global environmental conditions. He continues to explore the theme of deep ecology, an ecocentric rather than anthropocentric worldview, which emphasizes interconnectedness and harmony of the universe. In addition to the deep ecology philosophy, the work interprets Taoist and Buddhist thoughts, as well as Jewish ideas of nature, rain, tree, soil and the Sabbath.

• In November 2018, UofL's Honors Student Council Diversity & Inclusion Bubble presented "Justice Through Art: A Coffee House & Open Mic" featuring poet Hannah Drake and an Open Mic for social justice. Justice Through Art is centered around artistic expression of identities, especially identities that are socially marginalized. It provides space for students and community members to come hear poems or see other creative works from students and artists around Louisville. It was a fun, exciting evening with free refreshments (from Heart & Soy and The Black Italian) as well as home-baked desserts with vegan options.

• In November 2018, the Engage Lead Serve Board Green Initiatives committee and Mental and Physical Health committee teamed up to organize a free, half-day Inner Sustainability Retreat to teach students how to be sustainable for both the earth and themselves mentally and physically. Students explored how well-being and your environment intertwine in our understanding of self. Participants enjoyed yoga, lunch, giveaways, and informational sessions.

• The October 2018 Louisville Sustainability Summit held at UofL's Student Activities Center opened with a free performance by Hite Elementary School's Junkyard Hawks, who make music out of scrap items.

• In August 2017, Cards SPEAK presented The PreFest Music Festival and LiftUp Fair. The event sampled the music and fun of the first PeteFest Music festival (held September 2018). In addition to live music, food, and games, participants learned about UofL wellbeing resources, participated in the Kognito Challenge, took the pledge to #helpsomeone, utilized the #CardsFightSuicide photo booth and shared in some social media fun. UofL Sustainabiltiy Council and LouVelo bikeshare were be on-hand to promote wellness, especially through sustainable food, gardening, and active transportation. The PeteFest is sponsored by The Pete Foundation, a local charity that seeks to instill a culture in which dialogue surrounding depression and anxiety is met with understanding and acceptance by providing services and experiences for young people.

• The Engage.Lead.Serve Board Green Initiatives committee and Student Activities Board collaborated to present an unforgettable day of performers and action for sustainability dubbed "Ecochella" - Sustainability Fair, Speakers & Music Fest! A sustainability fair was be held outside the Red Barn during the afternoon, followed by an evening of speakers and live music. Our speakers, who shed light on the idea that "sustainability is more than recycling" included: 1. Dale Douthat, director of Habitat for Humanity ReStore of Metro Louisville; 2. John Krueger, co-founder of Falls City Community Bikeworks; and 3. Carmen Black, regional coordinator for the Real Food Challenge.

• The student environmental group, GRASS, and the Engage.Lead.Serve Board's Green Initiatives committee have both organized sustainability film series for students over the years. Screenings have included: "Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story;" "Rubbertown;" "YERT - Your Environmental Road Trip;" "Chasing Ice;" "Gasland;" "Wonder: The Lives of Anna & Harlan Hubbard;" "Bringing it Home;" "Deep Down: A Story from the Heart of Coal Country;" and "The Ghosts in Our Machine."

• The Sustainability Council has organized UofL's participation in PARK(ing) Day, an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks and creative spaces. UofL's Urban Design Studio also organized a Tactical Urbanism Workshop, Block Party & Salon to transform an entire city block. Tactical Urbanism is a fast-growing, international movement to catalyze change in cities by utilizing highly creative, small-scale pilot projects and other actions to advance long-term change for urban sustainability.

• April's Earth Week activities organized by the Student Activities Board has featured a Recyclable Sculpture Contest in which teams have 30 minutes to construct whatever they want out of the recyclables that their team has collected. The results are judged and prizes awarded.

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?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

UofL offers both for-credit and extracurricular outdoors programs for students that follow Leave No Trace principles:

1) HSS 133-90 BACKPACKING AND HIKING is a one-credit course offered each semester and meeting at various local parks. The course provides the knowledge of the physical activity and recreational components involved in backpacking and hiking. Emphasis is placed on planning, equipment, clothing, environmental impact and safety.

2) In December 2014, UofL students organized a new club with this focus. Expedition Cards is an outdoors club that brings together students that have an interest in the outdoors and outdoors recreation. Through the club, students organize regularly group opportunities to hike and camp among other things. https://www.facebook.com/Expeditioncards

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)?:

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Through the Book-In-Common program, UofL students were encouraged to read and explore a common text throughout the academic year. The text was also incorporated into English 101 and other classrooms across disciplines.

From 2016-18, the text "Hidden America" was selected to facilitate students in exploring individual contributions to a variety of complex systems and the connections of people who are also part of those systems that provide for their quality of life. The books examines othered, (“hidden”) or marginalized populations in our own community to provide a starting point for discussion of important current events, such as debates about oil, coal and other natural resources, gun control, immigration, feminism and gender stereotypes, and animal cloning.

In the 2013-2016 academic years, the text, "This I Believe" was selected to engage students in critical thinking and discussion about their fundamental beliefs and motivations. Themes vital to sustainability were included in many of the essays featured in the book and written by UofL students, faculty, and staff participating in the Book-in-Common program.

In the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years, the text, "The Other Wes Moore" by author Wes Moore highlighted a variety of social sustainability themes including urban poverty, racism, access to education, and justice. The book has been very well-received by UofL's diverse student population and has spurred a deep interest in service projects to empower under-served youth in Louisville.

In the 2010-11 academic year, the text, "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" (2005) by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner challenged students to consider the interconnectivity of major issues shaping our world and the sustainability implications of seemingly unrelated policy and design decisions.

The Office of First Year Initiatives partners with the Sustainability Council and other campus and local community organizations to provide a series of out-of-class activities revolving around sustainability themes and issues raised throughout the Book-In-Common. Related activities take place throughout the academic year, including a featured keynote speaker (brought to campus as a part of UofL Sustainability Week), out-of-class group discussions, essay contests, film screenings, and faculty lectures/panels.

The Book-in-Common program supports new students in their transition and acculturation to UofL and engages the campus community through a series of curricular and co-curricular activities related to a common text. Through cross-campus collaborations, Book-in-Common supports the university mission of intellectual and cultural development, the President’s Vision for Diversity, and the university’s goals of developing students’ critical thinking skills and community engagement.

The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):

Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

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

In fall 2018, UofL launched a Sustainability Living-Learning Community. This community provides students interested in sustainability and sustainable living with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the principles and practice of sustainability, while developing skills, leadership, and a community of support. Participants in this immersive LLC will live together, take classes together, and take action together. They will participate in campus sustainability programming and service projects. As sustainability is an inherently transdisciplinary pursuit, participants from any major are welcome. You do not have to be pursuing a degree in Sustainability to live in this community, but participants will be exposed to this new major as an option.

UofL also has a model Green Dorm Room which opened in Louisville Hall in Fall 2009, but was first developed as a challenge to 10 students in Jamie Horwitz's Spring 2009 Sustainable Architecture course. At the request of Russ Barnett, director of research and development for the Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development, these students gave their input to design the room as a model of sustainable living on campus.

Turning the students' conceptual design into an actual dorm room was made possible with a $5,000 grant from Arts and Sciences Dean Blaine Hudson.

Certain features distinguish this room from any other on campus. These differences are much more sustainable and aesthetically pleasing:
- The floors are made of bamboo, a faster-growing and more sustainable alternative than wood, synthetic flooring or carpet.
- One wall is covered in clay, a natural building material which has insulating properties, improves air quality by catching dust, and is easier to repair and maintain. Large windows let in plenty of natural light, eliminating the need to use electric lights during the day.
- A ceiling fan helps regulate temperatures more efficiently.
- A low-flow showerhead and toilet, as well as an aerator on the faucet, has cut water use by about 50 percent.
With high ceilings, large windows and the several distinctive "green" characteristics, the room is more like a modern, innovative, energy efficient living space than a typical dorm.

Residents of the model green dorm room participate actively in the Housing Green Committee, act as sustainability leaders within the community, and welcome tours to demonstrate sustainable living principles.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn7Fw3Kd3GM

Read more about the student design process at: http://php.louisville.edu/news/news.php?news=1374

Read more about the experience of living in UofL's model green dorm room: http://louisville.edu/uofltoday/campus-news/uofl-green-scene-living-green-and-loving-it

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

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

Each year, the Sustainability Council hires students (work-study, interns, and/or graduate assistants) to help implement a wide variety campus sustainability initiatives. In 2014, the Council launched a new Sustainability Internship program to hire students on campus. Now the UofL Sustainability Council offers a limited number of paid internships each year for particularly passionate students who are interested in learning by doing. Internships are open to any qualified UofL student (undergraduate or graduate, full- or part-time). All interns are paid $10/hour (no benefits) for an average of 10 hours/week throughout the fall and spring semesters. Some positions may be extended into the summer or renewed in the following academic year. In 2015-16, positions included:
- Zero Waste Internship
- Sustainability Communication Internship
- UofL Community Composting Internship
- Bike Mechanic Internship
- STARS & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting / Gardening Internship

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?:

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

UofL's Student Government Association created the following voluntary Sustainability Graduation Pledge in 2011 in partnership with the national Graduation Pledge Alliance, and in collaboration with UofL's Sustainability Council. The goal is to encourage UofL students to take what they've learned about social and environmental responsibility into their future lives and careers. Those planning to graduate soon are encouraged to take the pledge:

University of Louisville Sustainability Graduation Pledge

"As a concerned, educated member of society, and as a Graduate of the University of Louisville, I believe it is my duty to be concerned about and respectful of both the environment and my fellow human beings.
As a Louisville Cardinal, I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider.
I will give careful thought to the environmental impact of the actions I choose, both in my personal life, and within any organizations for which I work or choose to affiliate."

The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Throughout the year, UofL hosts a wide variety of sustainability events for students - from lectures to service activities to conferences to fairs to films and performances.

Major annual sustainability events at UofL include:
- UofL Sustainability Week and Campus Sustainability Day Fair (October)
- UofL Arbor Day (April)
- Earth Week Celebrations (April)
- SOUL - Student Outreach Uniting Louisville Welcome Week service event (August)

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about 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.