Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.45
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

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
"---" 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:

UofL has several student groups focused on various aspects of sustainability. The most active student groups in recent years include:

1. The Student Sustainability Coalition (SSC) of the University of Louisville seeks to promote a unity of voices across organizations in order to drive sustainable practices, inform the student body about aspects of sustainability, and hold the administration accountable to the values of the students. This organization is determined to reflect a true representation of the student body, in terms of majors and identities, so that our actions support foundational needs of our university.

2. 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

3. The UofL Chapter of the Food Recovery Network has been very effective at organizing student volunteers to recover hundreds of pounds of leftover food from venues across campus to supply the Cardinal Cupboard campus food pantry and off-campus partners.

4. The Botanical Society is a plant-focused organization committed to facilitating botanical education, community service, and building a strong community of plant enthusiasts.

5. 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.


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:

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 March 2020, the Garden Commons had to relocate permanently out of the way of a new residence hall construction project. The new location at the southwest corner of Strickler Hall has much better visibility and interest and participation has increased.

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.


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:

In 2017, UofL launched a new full-circle, Student Sustainability Fund through which teams of students in a fall Finance capstone 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.

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:

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:
- Kentucky Conservation Committee Annual Legislative Summit (January 2020 & 2019)
- Women and Climate Change Symposium (October 27, 2021)
- Annual UofL Sustainability Week and Campus Sustainability Day Fair (October)
- Climate Change Teach-Ins (Spring) - e.g. Solve Climate by 2030: Kentucky Climate Solutions Dialog (April 7, 2021)
- EcoReps Monthly Sustainability Workshop Series
- Sustainability Roundtable biweekly speaker and discussion series
- Garden Commons Workshop Series
- TEDxUofL conferences on “3Es for the Future: Education, Entrepreneurship & Environment" (March 2012) and "Interconnect" (February 2015)

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:

Wreath Making Workshop - Every November (last 11/19/21) at the Garden Commons
Students are encouraged to join us in UofL's organic, student-managed garden to get in the holiday spirit! Come learn how to make your own beautiful wreath using a variety of plant materials from campus and herbs from our garden. It's easier than you might think and you'll take home something beautiful and unique. This is the last in our fall series of Garden Workshops The Garden Commons is a shared, collectively-managed space, open to participation any time from students, staff, faculty, and community members. Everyone who comes is welcome to share in the harvest!

Celebrating Indigenous Heritage
Nov. 16, 2021 6-7:30pm, College of Business room 106
Join the Cultural Center and Bellarmine’s Office of Identity and Inclusion as they host a student panel discussion on celebrating and exploring the current Indigenous experience locally, nationally, and globally. This panel will be moderated by Dr. Selene Phillips, Assistant Professor from UofL Department of Communications.

Student Sustainability Coalition Arts & Crafts Social
Sept. 22, 2021, 5-7pm, Garden Commons
Get to know the members of the Student Sustainability Coalition and find out what we are all about. We’ll have free food & materials, all you need to bring is yourself!

Winter Sustainability Literature Club
Feb. 24, 2021, 6pm
Are you interested in plants, natural and holistic health, or learning more about the roots of medicine? Come join the discussion and learn about indigenous botany, plant wisdom, and scientific knowledge! The Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) Green Initiatives is sponsoring this winter book club for those interested in learning more about sustainability. The discussion and trivia game on February 24th will focus on the seminal text by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Those interested can RSVP here for a free winter care package, including a copy of the book, essential oil roll-on, and a candle made locally. Reading the book is not required to attend this event, and we welcome all students!

2020: A Dream And A Vision - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration
January 20, 2020, The Playhouse
Please join the UofL African American Theatre Program for our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration. This event is free and open to the public! Please bring donations for Louisville's homeless community including socks, blankets & travel-size toiletries. The event opens with a talk by Kellie Watson, Louisville Metro chief equity officer. UofL’s African American Theatre Program is sponsoring the event with the UofL-Yearlings Club forum series.

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:

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) UofL students organized a wilderness and outdoor club practicing Leave No Trace principles back in December 2014. 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://louisville.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/expedition-cards

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 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.

The model green dorm room is now integrated into the Sustainability Living-Learning Community.

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

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 Sustainability Internship program to hire students on campus. Now the UofL Sustainability Council offers paid internships each year for about two dozen 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 2021-22, positions included:
- Zero Waste Internship
- Sustainability Communication Internship
- UofL Community Composting Internship
- Bike Mechanic Internship
- STARS & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting
- Gardening Internship
- HSC Green Team Internship
- Sustainability Dining Internship
- Beekeeping Internship
- EcoReps Internship

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):

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."

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

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)

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.