Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.47
Liaison Sally DeLeon
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Maryland, College Park
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Sally DeLeon
Acting Manager
Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

The University of Maryland Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) is a department of the University of Maryland’s undergraduate Student Government Association (SGA) that advises the SGA and University decision makers to ensure that the environmental sustainability priorities of the undergraduate student body are met. SSC promotes and implements campus and community environmental sustainability projects in the areas of transportation, water and energy use, food and materials consumption, development and landscape planning, environmental education, and beyond.

Another notable group, Food Recovery Network (FRN) is a network of student volunteers who work with Dining Services to collect leftover food and deliver it to local soup kitchens and shelters. FRN is serving a social need to feed the hungry in surrounding communities while simultaneously reducing organic waste and saving Dining Service money on waste hauling.

MaryPIRG is a student-directed social advocacy group that works on issues such as hunger and homelessness, clean energy and civic engagement. Campaigns are spearheaded by student leaders and supported by numerous volunteers. The group often partners with other student groups throughout the year to form coalitions and tailor campaigns to student interests.

The Residence Hall Association Sustainability Committee of Maryland (RHA SCOM) works to help plan sustainability related programs and initiatives for the residential community and the campus.

For a full list of organizations and descriptions visit the website URL (below) where information about student groups is available.


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?:
Yes

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

The Community Learning Garden, just one of The University of Maryland’s (UMD’s) organic gardens, is a student teaching and community garden demonstrating sustainable agriculture and environmental best practices in support of public, environmental, and community health. UMD has another small organic garden, St. Mary’s Garden, which students operate in cooperation with UMD Dining Services. In 2014 the Department of Dining Services, in collaboration with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, established "Terp Farm." The goal of this campus-run farm is to create a successful farming operation that can supply Dining Services with a reliable supply of sustainably grown produce. Students are able to get their hands dirty in farm operations through coursework from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources or by participating as a Terp Farm student employee (see the description below of sustainability-focused student employment opportunities for more information).


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The Maryland Food Co-op is a natural food store and cafe that is worker-owned and operated. Many of the workers are University of Maryland students. The Food Co-op is located on the lower level of the University's Student Center and has been a popular on-campus dining spot for many years.


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?:
Yes

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

Maryland students have the opportunity to gain insight to the world of sustainable investment through participating in the Student Advisory Subcommittee for the University Sustainability Fund. Starting from the Request-For-Proposal phase all the way through distribution, students have the opportunity to make investments and provide grants to students, faculty, and staff working on tackling environmental issues and sustainable initiatives. http://www.sustainability.umd.edu/content/about/fund.php

Students also have an opportunity to study sustainable finance and investment through courses offered at the Robert H. Smith School of business. Two undergraduate courses in particular are relevant to helping students develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills including BMGT 398E Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MESC) and HONR248R Sustainability Solutions Business Lab. Course summaries are provided below:

The Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC) is a dynamic international internship program for undergraduate students to combat poverty in Latin America by supporting small community-based businesses. This unique study and internship program teaches the basic principles of social entrepreneurship through courses, case studies, discussions, and hands-on, practical experience. By applying skills learned in the classroom such as needs and feasibility analyses, effective marketing techniques, the fundamentals of accounting, persuasive communication, and more, MSEC students empower local organizations and small businesses through targeted consulting engagements. Students also learn to implement the micro-consignment model, a unique form of social entrepreneurship that incurs no risk for the entrepreneur and ensures that the consumers are provided with access to essential products, technologies and services, such as energy efficient stoves, solar-powered lamps, water filtration systems, and eyeglasses.

Sustainability Solutions Business Lab covers environmental and related social problems that present some of the most significant issues facing society and business today. Accelerated depletion of natural resources, deforestation, dwindling water supplies, increased waste accumulation and climate change all pose challenges for the current generation to solve. While government policy is part of the solution to these issues, private solutions that harness the power and speed of capitalist markets may present some of the fastest and most effective change. This seminar is designed to give students tools for solving sustainability related problems through companies (whether for or not for profit). In this seminar, we begin with a discussion of the underlying economics and market failures that have led to many of the environmental problems we currently face. With an understanding of the issues, students then develop a business plan for a new idea whose main objective is to solve a sustainability related problem.


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?:
Yes

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

The Institute of Applied Agriculture hosts a speaker series on sustainable agriculture. A list of topics and speakers is available at http://iaa.umd.edu/news/sustainable-ag-tuesdays-free-lecture-series

The Center for Social Value Creation (CSVC) at the Robert H. Smith School of Business hosts an annual Social Enterprise Symposium. In the words of the CSVC’s executive director, “The Social Enterprise Symposium aims to inform, educate and influence future leaders, students, professionals and stakeholders on cutting edge innovation in creating impactful, sustainable social change.” More information is available online at http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/student-life-resources/signature-events/social-enterprise-symposium

The Clark School of Engineering usually hosts an annual Engineering Sustainability Workshop around Earth Day. More information about the workshop as well as a 2017 agenda is available online at:
http://www.umerc.umd.edu/sustainability-workshop

The School of Public Health hosts an annual symposium on Environmental Justice and Health disparities in Maryland and the Washington, DC region. The 4th Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health (CEEJH) 2018 Environmental Justice and Health Disparities Symposium convened numerous regional legislators, nonprofit organizations, and researchers for an in-depth examination of environmental justice and health disparities issues affecting our region. More information can be found at:
https://sph.umd.edu/event/4th-symposium-environmental-justice-and-health-disparities-maryland-and-washington-dc-region


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?:
Yes

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

The University has brought the "Whole Earth" Exhibition to our campus with the help of the Sustainability Fund. As part of the Hard Rain project, the "Whole Earth" exhibition was launched in 2015 in the UK and Scandinavia by photographers Mark Edwards and Lloyd Timberline, and based on Bob Dylan’s poetic song “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” The exhibit highlights our planet’s environmental problems and potential solutions.

The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora is a university organization that aims to support African American art and culture in the community. Their current exhibit series, “Willie Cole: On Site” features art made from primarily reused materials. Other sculptures in the exhibit include Ascension (When it Rains it Pours), made from plastic bottles, zip ties, PVC, photos, and galvanized steel and With a Heart of Gold, a loan from New York, made from shoes, wood, screws, metal, and staples. Dorit Yaron, Deputy Director at the David C. Driskell Center, explained that the project is melding art and sustainability which rests on concepts of waste, impacts, interventions, community, reflexivity, value, and visibility.”


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
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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?:
Yes

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

The Terrapin Trail Club is a student organization that sponsors various outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain biking, caving, canoeing, rock climbing, and kayaking while following the Leave No Trace principles. The club is student run and the activities are available to all registered students, faculty, and staff of the University of Maryland. The Terrapin Trail Club was founded in 1937 by Elinor Cody and is therefore the oldest active club on campus. It is also one of the oldest college outing clubs in the nation. Several current campus clubs have sprung from the Trail Club, including the Ski & Snowboard Club and the Cycling Club.


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)?:
Yes

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

College Park Scholars is a collection of 12 different living & learning programs including more than 2,000 students studying topics ranging from public health to astronomy. For the 2015-2016 academic year, the entire College Park Scholars community adopted a theme called Trash: The Problem of Waste in Our Lives and World. They selected the theme because it is a complex, multifaceted problem that demands thoughtful, creative, hands-on solutions. Scholars offered an exciting mix of curricular and co-curricular activities in support of the Trash theme. A lecture series called Trash Talks kicked off with Majora Carter, a MacArthur Award-winning urban revitalization strategist with a powerful message about how a cleaner, greener infrastructure can help move people out of poverty. There was also a film series, with a mix of documentary and feature films focused on trash from a variety of perspectives. Students who participated in the Sustainable Tailgating program earned Scholars Cup points for helping to gather trash and recyclables from visitors during home football games. Students interested in doing trash-related research or practicum projects competed for a special prize at annual Academic Showcase. There were also a number of field trips and service opportunities throughout the year that showed students the environmental and economic challenges posed by trash as well as some of the innovative ideas businesses and communities have adopted to meet those challenges. The 2016-2017 theme was Power: a study of power across social, political, cultural, scientific, and technological domains which relates well to sustainable business, economy, and reusable energy depending on how the students related to the theme. The 2017-2018 theme for the Scholars Program was "Going Viral". The virus study serves as a springboard into a broader examination of how things spread in the physical and virtual environments of modern life. As important as biology, medicine, environmental studies, and public health are to such an inquiry, fields such as business, law, media, and art also shed light not only on how things spread but how we imagine and represent that spreading through narratives of outbreak and virality.

Each year, March Madness has a matching theme of RecycleMania, where students compete in a contest to create the best video to promote proper waste sorting and recycling at UMD. The contest is promoted across campus and is a recurring theme each year around March.

Also, each year, students in Professional Writing and other courses all across campus select campus sustainability as the focus of their semester projects.


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?:
Yes

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

Living and Learning Programs provide students opportunities to learn life skills and work together outside of the classroom. Many of these programs incorporate sustainability skill development and related service opportunities. To learn more see https://sustainability.umd.edu/education-research/living-learning-programs

Greenfest is an annual sustainability fair for anyone interested in learning more about a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. The exhibits showcase issues ranging from stress management and better nutrition to environmental impacts and ways students can get involved. See http://www.studentaffairs.umd.edu/events/greenfest

Green Terp is a program designed specifically for college students to teach them how to live sustainable lives, even in a residence hall setting. The student must complete a series of sustainable behavior changes as listed on a checklist in order to certify as a Green Terp. https://sustainability.umd.edu/get-involved/students/green-terp


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

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

The Building and Landscape Services group in the Department of Facilities Management employs an undergraduate student on a semester by semester basis to provide support for ongoing recycling projects and initiatives. In addition to data entry duties, this student employee assists the full-time Recycling Specialist with social networking technology, promotes environmental initiatives through peer education programs, and provides additional support for public events such as Earth Day and Maryland Day.

The Department of Dining Services employed three full-time student employees for the summer of 2014 to support the Farm Program Manager and Lead Agricultural Technician with aspects of farm operation at Terp Farm--a University of Maryland sustainable farming operation that offers four-season vegetable production for Dining Services and provides produce to food-insecure members of the campus and College Park communities. These student employees engaged in aspects of food production including seed starting to post-harvest handling, aspects of infrastructure development including installation of high tunnels, and aspects of farm record keeping including maintaining log books for maintenance and farm operations.

The Office of Sustainability offers paid internships and even summer employment for a variety of different internships including LEAF Outreach Team Leaders and Measurement and Assessment Interns.

The Office of Sustainability and the Department of Dining Services also regularly offer a variety unpaid student internships for which students can receive academic credit.


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?:
No

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

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

Students can participate in programs where they commit to taking environmental actions in their daily life like the Small Footprint Pledge. The LEAF Outreach Team tables on campus very frequently and allows students to participate in sustainable activities that teach a lesson on how to live a more sustainable life. These activities include DIY natural coffee scrub, carbon footprint trivia games related to food, and upcycled crafting from reused materials that would have otherwise been recycled or thrown away. Students can also attend and support the Farmer's Market on campus.


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):
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.