Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 75.77
Liaison Ezra Small
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Massachusetts Amherst
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Ezra Small
Sustainability Manager
Physical Plant
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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:

There are multiple sustainability related active RSO's on campus including but not limited to:

Beekeeping Club:
We are a group that aims to increase interest in bees, beekeeping, and sustainable agriculture throughout the Five College community.

Bike Co-Op
The UMass Bike Co-op is a student-run bike shop currently with 11 mechanics in our little place in the Student Union. To find us easily we are located down the hall from Earthfoods, around the corner from People's Market & a floor below Campus Design & Copy. We are part of the seven student run cooperatives that make up the Center for Student Business.

The Climateers:
The Climateers is an RSO at UMass Amherst dedicated to spreading awareness and taking action against climate change. We will focus on day-to-day solutions, leadership skills, and providing students with resources to become climate activists.

CEPA is an agency of the Student Government Association that collaborates with a variety of other campus departments, programs, RSOs, and agencies to identify and research campus related issues that could be effectively addressed through policy.

Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success
CMASS is a student-centered learning agency within the division of Advocacy, Equity and Inclusion in Student Affairs and Campus Life. By serving as a campus resource which facilitates and promotes a learning community that acknowledges, appreciates, and values multicultural understanding and exchange, we strive to advance the personal, academic, and professional success of diverse populations on campus.

EarthFoods Cafe
Earthfoods Cafe was founded on April 12, 1976 by a group of students concerned with the lack of economical, healthy food on campus. Today we continue a not-for-profit student-run business at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Our mission is to provide ovo-lacto vegetarian food at an inexpensive price to the UMass community. Simultaneously, Earthfoods provides a cooperative learning enviroment for students who are seeking experience in restaurant management. The Café provides opportunities for learning skills in all facets of the restaurant business as Earthlings (Earthfoods employees) actively seek to contribute and benefit from a positive working environment and prosperous business.

Engineers Without Borders: https://umassamherst.collegiatelink.net/organization/engineerswithoutborders
Engineers Without Borders is a student organization dedicated to helping local and international communities create sustainable solutions in order to improve their quality of life.

Food Recovery Network:
The purpose of the Food Recovery Network (FRN) is to recover leftover food from The University Of Massachusetts Amherst’s dining halls, and from events on campus, and donate it to people in Amherst who are in need. FRN uses student volunteers to pick up food from dining halls and transport it to shelters in Amherst. This organization plans to raise awareness in the campus community about food waste, both at UMass Amherst and in the greater community. In turn, the organization hopes to foster a mutually beneficial relationship between the university and individuals in the community positively influenced by our efforts. We hope to educate students about food insecurity on campus and in the town of Amherst, and create a more informed student body. Our ultimate goal is to reduce food waste on campus in every aspect.

Garden Share:
Gardenshare endeavors to facilitate the involvement between the campus, the community, and the Earth. We grow food, herbs,and fruit trees and host events and workshops. If your interested in gardening, food, sustainability or working outside join us.

Graduate Students of Diversity in Science and Engineering
Graduate Students for Diversity in Science and Engineering (GSDSE) is an student led organization at UMass Amherst that was founded out of the Polymer Science and Engineering (PSE) department. In the late summer of 2014, the executive councils of the Organization for Cultural Diversity from UCLA and Graduate Students for Diversity in Sciences from UCSB visited PSE graduate students to jump start GSDSE at UMass. Emulating both organizations from UCLA and UCSB, GSDSE is a group of graduate students with a vision and passion to lead and promote diversity in the sciences. Our purpose is to provide an all-inclusive community of highly educated individuals to advance through the pipeline to influential positions in industry and academia in the sciences while simultaneously mentoring the younger generation of underrepresented minorities. Through our partnership with Sigma Aldrich and the College of Natural Science at UMass Amherst, GSDSE provides invaluable networking opportunities through our student-organized diversity seminars. We continue to build scale within our UMass chapter by implementing innovative and sustainable outreach programs spanning k-12 to graduate level education while maintaining excellence in our research careers.

Green Building Council
The mission of the Umass Green Building Council is to promote sustainability, innovation, and a basic foundation in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design both on and off campus. We seek to forge a connection between aspiring green builders and professionals within the field by planning campus wide initiatives, promoting job fairs based on sustainability, and educating the public of current green building practices.

Green-Rainbow Party
UMass Greens are working to bring economic, environmental, and social justice to the Commonwealth.

MASSPIRG is a statewide, student directed and student funded nonprofit working to win concrete victories on social issues. We work on a range of topics, from alleviating poverty to increasing recycling to educating students about credit debt. Recently, we helped pass policy to invest $700 million in public transportation here in Massachusetts and $3 billion for federal student aid. In the last four years we registered over 20,000 students to vote - more than 5,000 of those here at UMass. The thing that makes us so effective is that students here at UMass voted to fund MASSPIRG through an $11 per student, per semester waivable fee. We pool these resources statewide to hire professional staff like lawyers, advocates, and organizers. We work together to run local and statewide campaigns, and they fight on behalf of the students full-time where key decisions are being made on Beacon Hill and in Washington DC. This semester, we are working to register 3,000 students to vote, repower Massachusetts with 100% clean renewable energy. We are also working to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms, make textbooks cheaper for students, and help alleviate hunger and homelessness in the community.

Paperbark Literary Magazine
Paperbark is a print and electronic-based literary magazine, published annually, with a focus on the environmental humanities, sustainable living, and the promotion of literary and fine arts. Published through the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the magazine is a platform for conversations around the currents of contemporary culture through the lens of sustainability, with themes ranging from climate change, policy, and science, to the meaning of place and the value of creative expression.

Protect Our Breasts
Our mission is to share the conversation on environmental toxins in everyday items that are contributing to breast cancer. Through social media and marketing campaigns, we aim to spread this message to fellow UMass students as well as our online community.

Real Food Collective
UMass Real Food Challenge is a student led initiative, in partnership with UMass Dining, that aims at bringing 20% Real Food (food that is organic, fair trade, local, or humanely raised) to UMass Campus by the year 2020. We are currently working through the Real Food Practicum, a project-based class focused on expansion, education, community connections and accountability. Please join if you're interested in learning more about food justice on both a national and local level, and if you'd like to get involved in the changes we're making to get UMass to 20% Real Food by 2020.

Spiritual Ecology and Regenerative Systems Initiative: https://umassamherst.collegiatelink.net/organization/SERSI
This is an evolutionary organization whose nature is to constantly adapt and grow to better fulfill its purpose. The initiative is an integration of sub projects and educational events evolved through collective brainstorming by the members.

Sustainability Projects Abroad
Sustainability Projects Abroad is a Registered Student Organization at UMass Amherst that plans and facilitates student-led community development and disaster relief projects to green the campus and serve the world abroad.

Wildlife Society
We are a professional organization aimed at getting students who are serious about the wildlife profession hands on experience in the field. We acheive this through volunteering our time to wildlife professionals by assisting them in various projects they are working on out in the field. This gains contacts and invaluable field experience that students will need to get internships and employment. We have many events at little or no expense to members that allow students to get hands on experience and to learn vital skills in the professional field. We also aim to attract students who do not want to become a wildlife professional, but enjoy wildlife and the outdoors.

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:

The UMass Permaculture Initiative is a unique and cutting-edge sustainability program that converts underused grass lawns on the campus into edible, low-maintenance, and easily replicable gardens. This initiative was created by students and then adopted and funded by our administration in 2010. Students and permaculture staff work together along with UMass Dining Services and many other departments to demonstrate the vision of what a sustainable community and world can look like.

There are now five Permaculture Gardens on campus:
Franklin Permaculture Garden
Berkshire Permaculture Garden
Hillside Garden (Chancellor's House)
Worcester Herb Garden
Hampshire Garden Boxes

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:

For over 35 years, the People's Market has been a student-run collective that provides the UMass Amherst campus with conscientiously purchased, natural foods. Students who work for the People's Market gain sustainable business skills. They have a strong commitment to providing customers with food products from socially and environmentally responsible companies.

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:

UMass Amherst established a Sustainability Innovation & Engagement Fund in August 2013. The fund started at $50,000 in available funds to allocate for the best sustainability engagement proposals on campus and is open to any campus community member. The proposals are vetted by the Student Steering Committee which includes student leaders from sustainability related registered student organizations (RSO's), Sustainable UMass, and Student Government Association.

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:

Yes, UMass holds major events with a focus in sustainability multiple times a year in the fall and spring.
Each year UMass holds campus wide Earth Day events in the spring and Campus Sustainability Day events in the fall.

Other events includes seminar series such as "Designing for sustainability in the Built Environment." The seminar series discussed the difficulties and solutions when constructing energy efficient classrooms and laboratories at a public institution. The seminar series kicked off a campus-wide dialogue about these exciting and far-reaching projects. Each panel discussion featured facilities planning/design professionals and a University of Massachusetts Amherst academic researcher.

We also co-sponsored a lecture series in Spring 2011 that included Naomi Oreskes (Climate Change), Kert Davies (Gulf Oil Spill), Jerry Melillo (Global Land Use patterns) and Nat Tripp (Connecticut River).

Sustainable UMass, the Earth Day Committee, the Permaculture Initiative, and Student Affairs have recently brought (or are planning to bring) the following speakers to campus over the past two years:

Charles Mann (March 2012)
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Earth Day 2012)
Francis Moore-Lappe (June 2012)
Van Jones (October 2012)
Bill McKibben (April 2013) *cancelled due to Boston Marathon Bombings
Annie Leonard (Earth Day 2013)
Majora Carter (June 2013)
Colin Beavan (September and October 2013)
Dr. Robert Bullard (Earth Day 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:

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:

Since 1922 the UMass Outing Club has been organizing events for students by students. Events range from hiking, climbing, canoeing, kyaking, skiing, and caving.

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:

For academic year 2013-2014, all incoming new students were asked to read the book, No Impact Man, and the author, Colin Beavan, addressed all students at the First-year Student Fall Convocation as well as revisited campus during the semester in October.

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 August of 2013, Sustainable UMass, Residential Life, and Admissions partnered to establish the model green room in Knowlton 112 in the Northeast Residence Area. This room is also the model room that is used for all campus tours so thousands of families and potential students see this room each year. This project was originally proposed by a student in a Resource Economics class who wanted to help the University achieve a higher STARS score and build awareness amongst the student body for how to live greener on campus. The proposal was approved by the Residential Life Director in May of 2013 and opened in August.

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:

Student employee opportunities range from the Physical Plant Sustainable UMass office including Minute Riders compost program positions, to UMass Dining Sustainability office working with Permaculture, Real Food Challenge, and local food procurement. The Center for Student Business office also has sustainability related businesses that offer on-campus jobs all year long including People's Market and Earth Foods Cafe.

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:

The Class of 2016 were asked to take the Green Grad Pledge when picking up their Commencement Gowns and Caps last year. The program was promoted through a #GreenGrad "hashtag". The commencement gowns and caps were all 100% recycled material for the first time ever at UMass Amherst. The text of the GreenGrad Pledge read:

"I pledge to bring integrity, stewardship, and social justice into my future endeavors while taking into account the social and ecological consequences of my lifestyle. Furthermore, I pledge to use the knowledge I gained while at UMass to improve the sustainability of the communities in which I live, learn and work."

Unfortunately, there are no websites that currently have this information.

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:

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.