Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 77.56
Liaison Ruairi O'Mahony
Submission Date Feb. 15, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Massachusetts Lowell
IN-25: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Ruairi O'Mahony
Executive Director
Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
UMass Lowell and University College Cork, Ireland: International Partnerships in Sustainability

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In October 2015, UMass Lowell entered into an Memorandum of Understanding with University College Cork (UCC) with a specific focus on sustainability. Both campuses, although separated by the Atlantic Ocean, are remarkably similar given their urban setting and close ties to their respective host cities; Lowell, Massachusetts and the People's Republic of Cork.

Both institutions have participated in fruitful visits and exchanges that have delivered impressive results. In 2016, UMass Lowell and University College Cork co-hosted a workshop at UMass Lowell with attendance from each of the five campuses in the UMass system, along with UCC's partner universities in Ireland. The workshop offered $20,000 in SEED funding that led to the following sustainability initiatives between both institutions:

Summer Sustainability School: A partnership between UCC and UMass Lowell held in Cork, Ireland in 2018. The week long summer school took an interdisciplinary approach to exploring themes of sustainability at local, national and international level. The school focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and how society can “make sustainability work” through incorporating people, planet, peace, prosperity and partnership. The summer school built on the existing partnerships between the institutions and enable knowledge-sharing around each institution’s strengths and specific contexts. The program included lectures, keynotes, group works and site visits.

AASHE STARS Support and Direction: Through conversations with UMass Lowell's Director of Sustainability, Ruairi O'Mahony, a UCC alum, University College Cork saw the value in engaging with the the STARS reporting process. With continued support and engagement from UMass Lowell's Office of Sustainability, UCC became the first organization outside of North America to achieve a STARS rating in July of 2018.

UNESCO City of Learning: During the 2016 sustainability conference held at UMass Lowell, UCC Vice-President, Prof. John O'Halloran outlined how they have collaborated with the City of Cork to better support lifelong and life-wide learning. The concept was further strengthened by working with educational institutions in Cork, from pre-school up to, and including community colleges. Prof. O'Halloran challenged the Lowell delegation to replicate this model and establish a City of Learning program in Lowell. With ongoing support from our colleagues at UCC, Lowell hosted its first Learning Cities festival in 2018, with a follow-up festival already in place for Earth Month of 2019. The UN Sustainable Development Goals underpin our collective understanding of the sustainable city and inform our continued approach to shared learning and resources focused on urban sustainability issues.

Oral History project (Landscapes of Memory: The Rivers--Insights from the River Lee and the Merrimack River for a Sustainable Future): UCC and UMass Lowell interviewed, created transcripts, and in the case of UMass Lowell, developed a short video.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Campus Enagement
Public Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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.