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
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.50 / 4.00 Ruairi O'Mahony
Executive Director
Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

The 2020 Strategic Plan has specific goals and objectives, such as to:

• Promote and enhance environmental stewardship, sustainability, and climate change literacy throughout the campus community.
• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the University’s carbon footprint to meet the University’s obligation of carbon neutrality as required in the Climate Action Plan.
• Maximize internal and external resources, operations, and efficiencies that support environmental sustainability and promote the health and well being of students, faculty, and staff.
• Engage the campus and surrounding community in fostering and communicating a culture of sustainability and environmental stewardship that promotes UMass Lowell as a living laboratory, locally and globally.


A copy of the strategic plan:
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The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
No

A copy of the sustainability plan:
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The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
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Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
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The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):

System-Wide Sustainability Policy: Which acts as a planning document for the UMass System Sustainability Council (Sustainability Officers from each of the 5 campus plus the President's Office designee who chairs the Council.)
https://www.umassp.edu/sites/umassp.edu/files/content/T16-055-Sustainability%20Policy_12.9.16.pdf

Note: STARS Scores for each category in the sustainability policy are utilized as a measurable objective.

UMass Lowell 2016-2021 Strategic Development Plan - https://www.uml.edu/Facilities/Planning/Strategic-Development-Plan-2016-2021.aspx


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The UMass Lowell 2020 Plan utilizes our STARS score and GHG emissions as key performance metrics as it relates to sustainability. Similarly, the UMass Sustainability Policy follows similar objectives tied to our STARS score. Specific objectives outlined in the plan that are focused on curriculum include:

- Support the creation of programs and sustainability related curricula and climate change-related learning outcomes

- Encourage cross-disciplinary, collaborative teaching and research about climate change and sustainability by providing incentives for faculty to team-teach such courses

- Ensure that all students have the opportunity to graduate with an understanding of environmental stewardship, sustainability and climate change.

In addition, the UMass System Sustainability Policy includes a specific section related to curriculum:

Academic and Research Programming and Community Engagement – Ensuring
Sustainability is part of Academic and Research programming and part of
community engagement efforts.

1. Goal - The UMass Sustainability Council will work with their respective campus
curriculum governance units to identify where Academic and Research
Programming and Community Engagement involving Sustainability already exists,
and to explore more formal incorporation into core curriculum and identified
learning outcomes.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The number of sustainability research programs as outlined in previous categories is a benchmark for the integration of sustainability in research activities. Specific objectives in the 2020 Strategic Plan that focus on sustainability related research activities include:

- Integrate sustainability and climate change literacy in learning and research.

- Encourage cross-disciplinary, collaborative teaching and research about climate change and sustainability by providing incentives for faculty to team-teach such courses

- Establish UMass Lowell as an urban-focused center of excellence for climate change, sustainability and resiliency that merges expertise in academics, research and operations.

The System Sustainability policy also covers research:

Academic and Research Programming and Community Engagement – Ensuring
Sustainability is part of Academic and Research programming and part of
community engagement efforts.

1. Goal - The UMass Sustainability Council will work with their respective campus
curriculum governance units to identify where Academic and Research
Programming and Community Engagement involving Sustainability already exists,
and to explore more formal incorporation into core curriculum and identified
learning outcomes.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The 2020 Strategic Plan includes the following:

- Enhance student, faculty and staff engagement in sustainability initiatives that promote the university as a living laboratory, locally and globally.

The Strategic Development Plan, and specifically its planning process focused deeply on campus engagement. In contrast to the fixed master planning approach that many institutions employ, UMass Lowell has embraced a coordinated rolling master planning model. Anchored in the UMass Lowell 2020 Strategic Plan, which outlines the academic vision for the University, this approach identifies the
physical support and infrastructure necessary to achieve the University’s strategic goals.

Components of this coordinated planning framework include a series of campus-level rolling master plans, system plans, topical and thematic plans, resource inventory and documentation, and capital financial and project plans. This approach ensures that planning activities and outcomes are responsive to changing conditions and aligned with reasonable time horizons to guide the University in making appropriate strategic investment decisions in furtherance of its core
mission and functions.

All of these efforts incorporate robust stakeholder engagement efforts,
including outreach beyond the campus where actions under consideration may have or be perceived as having impacts on the University’s neighbors or the City of Lowell.

Community engagement is also outlined in the UMass sustainability policy.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Various public engagement opportunities as outlined in other credits is a benchmark for external engagement. UMass Lowell has a long standing relationship with the City of Lowell and other important partners which offers continual opportunities for public engagement.

All of our planning efforts incorporate robust stakeholder engagement efforts,
including outreach beyond the campus where actions under consideration may have or be perceived as having impacts on the University’s neighbors or the City of Lowell.

The Campus Transportation Plan update (2019) is a great example. Public engagement processes included an extensive pre-plan survey (4,000 responses), public engagement events with targeted outreach to city and regional partners, and a Steering Committee that included representatives from the City of Lowell, Regional Planning Commission, MassDOT, and various neighborhood groups.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Climate Action Plan establishes quantitative carbon reduction goals for FY2020, FY2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. It also includes a plan for energy reduction. One of the interim goals established for FY2020 have already been achieved as well as the Executive Order 484 requirements. Measurable objectives and strategies identified in the Sustainability Initiatives and Green Design Guidelines and the Design Standards include, for example, specifying ENERGYSTAR rated equipment, HVAC zoning and controls, eliminating or reducing use of CFC refrigerants, etc.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

New construction and major renovation projects over 20,000 square feet (SF) must be LEED Silver certified and energy performance must exceed the Massachusetts Energy Code by at least 20%. In addition, the university’s Design Standards establish specific sustainability and green design guidelines with measurable objectives. Measurable objectives and strategies identified in the Sustainability Initiatives and Green Design Guidelines and the Design Standards include, for example, specifying plumbing fixtures that use 20-40% less water, specifying ENERGYSTAR rated equipment, HVAC zoning and controls, eliminating or reducing use of CFC refrigerants, use of local building materials, etc.

UMass Sustainability Policy references the following:

4. Green Building Design and Sustainable Campus Operations – Strategies to
address emissions associated with designing, building, maintaining, and operating
campus buildings and grounds

1. Goal - Any new construction must meet the MA Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) Plus green building standards, (LEED most current
version) or other standards as identified in Goal 1.1 as being necessary to achieve carbon reduction commitments and meet sustainability objectives


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Climate Action Plan (2011) identifies strategies to continually identify projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. The plan also identifies exploring renewable energy opportunities on campus. Strategies identified in the Sustainability Initiatives and Green Design Guidelines and the Design Standards include, for example, specifying ENERGYSTAR rated equipment, HVAC zoning and controls, specifying lighting rated by National Grid for rebates, 3rd party commissioning, complying with EO 484 LEED Plus requirements (including surpassing the MA Energy Code Requirements by at least 20%, etc..


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

UMass Lowell has implemented food waste composting programs and has experienced positive results. ARAMARK, UMass Lowell’s food service provider, is committed to increasing the level of sustainable food offerings with a goal of 5% per year. The objectives are to continue to reduce waste in dining and pursue the established goal of increasing sustainability.

UMass Sustainability Policy:

Sustainable Food Services – Supporting sustainable food systems through food
and beverage purchases

Goal - Strive for each campus food service operation to procure sustainable food products while maintaining accessibility and affordability for all students and campus patrons.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Yes, our grounds manager utilizes an IPM plan that has measurable sustainability objectives. The approach to sustainable grounds management is outlined in our 2016 Strategic Development Plan. In addition, our latest biodiversity assessment from MassAudubon includes measurable outcomes related to sustainability e.g.:

Recommend three management actions to control invasive plant species to enhance the habitat quality of the UMass Lowell Campus, three management actions to enhance wildlife management on the property, and six management actions to enhance the experience passive recreation.
Invasive plant management recommendations:
- Treat Japanese knotweed infestations near waterways, compost areas, and where soil and fill are stored
- Treat all Black swallowwort infestations, especially near areas where invertebrate habitat is being created
- Strategically treat other invasives within the property:
o Treat invasives in edge habitat from trail system out towards river and other wetland areas

Wildlife enhancement management recommendations:
- Create invertebrate habitat by mowing lawn areas annually unless they need to be regularly need to be mowed such as along buildings for access, sports fields, and picnic and gathering areas
- No mow grass seed and wildflower mixes should be used on other lawn areas of campus and mowed once annually in the fall around mid October
- After treating invasive species along forest edges, areas should be actively restored with native berry producing shrubs


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From UMass System Policy:

"Establish Environmentally-Preferable Products Procurement Program (EPP) and continue to implement annual procurement goals to move toward alignment with the standards of the Environmental Purchasing Advisory Council where ever appropriate and consistent with available funding."

We utilize STARS Credits OP-11, 12, 13, 14 to track this metric on an annual basis. This data is presented in our annual sustainability report to the UMass Board of Trustees.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From UMass System Policy:
"Reduce vehicle fuel consumption of the University vehicle fleet through promoting the use of public transportation, reducing the number of single occupancy vehicles, and increasing the use of other alternative fuel transportation for faculty, staff, and students."

We track our performance in this category through an annual Rideshare Report which is a mandatory requirement of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:

UMass System Policy:
"Employ strategies around preventative measures in waste diversion to
promote source reduction, re-use and recycling of used materials."


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Reductions in potable water use is a primary goal. UMass Lowell has had success in this area by implementing low-flow fixtures into construction and renovation projects and as part of the ongoing Accelerated Energy Program.

From UMass System Policy:
"Reduce Potable water usage and determine goals consistent with capital
investments and annual programs implemented in support of reducing
potable water."


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The 2020 Strategic Plan highlights six Pillars of Excellence, of which, Global Engagement and Inclusive Culture focuses on strategic initiatives that contribute to advancing a more inclusive campus culture and enhancing the experiences and cultural capacity of all our campus participants.

An institution of higher learning cannot achieve excellence without the building blocks of diversity, inclusion and equity.

The following objectives have been identified:

• Promote a campus that is accepting of all differences;
• Develop a more culturally responsive campus community;
• Improve campus climate;
• Strengthen community connections;
• Increase the recruitment, hiring and retention of a diverse faculty and staff;
• Increase the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds;
• Strengthen pipeline programs; and
• Integrate a curriculum that fosters cultural competencies.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:

NA


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:

There are many programs available, but no formalized plan.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:

NA


Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
Yes

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

The University of Massachusetts Sustainability Policy was passed by the Board of Trustees on 12/09/2106. It is the result of multi-campus coordination that is focused on the long-term commitment of the five campuses of UMass to be good stewards of fiscal and environmental resources. Our environmental responsibility is rooted in the University’s founding as a land-grant institution, designed to bolster good stewardship of land and industry as well as to serve the greater public good. With stewardship in mind, the efforts and achievements of each campus are celebrated while striving to be sustainability leaders, fulfilling our mission of advancing knowledge, and improving the lives of the people of the Commonwealth, nation, and world.


The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):
Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter ---
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) ---
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter ---
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) ---
UN Global Compact ---
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

In November, 2018 Chancellor Jacquie Moloney became the first U.S. university leader to sign an international accord that reaffirms a commitment to human rights – and that also says humans have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations.

The Universal Declaration of Humankind Rights and Duties is a grassroots initiative that started in France. It builds on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations 70 years ago on Dec. 10, 1948, in the aftermath of World War II.

https://www.uml.edu/News/stories/2018/Human-Rights-Signing.aspx


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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.