Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 83.37
Liaison Ruairi O'Mahony
Submission Date Feb. 11, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Massachusetts Lowell
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 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 plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:

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.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:

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.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:

UMass Lowell (UML) set an ambitious goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. To progress toward this goal, UML collaborated with BR+A Consulting Engineers and Anser Advisory, building on previous success, to develop a 2021 Alternative Energy Master Plan (AEMP), also known as the campus decarbonization plan. The AEMP effort grew out of a multi-year strategic planning process and in support of campus sustainability objectives, legislative mandates, and university commitments. The AEMP will assist UML in achieving interim carbon reduction goals with the ultimate goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 while aligning multiple stakeholder groups across the campus. The report was developed through comprehensive engagement with many stakeholders, including the Office for Sustainability; Facilities Operations and Services; Planning, Design, and Construction; Business Development (E2i); Research and Innovation; DOER; DCAMM; National Grid; and representatives from UML Academics.

UMass Lowell has six primary goals in developing a comprehensive campus Alternative Energy Master Plan:
1. Evaluate UML’s existing energy and metering, data management systems, and data governance practices to establish accurate usage and demand baselines, and to analyze onsite electricity and steam production, building-level performance, and campus-level energy performance on an ongoing basis.
2. Forecast the primary campus’ annual energy demands between 2020 and 2050.
3. Identify, scope, and estimate specific energy sources and/or energy savings opportunities that can meet the campus’ growth over the next 30 years in a resilient, cost effective, and sustainable manner.
4. Identify and design energy sources and energy savings opportunities that can enable UML to meet the sustainability targets mandated under Executive Order 484 and the campus’ carbon neutrality goals under the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment in a reliable, cost-effective manner.
5. Identify physical infrastructure, operating systems (mechanical, administrative, etc.), advantages and constraints for each identified location, and costs in order for UML to implement or upgrade recommended energy strategies to meet the campus’ resiliency, utility cost, and sustainability objectives.
6. Propose mechanisms for stakeholder engagement (students, faculty, staff, and broader community) throughout the planning process that offers opportunities for students and faculty to engage in planning, hands-on projects, and activities associated with the renewable energy goals.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Improving the inclusive culture at UMass Lowell was one of the five main pillars of the 2020 Strategic Plan, which defined the following goals:

Pillar II: Global Engagement & Inclusive Culture
- Become a university of choice for students from diverse backgrounds by strengthening recruitment and retention programs.
- Build on successful recruiting and retention strategies to support increased diversity and excellence in faculty and staff.
- Support students, faculty and staff in developing more effective inclusive practices and behaviors.
- Continue to strengthen international partnerships that enhance faculty, staff and student experiences and collaborations.
- Support the five-year, NSF-funded Making WAVES initiative (Women Academics Valued and Engaged in STEM) to improve the climate for women and members of other underrepresented minority groups on the faculty.

In addition, Chancellor Jacquie Moloney established the UMass Lowell Council on Social Justice & Inclusion in January 2020. The work of the Council builds on the good work and recommendations of the Sexual Harassment Task Force and the 2020 Strategic Plan subcommittees that focused on Students of Color and International Students and Global Engagement and Inclusive Culture.

Two new task forces, one on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and one on Gender and Sex-based Discrimination Prevention have been created to continue this work and establish an action plan. Their collective membership will comprise the Council, which will serve as a strategic and coordinating body for this essential institutional priority.

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

The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):

Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:
Major theme

The institution's sustainability plan (upload):

Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:

Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

The University of Massachusetts Sustainability Policy was passed by the Board of Trustees on 12/09/2016. 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:

From the 2016 Sustainability Policy, Overarching Principles:

The University of Massachusetts is committed to responsible stewardship of resources and to demonstrating leadership in sustainable business practices. The University’s five campuses should be continuously improving our practices for sustainability consistent with available funding.

Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following?:
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability No
SDG Accord No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
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.


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning efforts is available:
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.