Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 36.72
Liaison Lindsey Abernathy
Submission Date July 17, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Mississippi
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.50 / 4.00 Lindsey Abernathy
Associate Director
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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 university's strategic plan, Flagship Forward, addresses sustainability most directly under the pillar ""People, Places and Resources." The goal "Plan for Enrollment Growth, Enhance the Campus, Foster a Healthy Student Environment"" states UM will ""accommodate increases in student enrollment, and nurture a sustainable, healthy, secure campus environment with infrastructure that will support evolving academic and research missions."" A metric in meeting this goal is tracking sustainable campus trends through participating in the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System self-reporting framework.


A copy of the strategic plan:
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)? :
No

A copy of the climate action plan:
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The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
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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):
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:

Board Goal 3 of the UM Diversity Plan states that the university will prioritize "enhancing the overall curriculum by infusion of content that enhances multicultural awareness and understanding." http://diversity.olemiss.edu/full-action-plan-update/


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:

UM's strategic plan, Flagship Forward, prioritizes sustainability related research in the pillar "Academic Excellence." The transformative initiative associated with this pillar is the creation of the university's Flagship Constellations, which are interdisciplinary research communities of learning organized around the areas of community wellbeing; disaster resilience; brain health and big data. The key metrics associated with the Flagship Constellations are 1.) the number of faculty and staff involved with the constellations; 2.) recruitment and retention of faculty associated with the Flagship Constellations; 3.) external support for research and creative achievement; and 4.) increased cross-disciplinary collaboration. The constellations are organized around research, and the community wellbeing and disaster resilience communities of learning are clearly sustainability related.

In the plan, the community wellbeing constellation is described as following: "Rural communities face increasing challenges to their economies, personal health, environmental health, food security, housing, and infrastructure. Our cross-disciplinary research teams and programs will work within communities to identify the factors impairing their well-being and deploy new programs and practices to build stronger, more vibrant communities." Disaster resilience research is described as following: "Reducing the impact of disasters on our communities requires a multifaceted methodology: prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. This constellation marries insight and research from environmental and legal disciplines with material sciences, information technology, and public health. Together, we will develop technologies, tools, and policies to mitigate disasters and increase the resilience, security, and sustainability of communities."
http://flagshipforward.olemiss.edu/academic-excellence/


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

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

The Flagship Forward plan's "Healthy and Vibrant Communities" pillar prioritizes public engagement through the creation of UM's M Partner program, which is a transformative initiative that simultaneously supports all three dimensions of sustainability and seeks to improve the quality of life in three Mississippi communities. In the strategic plan, the two key metrics for M Partner are 1.) an increase in community engaged scholarship among faculty and students and 2.) increased participation in service learning. There are specific projects and goals associated with each of the three sites as well, though these are not detailed in the strategic plan as they were determined in the resulting M Partner planning process. Examples include the expansion of a farmers market; implementation of a Complete Streets policy; and pursuance of a Tree City USA designation.
http://flagshipforward.olemiss.edu/healthy-and-vibrant-communities/#transformative-initiative


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

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

The UM Master Plan's accompanying document, "Architectural Design Guidelines," states that one of the objectives of the document is to "adopt an ethic of sustainable construction." Specific objectives mentioned include multiple strategies for energy conservation such as building orientation and daylighting; considerations for building material selection (i.e., the energy required to extract,
manufacture and transport the material to the site); and utilizing passive (meaning such processes as natural cross ventilation)
means of comfort control instead of primarily relying on non-sustainable active means powered largely by fossil fuels. It is important to note that the "Architectural Design Guidelines" document recommends utilizing LEED to drive sustainable design practices. Since this document has been published, seeking a third-party sustainable building certification process utilizing a certain standard (such as one utilized by LEED) is no longer legal in Mississippi in certain instances, including when constructing and renovating buildings at UM. However, this is still the guiding document for design guidelines used by Facilities Planning, and architects take into consideration the objectives above. https://facilitiesplanning.olemiss.edu/master-plan/


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 Master Plan provides physical design recommendations for assisting the University in reducing carbon emissions. These include:
• Encouraging optimal building orientation and opportunities for passive and future active solar applications;
• Utilizing existing building space more efficiently before building new space,recognizing the connection between space, energy and emissions;
• Improving the energy performance of existing buildings and specifying high performance buildings and/or building elements for all future construction.
• Encouraging alternative approaches to energy generation and distribution in new and emerging districts of the campus such as the Central Mixed Use District. https://facilitiesplanning.olemiss.edu/master-plan/


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

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

The UM Master Plan's landscape framework includes measurable sustainability related objectives including: 1.) Protect natural forested areas and natural drainage systems of campus - "Forested areas are preserved along Jackson Avenue, the Chamber of Commerce, Bailey's Woods, South Woods, Northwest Woodlands and the Chancellor's Woods. The goal is to maintain this forested edge around campus." This goal is accompanied by a map of areas of importance. 2.) Campus landscapes - The plan includes the creation of several new green spaces on campus as well as proposed pedestrian connectors and corridors. The new green spaces are Magnolia Mall, which will convert a parking lot into green space; Business Quad; Freshman Quad; College Lawn, which is envisioned to extend the tree pattern and canopy of the Grove northward; Stadium Plazas; the Tad Smith Mall, which would convert the university's old basketball stadium into a green space area; and the New Grove. The plan also recommends "creating a working landscape to shade pedestrian routes and mitigate the heat island effect." It concludes with the recommendation of develop a landscape master plan with additional details. https://facilitiesplanning.olemiss.edu/master-plan/


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

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

The UM Master Plan has four drivers, one of which is to "promote a balanced approach to campus mobility." It states that: "The mobility strategy emphasizes pedestrian movement and university sponsored
transit. Improvements to the pedestrian realm are designed to encourage walking within the established core. Bicycle access is enhanced by means of a comprehensive network of routes that extend beyond the campus core to connect with those provided in the community. New transit hubs, in association with commuter amenities, are designed to improve the transit experience and make the services more convenient for both on-campus and off-campus users. A perimeter loop road and changes to the vehicular circulation network are designed to direct traffic to the periphery of the campus where new parking facilities are coordinated with the pedestrian, bicycle and transit routes." https://facilitiesplanning.olemiss.edu/master-plan/


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

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

The UM Master Plan's sustainability framework states: "The Master Plan preserves the natural systems of the campus in order to protect habitat areas, woodlands and water resources". The specific recommendations of the Master Plan include:

• Promoting a watershed protection approach to stormwater management;
• Protecting and enhancing existing streams by establishing a 50 foot buffer zone along major corridors;
• Identifying appropriate locations for a comprehensive system of stormwater detention facilities;
• Promoting soil conservation and stabilization given the highly erosive soils of the region;
• Converting hardscape to softscape in order decrease impervious area;
• Locating proposed buildings on previously developed sites rather than greenfield sites;
• Considering rainwater harvesting techniques and green roofs where
appropriate to reduce runoff; daylighting streams where possible; and,
• Reusing treated water from the campus waste water facility as a potential resource for irrigation (needs further study.
(https://facilitiesplanning.olemiss.edu/master-plan/))


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 UM strategic plan includes a goal to increase diversity and excellence. Actions include promoting competitive recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and staff and providing bridge and immersive student experiences to help students transition to a university environment. The UM Diversity Plan includes multiple relevant objectives.


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

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

The UM Strategic Plan has a goal to "Plan for Enrollment Growth, Enhance the Campus and Foster a Healthy Student Environment." Under this goal, supporting a culture of physical and mental wellness is an action item. Student wellness program participation and satisfaction is a metric, as is completing the STARS assessment.


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:
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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)? :
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The formal statement in support of sustainability:

From UM's sustainability policy: "The University of Mississippi strives to be a great, comprehensive, public institution of higher learning. This institutional ethos includes leadership in environmental stewardship and sustainability on our campuses and in the larger communities of which we are a part. The University of Mississippi will bring vision, intellect, and high ethical standards to our pursuit of environmental leadership in teaching and research, institutional operations, and our relationship with the community."


The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):

The UM Office of Sustainability defines sustainability as "a multi-disciplinary, problem-solving approach to creating a social system that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations or the needs of the ecological systems in which humans exist.

"By fostering education that encourages responsible and equitable management of our environmental, social and economic resources, the sustainability framework challenges our university to consider the interdependent nature of our lives, the natural environment, our communities and the economy and especially the improvement of these relationships."


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) ---

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

UM is a signatory of Second Nature's Carbon Commitment and is a member of the Climate Leadership Network.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.