Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.09
Liaison Jennifer Andrews
Submission Date Aug. 16, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of New Hampshire
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Tom Kelly
Chief Sustainability Officer
University Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

UNH continued at act as an intervener regarding the electric utility, Eversource's, proposed "Seacoast Reliability Project"—an initiative to run new transmission lines through the campus, town, and—using a relatively unusual underwater drilling technique called "jet-plowing"—underneath the Great Bay. In 2018 UNH joined the Town of Durham to submit a 37-page brief to the NH Site Evaluation Committee providing clear and unambiguous rationale outlining why the Committee should reject the project. UNH, continued working in close partnership with local officials to push for addressing potential impacts on the Great Bay and the utility corridor that led to additional studies and testimony in inform decision makers and the public who were impacted by the project. For more see

UNH also continues to help coordinate the Natural Resources Outreach Coalition (NROC) and Climate Adaptation Work-group (CAW) two regional (coastal watershed towns) community assistance programs partnering with state and federal conservation and environmental agencies (NH Coastal Program, NH DES, EPA Region 1, Great Bay NEER, NH F&G), regional planning commissions, and NGOs (Nature Conservancy, PREP, land trusts) to advocate for and promote greater local climate preparedness.

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

On February 11, 2021, UNH testified against New Hampshire House Bill 544 (HB544) that ambiguously defined “divisive concepts” and rendered their “propagation” illegal. The bill was seeking to restrict schools, universities, state agencies, and any private business or nonprofits that do work on behalf of the state from offering DEI training as deemed appropriate. UNH also signed on to an Open Letter Opposing House Bill 544 sent to State Representatives, Senators, and the Governor. https://www.nhbsr.org/programs-services/advocacy/business-values-dei

UNH participates, as a voting member, in the Strafford and Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organizations (facilitated by Strafford and Rockingham Regional Planning Commissions). During the period 2018-2021 the MPO routinely deals with sustainability issues including the following:

Transportation funding/project selection including transit grants affecting
mobility in the seacoast region
air quality conformity and monitoring
The MPOs also assist NHDOT with environmental data collection,
US Census partner
Regional housing and economic studies

UNH is also are members of Granite State Clean Cities Coalition which is a voluntary resource sharing collaboration of fleet operators and owners that promote alternative fuel vehicles. https://www.granitestatecleancities.nh.gov/

UNH advocated for a Nursing Health Science Initiative to respond to the state’s workforce needs in the healthcare and social assistance sector: The initiative expands nursing and health sciences facilities to accommodate 125 new students per year across health sciences programs, including renovating 20,000-30,000 square feet of space on or near the Durham campus. –Add nurse practitioner programs with additional specializations in acute care and psychiatric mental health.–Expand B.S. Nursing and Direct Entry Master’s in Nursing programs while exploring addition of a second degree option in nursing.–Add an occupational therapy assistant program with a 2021 targeted launch. https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2020/12/poised-growth

UNH advocated and collaborated on New Hampshire House Bill 1582 – Legislation that would provide tuition waivers to NH students who are children of disabled veterans. UNH worked closely with the sponsor and committee to advance this. It passed the House before the shutdown but as a result of the pandemic. This bill applies to New Hampshire state colleges and universities, including the Community College System

In 2021, UNH joined other members of the New Hampshire College and University Council to make out of state students eligible for the state’s vaccination registration program in order to be vaccinated. The NH Governor had created a policy that only New Hampshire residents would be eligible for the vaccine and the out of state college students should return to their home states to get vaccinated.

UNH also advocates for increasing rail service in New Hampshire including the capital corridor plan that have many associated sustainability benefits including significant reductions in traffic, congestion, and emissions, and compact, mixed-use inclusive development along the rail line connecting Boston and New Hampshire. As noted in NHDOT report “The optimal transportation infrastructure network considers the interconnection between development patterns, availability of housing choices, and transportation diversity as a means to preserve natural resources and community vitality and promote energy efficiency.”

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

In April 2021, UNH signed-on to the letter supporting a strong 2030 U.S. climate target (Nationally Determined Contribution/NDC) pursuant to the Paris Agreement. The letter calls on the United States to adopt a target of at least 50% emissions reduction by 2030 in order to place the country on a credible pathway to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. https://secondnature.org/wp-content/uploads/NDC-Sign-On-Letter_-Higher-Ed_FINAL2021.pdf

In 2020, UNH leadership was at the forefront of advocating for funding and support for students, institutions of higher education, and research during the COVID-19 pandemic. UNH leadership and its government relations team routinely engaged with the New Hampshire Congressional delegation to discuss the impact COVID-19 was having on higher education in the state. UNH also joined higher education associations, such as the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), to inform policymakers about the effects of COVID-19 on the university community and to advocate for higher education priorities in each piece of COVID-19 relief legislation.

UNH joined the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) by signing on to a letter in support of the Dream Act that will be sent to Senate Leaders Schumer and McConnell if federal district court Judge Andrew Hanen issues a negative decision that rules against the legality of DACA. As you know, the case threatens the very existence of DACA. An adverse court decision will throw into limbo the lives of hundreds of thousands of young Dreamers, and gravely impact their employers, families, and communities. The prospect of such a decision makes starkly clear why Congress must seize the opportunity to finally pass the bipartisan Dream Act of 2021. https://abic.us/dream-letter/

UNH signed-on to an Amicus Brief in 2019 and again in 2021 in support of intervenors in a court case referred to as the “Washtech case” regarding Optional Practical Training and international students. The Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, invited colleges and universities to join in supporting an amicus brief in support of Optional Practical Training (OPT). The 2021 amicus brief is an updated version of the 2019 Amicus Brief to which 118 institutions joined. The Washtech case continues to threaten OPT, and it is vital to bring to this case the perspectives of higher education institutions about the immense importance of international students and OPT. https://www.presidentsalliance.org/supporting-optional-practical-training-in-the-washtech-case-the-important-perspective-from-u-s-higher-education/ https://www.presidentsalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2019-11-22-OPT-Amicus-Brief_FILED.pdf

In 2019, US Senator Jeanne Shaheen and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine were invited to campus by President Dean to tour and discuss the work that UNH is doing in collaboration with NASA including GLIMR, a spaced-based instrument that helps monitor harmful algal blooms and other coastal ecosystem phenomena. The visit allowed Administrator Bridenstine to view first-hand the work underway at UNH, and laid the ground work for an advocacy strategy to expand the scope of NASA missions in which UNH partakes, as well as increase the amount of dedicated funding for those missions. https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2019/08/nasa-lands-unh https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2019/08/glimmer-oceanic-hope

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):

A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

UNH does not make any.

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Though the following do not technically qualify given the criteria of the credit, the following international advocacy efforts are also of note:

In December 2020, UNH joined governors, tribal leaders, mayors, state legislators, and local officials, and colleges and universities, businesses, investors, faith groups, cultural institutions, and health care organizations to sign-on to statement to the Biden Transition Team reaffirming our commitment to the Paris Agreement and a pledge to partner with the new administration on their ambitious commitments to tackle the climate crisis.

On July 1, 2018, the UNH Foundation became a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment, a set of six aspirational principles designed to encourage and assist investors in integrating ESG into their investment processes. As a signatory, we have committed to the following statement from the PRI and its six Principles for Responsible Investment: https://www.unh.edu/give/sustainable-investment-unh

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.