Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.57
Liaison Cindy Shea
Submission Date Dec. 23, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Clayton Somers
Vice chancellor for public affairs
Office of the Chancellor
"---" 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?:
Yes

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

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the largest employer in the Town of Chapel Hill and one of three entities on the Chapel Hill Transit Partners Committee, which provides policy and financial guidance for Chapel Hill Transit, the second largest transit system in the state. The University contributes more than 30% cost of the shared rides and 100% cost of our park and ride and invests $8.5 million annually in the largest fare free system in the world.

For many years, UNC advocated at the local, state, and federal level for a 17.7 mile Light Rail System in the Triangle. UNC and UNC Hospitals were to host two stations on the southern terminus of the route. The most recent campus master plan reflected this physical reorientation of planned campus growth and was approved by the UNC Board of Trustees. In April 2019, the project was discontinued. https://gotriangle.org/lightrail/home

Additionally University staff serve on committees for both the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and North South Bus Rapid Transit (NSBRT) project, both of which are aimed at increasing the availability of bus transportation in our commuting region.

The University's greenhouse gas emissions manager serves on the Orange County Climate Council. The Council was formed in 2019 as a collaborative effort among the municipal governments, the school systems, and UNC to develop future climate policies for the region.

The University's waste and recycling manager advocates for waste management policies on Orange County's Solid Waste Advisory Group.


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

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

The N.C. Policy Collaboratory was established at UNC in 2016 to facilitate the “policy and research expertise of The University of North Carolina for practical use by State and local government” in North Carolina. Projects funded to date have focused on energy storage technologies and market readiness; protecting public health in eastern North Carolina before and after powerful storms and hurricanes; developing new ionic fluorogel resins that effectively remove a chemically diverse mixture of PFAs from water; and improving nutrient management strategies and the water quality of Jordan Lake, a reservoir that provides drinking water for hundreds of thousands of Triangle area residents.

The Collaboratory has produced many policy briefs. The Jordan Lake study includes management recommendations and identifies new funding and policy opportunities. The floodplain buyout report assesses the fiscal impacts of floodplain buyouts on municipalities.

A multiyear and multistakeholder initiative to develop new renewable energy legislation in the state was actively supported by UNC Chapel Hill and other NC system campuses. The University led the effort to create a new “green source rider” program that would allow UNC campuses and other large electricity users to purchase renewable energy through large utilities in the state. Currently, large customers cannot purchase affordable, green energy through utilities or third parties and can only develop small, renewable projects that exist “behind the meter”. Former Associate Vice Chancellor Brad Ives received the 2018 Individual Leader Award from the NC Sustainable Energy Association for his work on advancing the Green Source Advantage program.
https://threezeros.unc.edu/news/2019/01/17/brad-ives-recognized-by-nc-sustainable-energy-association/

The legislation that resulted from this multiyear, multistakeholder process, House Bill 589, was the first major piece of comprehensive energy legislation passed in North Carolina since 2007. The Green Source Advantage program, which is a component of this legislation, reserves 600 MW of renewably generated power for large businesses, universities, and the military. 250 MW was reserved for the UNC system. Ives spent many hours per week on the development of this legislation.


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

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

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has long been a national leader in making a college degree possible for deserving students regardless of whether they can pay the full cost of their education. In 2004, UNC launched the Carolina Covenant, ensuring that students from families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level would graduate debt free. From 200 entering Covenant students in 2004, over 750 Covenant students - approximately 13% - were part of the 2018 entering class. Chancellor Folt advises other presidents and chancellors to "seek out talented, lower-income students, see them for the asset that they are, and provide that early support." Hundreds of colleges followed in UNC'S footsteps and launched their own programs.

Despite flat per student funding by the state, Carolina actually reduced the average net price for lower income students from $6,750 in FY 2013 to $4,920 in FY 2016. UNC also set a target of increasing four-year graduation rates from 81 to 92 percent.

Carolina again showed that leadership commitment by helping to launch a new alliance to educate more lower- and moderate-income students at America's top schools with the highest graduation rates. UNC Chancellor Carol Folt served on the steering committee of the American Talent Initiative. UNC was a founding member of the ATI, an initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Folt tirelessly advocated for affordable higher education for first generation students and veterans on federal panels and advisory committees.

UNC is one of the few highly ranked schools in the country to still offer need blind admissions and include 20% first generation students in its incoming classes. UNC has been voted the best value in public higher education for 18 years running and has been featured in case studies for its exemplary practices related to community college transfer.

Other leading public flagships, private universities, and liberal arts colleges have since joined the American Talent Initiative. The national goal of the initiative is to attract, enroll and graduate 50,000 additional high-achieving, lower-income high school students at the 270 colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates by 2025.

Chancellor Carol Folt also strengthened university policies on sexual assault and spoke out strongly on the topic on panels at the White House and other universities. New Clery Act policies have resulted. legislation has resulted.


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

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

The UNC Water Institute works with governments and private service providers to identify barriers to sustainable access to high quality water and sanitation services at scale and advocates for actionable opportunities to improve service delivery.

The Institute, formed in 2010, was initially led by Dr. Aaron Salzberg, the Department of State's first special coordinator of water, who led the development of US foreign policy on drinking water and sanitation. The second director, Dr. Jamie Bartram, came to UNC from WHO headquarters where he coordinated the Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Health Unit. The Water Institute was formed to influence policy and practice worldwide.

As an official WHO Collaborating Center, the Water Institute scales up research findings through advocacy and policy reform. Staff have worked closely with the WMO, UNEP, UNESCO, the UNECE, and the African Minister’s Council on Water to develop and implement global water and health policy.

Implementing evidence-based policies accelerates access to high quality water and sanitation services and is the focus of the Institute's annual Water and Health Conference to advance science, policy, and practice. http://waterinstitute.unc.edu/focus-areas/governance-and-regulation/


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
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A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
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Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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