Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Madeline Schuh
Submission Date Feb. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Pennsylvania
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Madeline Schuh
Sustainability Analyst
Facilities and Real Estate Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

STUDENT SUSTAINABILITY ASSOCIATION at PENN - As the official student sustainability umbrella group, the Student Sustainability Association at Penn (SSAP) was founded in 2010 to foster cohesion among multiple pre-existing environmentally-focused student groups, develop strategies for impacting campus sustainability, and create a unified student voice on green issues at Penn. As the student environmental community has grown immensely since the 2009 launch of Penn's Climate Action Plan, the SSAP helps to foster increased collaboration among the 20+ student environmental groups on campus and between students, staff, and faculty working on environmental issues. SSAP meets once a month and all student environmental groups are encouraged to send a representative to attend the meeting. http://www.ssapenn.com/

ECO-REPS - Penn's environmental leadership program that focuses on raising awareness of environmental issues and impacting the behavior of individuals across the campus through an extensive network of students, faculty, and staff. This program is split into two groups to accommodate staff/faculty and students. The staff/faculty program involves volunteer staff and faculty members while the student program is a group of 10 to fifteen paid student interns.

PENN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP - The University of Pennsylvania Environmental Group (PEG) is a student run group aiming to increase campus awareness of global environmental issues across the Penn community and throughout the world. PEG seeks to incorporate ideals from a diverse community, and expose the campus community and the world at large to expand knowledge of environmental issues.

COMMUNITECH - CommuniTech is a student organization in the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences that aims to assist neighborhoods in need by supplying them with computers and teaching technology skills to their residents. Their efforts stem from the recognition that the computer has become a central facet of everyday life. CommuniTech regularly holds e-waste recycling drives and computer donation drives.

ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS - PennEWB is a non-profit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide in order to improve their quality of life through sustainable projects. Engineers without Borders is a national program with student and professional chapters; Penn's chapter receives support from professional engineers.

KELLY WRITERS HOUSE - The Kelly Writers House is a center for writers of all kinds from Penn and the Philadelphia region at large. Kelly Writers House is adding green programming to its list of activities.

OIKOS PENN - Oikos is an international student organization for sustainable economics and management. As a leading reference point for the promotion of sustainability change agents, activities include lectures, conferences, simulation games, seminars, case competitions and practice-oriented learning projects. Their activities are conducted within the framework of a constructive and open-minded dialogue.

PENN COMMUNITY AGAINST MOUNTAIN TOP REMOVAL -PCAMTR is a coalition of groups at Penn committed to social and environmental justice. They have joined with Earth Quaker Action Team and members of the university communities at Temple, Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford to put an end to Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining.

PENN INTERNATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY ASSOCIATION - The Penn International Sustainability Association (PISA) was formed to promote awareness of the crucial links between business and sustainability to Penn students. PISA aims to establish connections between students and leaders in sustainable business, policy, and technology; improve student awareness of local, regional, national, and international green businesses and policy initiatives; and further develop a culture of environmental, economic, and social responsibility at the University of Pennsylvania that extends to the local, state, regional, national, and international communities.

PENN GARDEN - The Penn Garden was awarded a Green Fund Grant in Fall 2009 to plan and implement a demonstration vegetable garden and urban agriculture project on Penn's campus. https://www.sustainability.upenn.edu/get-involved/penn-community-garden

PENN SUSTAINABILITY REVIEW - Penn Sustainability Review is a student-run online and print publication featuring sustainability-related opinion editorials, leadership interviews, and academic papers. PSR aims to provide a platform for all members of the Penn community to exchange knowledge, ideas, and perspectives on wide-ranging sustainability issues. Over the course of every academic year, the PSR team publishes a print publication and maintains regular online editorial updates that incorporate relevant thought-provoking articles. Both the print and online editions of the PSR cover a number of topics including climate change, green architecture, corporate strategic sustainability, resource and energy conservation, public policy, and sustainable technology. PSR was awarded a Green Fund Grant in Fall 2011. http://www.psrmagazine.org/

PENN VEGAN SOCIETY - The Penn Vegan Society raises awareness on the personal health, animal ethics, and environmental issues related to the production and consumption of food. The group meets several times each semester and organizes social events that are geared toward educating the campus community about the benefits of a vegan diet. https://www.facebook.com/PennVeg

POWER UP GAMBIA -Founded by a student in the Penn School of Medicine, Power Up Gambia is a non-profit group that aims to provide reliable electricity and water to healthcare facilities in Gambia through development of solar energy. The group works to raise awareness on campus about the lack of reliable electricity in developing countries.

SEAS GREEN - SEAS Green is an environmental club with an engineering focus, run out of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

WHARTON ENERGY CLUB - The Wharton Energy Club enhances recruiting into the energy industry and aims to establish Wharton as a thought leader in the sector, while offering insight into merchant energy, renewable energy, utilities, and traditional oil and gas companies. http://www.whartonenergyclub.org/

FOSSIL FREE PENN - Penn's student divestment advocacy group focuses on raising awareness of the role of fossil fuel investment has in climate change, and advocates that Penn's endowment be divested of companies that deal in fossil fuels. http://www.fossilfreepenn.org/


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The Penn Garden, established through a Penn Green Fund grant, includes as part of its mission to raise awareness about the importance of local foods and community engagement. Students hold workdays in the garden in the spring, summer and fall. Penn’s Urban Nutrition Initiative also uses the Penn Garden group as a teaching tool about gardening and nutrition to high school students
http://www.upenn.edu/sustainability/programs/green-fund/penn-garden
http://thepenngarden.wordpress.com/

Sustainable Invasive Plant Management at the Morris Arboretum – Targeted Goat Grazing. The Morris Arboretum manages invasive plants in an environmentally sustainable way – with a herd of goats. The Morris examined the use of targeted goat grazing as an alternative to the use of herbicides and power equipment for the control of invasive species in disturbed habitats as part of a pilot program funded through the "Green Fund".


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Penn Sustainability Review: The Penn Sustainability Review (PSR) is a student-run online and print publication featuring sustainability-related opinion editorials, leadership interviews, and academic papers. PSR aims to provide a platform for all members of the Penn community to exchange knowledge, ideas, and perspectives on wide-ranging sustainability issues.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

Through the "Green Fund" Penn students, faculty, and staff can apply for funds for projects that improve the University’s environmental performance and reduce campus emissions. Since 2009, this initiative of Penn’s Green Campus Partnership, funded by the Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services, has seeded innovative ideas in environmental sustainability from members of the University community.

Proposed projects must support goals and objectives outlined in Penn’s Climate Action Plan, a long-range strategy, launched in 2009 and updated in 2014, to reduce the University’s carbon footprint and enhance its overall sustainability.


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

The Penn Sustainability Office frequently holds events and/or partners with other campus groups on campus to host lectures.

The Wharton-led, Penn-wide Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) promotes knowledge for business sustainability through research, teaching and dialogue between top alumni, academic, corporate, government, and non-government organizations. IGEL is a hub for business and sustainability, connecting and leveraging academic capital at Penn to help business leaders of today and tomorrow to create more sustainable industries . IGEL organizes annual conferences that include a hands-on workshop component, and a monthly seminar series where business leaders are invited to speak about the best practices in their field. These events create a two-way conversation between faculty, students, and business and NGO professionals.In addition to monthly seminars, IGEL holds several invite-only symposiums a year, open to accepted student applicants, faculty, and invited corporate representatives. Recent symposium topics have included The Circular Economy, the Food/Water/Energy Nexus, and Private/Public Partnerships for Sustainability. http://igel.wharton.upenn.edu/events/
The Institute for Environmental Studies (IES) is dedicated to improve understanding of key scientific, economic, and political issues that underlie environmental problems and their management. IES addresses the gaps between science and policy, and studies the problems that arise from the lack of integration of traditionally separate disciplines. The Institute is committed to two specific areas - urban environmental problems and watershed issues. The Institute for Environmental Studies runs a weekly seminar series to promote interactions among faculty, students, and interested members of the community. The talks tend to be interdisciplinary and often cut across departmental and school boundaries. https://www.sas.upenn.edu/earth/events/past

The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH), founded in 2014, is a transdisciplinary program that facilitates environmental dialogue at Penn to create a fresh and unique forum for work on environmental issues. With start-up funding from the Penn Sustainability Office, in 2014 the PPEH supported research fellowships for five undergraduate students, who focused on building the website, writing the program manifesto, and organizing public programming on urban nature at Penn, in cooperation with the Penn Humanities Forum as well as partners in Philadelphia and the Delaware and Schuylkill River Valleys.

In 2015, the PPEH hosted an inaugural artist in residence, Mary Mattingly, who opened the environmental experiential Lab at WetLand on the tidal Schuylkill River, and offered a series of five major public public events exploring the environmental humanities: the Curriculum for the New Normal.

In 2016, the PPEH received financial support from the Dean's Office of the School of Arts & Sciences in addition to continued support from the Penn Sustainability Office in Facilities and Real Estate Services, has embarked on a series of faculty hires for a minimum of three positions in the environmental humanities, all tenure track at the assistant professor level. PPEH created a Faculty Working Group of 20+ participating faculty from across campus, hosts new artists in residence, offers competitive year-long research fellowships to graduate and undergraduate students across all Penn's schools, and organizes a broad array of public engagement projects--from a conference on ecological time across the human and natural sciences; to the broadly interdisciplinary Lower Schuykill River Research Seminar; to the assemblage of an Ecotopian Toolkit and Tools to Restore WetLand in a time of rapid climate change; to an installation-as-mobile-archive that is easily re-installed and added to by our community partners; to creating research-quality copies of federal climate and environmental data and building Data Refuge.

The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy Research hold weekly events open to students, as well as symposia and lectures on energy policy. The Kleinman Center's mission is a goal to cultivate innovative energy policy and promote its application—creating opportunities for students, researchers, and professionals to debate viewpoints, explore options, and develop agendas for decision and action. http://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/mission

The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR), housed in the School of Design, is dedicated to advancing cross-disciplinary urban-focused research, instruction, and civic engagement on issues relevant to cities around the world. As the global population becomes increasingly urban, understanding cities is vital to informed decision-making and public policy at the local, national, and international levels. Penn IUR hosts symposia, book readings, lectures, and panel discussions on urban issues, including environmental sustainablity and urban resiliencey, regularly on campus. http://penniur.upenn.edu/

The Penn Center for Water Policy Research launched in 2017, and sponsors research, public events, and publications on global and domestic water policy issues, including managing stormwater, future-proofing source water, and ensuring safe drinking water for urban and rural populations. http://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/former-ceo-philadelphia-water-joins-penn-research-centers-senior-fellow


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities has collaborated with the Institute of Contemporary Art as well as several experimental theater groups to create custom performances address contemporary environmental issues.

http://www.ppehlab.org/artistsinresidence/
http://www.ppehlab.org/theater/


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

Penn Outdoors organizes and promotes trips, speaking engagements, networking events, film screenings, skills courses, social occasions and fundraisers related to the following activities: hiking/backpacking, camping, climbing, paddling, biking, caving, fishing, skiing/snowboarding, and alternative sports.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

The Year of Water (2010). The Provost's Theme year is a Penn program that focuses attention on a specific contemporary issue for the entire Penn Community. The year of water was Penn's first environmentally-themed example.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Penn Green Living Certification incentivizes students to adopt greener lifestyles. Students must adopt 5 Required Actions to be considered. By adopting or following various other sustainable behaviors they accrue points. Twenty, 35 and 50 points earn participants bronze-, silver- and gold-level certification respectively. The rewards-based program is organized around activities in:

• Waste Minimization & Recycling
• Energy & Water
• Transportation
• Purchasing
• Involvement at Penn

A certification manual lays out the details and required actions for earning points. These actions range from using CFLs, compact fluorescent lamps, instead of incandescent light bulbs in College Houses, or using a reusable mug or thermos for to-go beverages, to volunteering for an environmental activity. Those achieving gold, silver or bronze certification receive a decal as proof of their accomplishment.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

Penn Sustainability Office provides internships both in the office and in other offices in the city, including with environmental non-profit groups and the City of Philadelphia offices managing environmental issues.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:
---

The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
Yes

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Selected students of the Urban Watershed Curriculum work with Philadelphia schoolteachers in sixth, seventh, and eight grades to introduce urban watersheds issues through a pilot curriculum in nine public and charter schools. This program started in 2016 and has had twelve student participants as of 2017.


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to engaging with both the campus and public community on sustainability, with a goal to make climate change and sustainability part of the Penn culture. This commitment and long standing tradition of both campus and public engagement around the issue of sustainability is seen through campus sustainability groups and community focused centers. Both public and campus engagement organizations partner with the Sustainability Office to create student internships, engage in environmental issues, and build knowledge around sustainability. For a more complete listing of engagement activities on campus, please see EN 10 to EN 14.

The submission relies on information related to the main, academic, West Philadelphia campus, but to more fully document efforts across the Penn system, information related to the Morris Arboretum and New Bolton has also been referenced and noted as outside the boundary in descriptions. The information is used to enrich examples of University efforts and is not intended to be the primary justification for credits. The responses for each of the questions and sub-questions are drawn from University materials, both internal and public documents. Each section notes the website where the information can be found.

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.