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-14: Participation in Public Policy

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 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, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

As a major research institution and the largest employer in the region, Penn engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability in a variety of ways in Philadelphia and the surrounding region. While the institution has not specifically advocated for or against specific environmental legislation in the past three years, members of the Penn sustainability community and faculty participate in key advocacy discussions through membership in advocacy organizations and non-profits, by providing expert testimony, and by serving as volunteers on municipal boards.

The Penn Sustainability Director serves on the Philadelphia Civic Design Review (CDR) committee, advising the Planning Commission development in the city. The CDR has a sustainability checklist for new construction, created with input from the Penn Sustainability Director, that is used to evaluate projects across the city.

As part of the 2013 renegotiated service agreement between Penn and its district steam provider, Veolia Energy North America, Veolia installed and commissioned two new, natural gas-fired rapid-response boilers. The rapid-response boilers replace an older, less-efficient oil-fired boiler, increasing the overall efficiency of Veolia Energy's steam service in the central business and University City Districts of Philadelphia, and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As part of its extended 20-year energy agreement with Penn, Veolia Energy has expanded the scope of services to include innovative conservation and operational improvement initiatives.”


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, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Penn is the second largest employer in Pennsylvania, and engages in the state-wide public policy advocacy for sustainability in a variety of ways. While the institution has not specifically advocated for or against specific environmental legislation in the past three years, members of the Penn sustainability community and faculty participate in key advocacy discussions through membership in advocacy organizations and non-profits, by providing expert testimony, and by serving as volunteers on non-profit boards. In 2016, the Penn Sustainability Director lectured on Penn's sustainability practices at the American Sustainability Leadership Council in Harrisburg.


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, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Penn, as part of the Ivy+ Sustainability Consortium, has participated in the White House Council of Environmental Quality round table calls, and participated in President Obama's Act on Climate Pledge to support the work of the American delegation to the COP21 talks in Paris.


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, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Penn is a member of the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), which provides a global forum to support leading colleges, universities, and corporate campuses in the exchange of information, ideas, and best practices for achieving sustainable campus operations and integrating sustainability in research and teaching. Penn sends at least one representative to the ISCN annual conferences and in 2017, presented a summary of Penn's "Century Bond Energy Retrofit" program.


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

As noted above, the University of Pennsylvania signed the President's Act on Climate pledge, joining over 150 other American colleges and universities, including all seven other members of the Ivy League, to support the American efforts at the COP 21 Climate Talks in Paris. In addition, Penn is a member of the Global University Leadership Forum's Sustainable Campus Network, the US Green Building Council, is a sustaining sponsor of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, and a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. All of these organizations participate in advocacy and sharing best practices around environmental sustainability.


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

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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https://www.sustainability.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/University%20of%20Pennsylvania%20White%20House%20Act%20on%20Climate%20Pledge.pdf
https://dvgbc.org/our-partners

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.