Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.31
Liaison Natalie Walker
Submission Date Aug. 9, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Pennsylvania
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Natalie Walker
Sustainability Manager
Penn Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

The Student Sustainability Association at Penn (SSAP) is the umbrella organization for the various sustainability-focused student groups on campus including: Penn Beekeeping Club, Penn Closet, University of Pennsylvania Outdoors Club, Student Eco-Reps, Isla Urbana at Penn, Fossil Free Penn, Climate Reality Project at Penn, Epsilon Eta, Geology Society, Penn Vegan Society, Earth and Environmental Science Undergraduate Advisory Board, Engineers Without Borders, and Penn Environmental Group.

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 14+ 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/
PENN BEEKEEPING CLUB - This student-run group seeks to foster an appreciation for the ecological importance of the honeybee within students and members of the community. https://www.facebook.com/PennBeekeeping/about/?ref=page_internal
PENN CLOSET – Penn Closet is a student-run second-hand store and sustainability hub located on campus. https://www.facebook.com/penn.closet/about/?ref=page_internal
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA OUTDOORS CLUB - This group’s goal is to provide Penn community members with the resources, equipment, transportation and contacts they need to enjoy the outdoors. https://www.facebook.com/pennoutdoors/about/?ref=page_internal
STUDENT ECO-REPS - Penn's environmental leadership program for students interested in advancing sustainability through implementation of campus-based project. Students work as paid employees of Penn’s Sustainability Office and collaborate with our University partners to carry out projects in support of Penn’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0. https://www.sustainability.upenn.edu/students/student-eco-reps
ISLA URBANA AT PENN - Isla Urbana is a non-profit organization that has designed an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable rainwater harvesting system that collects and cleans rainwater for households, schools and health clinics. Penn’s chapter works to advance the mission of Isla Urbana in partnership with The Water Center at Penn, the Global Water Alliance, and Drexel Smart House through initiatives such as fundraisers and educational trips. https://islaurbanapenn.weebly.com/
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/
CLIMATE REALITY PROJECT AT PENN – Penn’s Climate Reality Project fighting for a stronger commitment from our university for carbon neutrality and 100% renewable energy by 2030. https://www.facebook.com/CampusCorpsUPenn/
EPSILON ETA - The mission of Epsilon Eta is to recognize and connect sustainability-minded students, providing them with a network of support and opportunities during and after their academic career. They strive to foster a conscious awareness of the intrinsic relationship between people and their environment through academics, the community, service, and personal development. http://epsilonetapenn.org/
GEOLOGY SOCIETY - The Penn Geology Society aims to foster an environment where students with a passion for Earth Science can come together to learn, grow, and develop. https://www.facebook.com/penngeosociety/about/?ref=page_internal
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
Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) UNDERGRADUATE ADVISORY BOARD (UAB) - The purpose of the Board is to act as a third party responsible for facilitating communication between the educational authorities and the undergraduate population within the department and aiding in the provision of activities or services deemed suitable to further enrich the academic experience of any undergraduate involved with or considering involvement with the department, acting either in addition to or in conjunction with services provided by the department. https://earth.sas.upenn.edu/undergraduate/undergraduate-advisory-board
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. https://www.facebook.com/PennEWB/
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. http://pennenvironmentalgroup.weebly.com/
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/
PENN SUSTAINABILITY CONSULTING - Penn Sustainability Consulting is a student group committed to providing sustainability consulting services and solutions to local enterprises. They foster sustainable growth and work with a team of multicultural members to provide innovative solutions that are environmentally-friendly, cost-effective, and responsible for all stakeholders. https://pennclubs.com/club/penn-sustainability-consulting

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

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

Penn Park Orchard
The Penn Park Orchard aims to educate and create access to local food for both Penn and the wider Philadelphia community. Events open to anyone include orchard maintenance, edible plant workshops and pick-your-own harvests. The orchard is home to strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, juneberries, figs, and a host of other fruits, nuts, and herbs. The Penn Park Orchard is affiliated with the Philadelphia Orchard Project

Penn Food and Wellness Collaborative
The Penn Food and Wellness Collaborative brings together partners from the Center for Public Health Initiatives, Facilities and Real Estate Services, Wellness at Penn, Penn Sustainability, and others across Penn. 2020 marked the expansion of the Penn Park Orchard into Penn’s first campus urban farm, the Penn Park Farm. The farm will be host to a wide variety of programming including class visits, internships, workshops, volunteer opportunities, and events, with an emphasis on promoting wellness on campus. The main location for the Penn Food and Wellness Collaborative is the Penn Park Farm, located in Penn Park, one of Penn’s largest green spaces. The farm boasts rows of vegetables, newly tilled beds, and a hoop house for season extension. The farm utilizes sustainable growing practices.

Penn Student Garden
The Penn Student Garden is a raised-bed organic garden located between Harrison College House and Spruce St. Founded as a Green Fund project by a group of students in 2009, the garden serves as a shared educational space for the Penn and West Philadelphia communities. As of Spring 2019, the Penn Garden is now a part of the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI). Participants learn about and explore organic agriculture, sustainable food production, and the botany of urban ecosystems. Open work-days are held on a monthly basis during the growing season, and a variety of events, workshops, and gatherings are hosted throughout the year.

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

PENN CLOSET - Penn Closet strives to provide the Penn community with a place to donate their unwanted clothes, books, and other small items for students to re-buy at highly discounted prices. This organization was co-founded by students Damien Koussis and Zoe Weissberg during the 2017-2018 Academic Year. https://psa.vpul.upenn.edu/penncloset/

WILLIAMS CAFE - Williams Cafe is an entirely student run cafe offering coffee drinks, bagels, pastries, sandwiches, and a variety of products. This cafe serves food sources from local organizations including La Colombe coffee, which incorporates aspects of sustainability into their packaging and supports the National Park Foundation. http://www.psawilliamscafe.com/

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

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 Sustainability, 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 and Sustainability Action Plan, a long-range strategy, launched in 2009 and updated in 2014 and 2019, to reduce the University’s carbon footprint and enhance its overall sustainability.

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

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

Climate Week at Penn aims to raise awareness about the climate emergency. Students, faculty, and staff from across the university are invited to host virtual events aimed at engaging both the Penn community and the region in a broad range of activities through research, education, public engagement, and activism.

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. https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/events/

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 sustainability and urban resilience, regularly on campus. http://penniur.upenn.edu/

The Water Center at Penn, and sponsors research, supports the resiliency, sustainability, and equity of urban water systems through guidance, assistance, and by directing applied collaborative research. The Water Center regularly hosts events and programming for students. https://watercenter.sas.upenn.edu/recorded-events/

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

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


Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

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

The University of Pennsylvania Outdoors Club (UPOC) is a student group devoted to outdoor recreation that organizes and promotes trips, speaking engagements, networking events, film screenings, skills courses, social events, and fundraisers related to outdoor activities. One of the core values of this group is responsibility and they are committed to the highest standards of environmental stewardship and responsibility in all trips and events.

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

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

The Year of Civic Engagement (2020/2021):
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 Civic Engagement encourages the Penn Community to find innovative and meaningful ways to connect with people in our communities, particularly around issues of racial and environmental justice. https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/introducing-year-civic-engagement

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

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 LEDs or CFL 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.

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

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

Student Eco-Reps, Sustainability Office Interns, Civic Sustainability Scholars, and Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum:

Student Eco-Reps work with the Office of Sustainability to implement year-long sustainability projects on campus. https://www.sustainability.upenn.edu/students/student-eco-reps

The Sustainability Office also employees student interns to support with implementation of Climate and Sustainability Action Plan goals and advancing other goals related to campus sustainability. The Civic Sustainability Scholars programs pairs students in offices outside of the university, including environmental non-profit groups and City of Philadelphia offices managing sustainability issues. The Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum program matches students with professors to aid in incorporating sustainability into coursework. https://www.sustainability.upenn.edu/participate/staff-and-faculty/integrating-sustainability-across-curriculum

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3,000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to reducing emissions and energy use, as stated in the 2019 "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0." This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY20 year and compares them to the FY09 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0." 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 Center 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.