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

STARS v2.2

University of Pennsylvania
EN-4: Outreach Materials and Publications

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 a central sustainability website that consolidates information about the institution’s sustainability efforts?:

Website URL for the central sustainability website:
Does the institution have a sustainability newsletter or social media platform that focuses specifically on campus sustainability?:

A brief description of the sustainability newsletter or social media platform:

The Penn Sustainability Office publishes an e-newsletter, "Red & Blue on College Green," to provide the Penn community with facts and figures on our operational progress, project and program spotlights, and highlights of academic research and teaching. All content in "Red & Blue on College Green" relates to the goals within the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 and is sent to over 2,500 subscribers.

The Penn Sustainability Office also manages three social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These sites provide the Penn community with up-to-date sustainability facts and figures, trending news stories, information on upcoming events and initiatives, and sustainability lifestyle tips.

Does the institution have signage that highlights sustainability features on campus?:

A brief description of the signage that highlights sustainability features on campus:

Discover Penn is a campus-wide cell phone tour that provides an innovative approach to experiencing the campus. The program helps users understand Penn and its people, its art, its buildings, its academics, and its landscape. The program, which started in Fall 2008, currently has fifteen sites that are changed from time to time and that are identified by the red "Discover Penn" signage. The signage provides a phone number and participants who call the number hear recordings by Penn Trustees, faculty, alumni, and those who are experts in their field or who have a close connection to Penn. The messages run approximately 2 minutes long and vary between deep, trivial, serious, and lighthearted. The sites are equally diverse, including public art, historic buildings, campus sustainability features, and research milestones. The Music Building, a LEED Gold Building, is one of the stops on this tour, as is the rain garden at Shoemaker Green, a sustainable SITES location, the Kaskey Park Biopond, and Geology Garden.

Does the institution provide a sustainability walking map or tour?:

A brief description of the sustainability walking map or tour:

The Penn Sustainability Walking Tour highlights notable LEED-certified Buildings on campus, as well as green spaces which utilize best practices in stormwater management.


Does the institution produce a guide for green living and/or incorporating sustainability into the residential experience?:

A brief description of the guide for green living and/or incorporating sustainability into the residential experience:

The individual decisions residents living on campus make on a daily basis, even if seemingly small, play a critical role in the University’s sustainability initiatives. The Penn Sustainability Office seeks to recognize these choices and provide on- and off-campus residents with an opportunity to reflect on their environmental impact by offering the "Green Living Certification" program—an environmental certification.

Establishing greener lifestyles creates a tangible, positive impact on our campus. By offering ""Green Living Certification"", residents will be inspired to take further steps towards improving the health of our environment and to provide a model for others to do the same.

Certification is awarded upon completion of two sections: Required and Optional Actions. The 5 Required Actions are habits that are relatively easy to accomplish and provide the foundation for implementing more difficult sustainable practices. The Optional Actions are organized into 5 categories: Waste Minimization & Recycling; Energy & Water; Transportation; Purchasing; Involvement at Penn. All Optional Actions are assigned points based on a combination of environmental impact, difficulty of implementation, and cost. Based on the number of points achieved, participating students can earn one of three levels for completing the program, bronze, silver or gold. There are 90 possible points.

The Green Living Certification is offered through the Qualtrics survey platform. For students who wish to re-visit the actions mentioned in the survey after they have already submitted their answers, a Green Living Certification Manual is available for reference.


A brief description of other comprehensive sustainability outreach materials and publications not covered above:

Penn Sustainability frequently develops new and updates existing sustainability outreach materials and publications for various segments of the campus population.

A few examples include:
- The Green Team Guide, which informs offices and departments on how to start and sustain successful Green Teams in order to minimize the environmental impacts of their workplace and teach fellow co-workers about sustainable practices.
- The Green Labs Guide, which describes daily, monthly, and annual actions that can be done to consistently make labs on campus greener. The numerous research labs on campus provide a prime opportunity to reduce the campus impacts of energy, waste, and purchasing.
- The Green Events Guide was developed by the Penn Sustainability Office to help students, faculty, and staff in the Penn community host more environmentally sustainable events. Whether campus stakeholders are hosting a department-wide gathering, a small staff meeting, or a lunch seminar, the guide makes it possible for event planners to significantly minimize waste and conserve natural resources during their events.
- The Bring it Home Guide was created by the Faculty Senate Committee on the Institutional Response to the Climate Emergency and describes practical ways for Penn faculty and staff to respond to the climate emergency.
- The Green Teaching Guide for faculty, lecturers, and teaching assistants provides a collection of best practices, lessons learned, and additional recommendations for reducing the environmental impact of classroom and other course related activities.


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.