Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 49.76
Liaison Aurora Sharrard
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Pittsburgh
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Richard Heller
Senior Electrical Engineer
Facilities Management
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Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee?:

The charter or mission statement of the committee(s) or a brief description of each committee's purview and activities:

Charter for the University Sustainability Committee
Revised November 10, 2016

Pitt’s Vision for a Sustainable Future
The University of Pittsburgh will be a leader in environmental stewardship and recognizes that sound sustainability practices, research, and educational offerings benefit the institution, the Pittsburgh region, and the community at large. As such, the University of Pittsburgh will:
• Lead and educate by example by integrating sustainable practices into all areas of University operations, academics, research, and public service;
• Identify and implement practices that preserve and promote the conservation of energy, water and other resources;
• Engage faculty, students, and staff in the development of meaningful curriculum, scholarly research, and outreach activities to inspire future generations to consider sustainability in all that they pursue;
• Promote and enhance the visibility of sustainability initiatives across campus and within the community at large through education, promotion, and action-oriented community partnerships;
• Foster linkages among and within University departments for the purpose of innovating, collaborating, promoting, informing and reporting on sustainability efforts.
Mission Statement for the University Sustainability Committee
The University Sustainability Committee will promote a culture of sustainability across the Pitt campus and into the surrounding community by serving as a stimulus, a resource, and an advocate for environmental, social, and economic responsibility. The Committee’s work will support Pitt’s five strategic goals by:
• Advancing Educational Excellence by encouraging students, faculty, and staff to lead impactful lives by integrating the principles of sustainability into formal and informal educational programs;
• Engaging in Research of Impact by providing opportunities for collaborative and meaningful sustainability research;
• Strengthening Communities by considering and embracing the University’s impact on the sustainability of our surrounding communities, the region, and the world;
• Building Foundational Strength by providing sustainable facilities, strengthening administrative and operational efficiencies, and enhancing partnerships locally, nationally, and globally;
• Embracing Diversity and Inclusion by encouraging the use of social and economic sustainability as a lens through which University initiatives and alternatives are considered.

Charge for the University Sustainability Committee
Be Accountable for the University’s Sustainability Efforts
• Develop a comprehensive Sustainability Plan for the University, before the end of the 2017 Spring Term, to be endorsed and signed by the Chancellor. Development of the plan should include:
o Representation from a broad subsection of the University community
o A set of discrete objectives with milestone dates designed to direct and unify efforts
o Vital measurement goals and metrics, sufficient to gauge the University’s progress, to include scheduled updates and reporting
o A multi-year road map to a more sustainable future
o A strategy for promoting the Plan through University and community engagement
• Ensure that Pitt’s efforts are comprehensive and focused on meaningful objectives.
• Encourage and gather departmental sustainability goals, monitor the implementation of strategies, and create a formal avenue for the reporting of sustainability goals and metrics.
• Benchmark best practices in sustainability on college and university campuses and make recommendations on the development and implementation of sustainability standards and practices related to operations, education and outreach.
• Regularly measure and report on Pitt’s progress toward commitments and goals as well as departmental achievements in sustainability.
Promote a Sustainable Campus and Community
• Enhance Pitt’s reputation as a leader in environmental responsibility and the stewardship of resources.
• Enhance the climate of environmental, social, and economic sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities.
• Identify, evaluate, and develop opportunities for individuals and groups to take a leadership role in sustainable initiatives at Pitt and in the community.
• Provide an avenue or a forum for students, staff and faculty to bring/advance ideas to the larger community.
• Create opportunities for collaboration among administrative units (i.e. Facilities Management, Housing, Dining, Transportation, Athletics, Purchasing, CSSD, etc.) to promote sharing of ideas, responsibilities, and best practices.
• Develop and nurture community partnerships for the advancement of sustainability on campus and into surrounding communities.
• Participate in local, regional, and global programs, initiatives, and challenges to promote community collaboration and engagement.
• Encourage participation in professional associations to promote the University’s sustainability efforts and to strengthen our standards, practices and knowledge.
• Leverage existing media outlets (print, website, social media, etc.) and identify new opportunities to communicate and promote the efforts of Pitt faculty, staff, and students.
• Develop materials and programs to educate students, faculty, and staff on sustainable living and working habits.
Integrate sustainability into research, scholarship and student life
• Serve as a resource for interested faculty to develop meaningful curriculum, and encourage class projects to allow students to take an active role in the advancement of sustainability on campus. Support students in those efforts.
• Empower students across the curriculum with awareness in sustainability issues and a capacity to contribute to the development of sustainable communities.
• Work with students and student groups on academic and extra-curricular projects that will promote campus sustainability. Be receptive to student ideas and work together to create a bridge between ideas and their practical implementation.
• Identify appropriate methods for faculty and student projects to be pilot-tested on campus.
• Provide opportunities for sustainability-focused student internships or fellowships.
Proposed Committee Structure
The Facilities Management Division will take the lead in the overall management, reporting, promotion, and success of the program. Program Leads will be appointed for each representative area and will be responsible for developing, implementing, and documenting sustainability initiatives in their area of responsibility.
Program Senior Manager: Laura Zullo, Facilities Management
Program Leads from each of the following areas (to be appointed by department or area):
 Student Affairs
 Student Representation (SGB, GPSG, CGS, Member at Large)
 Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
 Faculty Sustainability Task Force
 Facilities Management
 Housing
 Food Services
 Parking and Transportation
 Surplus Property
 Purchasing
 Computing Services and Systems Development
 Athletics
 Environmental Health and Safety
 University Marketing and Communications
 Community and Governmental Relations
Regional Campus Leads
 Bradford Campus
 Greensburg Campus
 Johnstown Campus
 Titusville Campus
Program Assessment Meetings will be held quarterly or as scheduled by the Program Senior Manager. Each lead will be asked to present a quarterly report on sustainability initiatives and efforts in their area of responsibility. Each area or campus will also be asked to develop specific, measurable goals and shall report on the progress toward each goal within the quarterly report.

On the academic side, the Provost instituted a Sustainability Task Force in September 2013 to help guide efforts regarding sustainability education and research at the University. The Provost declared Academic Year 2014/2015 as the Year of Sustainability at the University with $37 million in support for new academic curriculum focusing on sustainability as well as more student focused activities.

The University Senate's Plant Utilization and Planning Committee also promotes and discusses sustainability initiatives on campus during monthly meetings.

In May 2017, the University Senate unanimously approved a resolution regarding the University’s fossil fuel investments. The resolution “encourages the Chancellor to form a committee of faculty, staff, students, and administration, and initiate a systematic process for consideration of socially responsible investing as a strategy for the University to orient its investments, and issue a public report on its work and findings in support of this decision process.”

Senate President Frank Wilson, who was a member of the ad hoc committee behind the resolution, mentioned that the committee’s discussion expanded to include socially responsible investing and the Board of Trustees’ fiduciary responsibility to preserve and increase the University’s endowment.

In December 2017, members have been appointed to a committee established by the University’s administration to examine approaches to socially responsible investment of the University’s endowments.

The group will look at how other universities and nonprofits approach socially responsible investing and will examine the merits and trade-offs of such approaches if Pitt were to implement them.

The Pitt community will have opportunities to provide input in the committee’s discussions.

Members of each committee, including affiliations and role (e.g. staff, student, or faculty):

University-wide Sustainability Committee: Senior Manager of Utilities and Sustainability (Chair), Co-Director of the Mascaro Center Sustainable Initiatives, Sustainability Program Coordinator (Student Office of Sustainability), and staff representation from Purchasing, Housing, Food Services, Parking and Transportation, Computing Services, Athletics, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Management, student government, and student leaders (4 student representatives).

Sustainability Task Force: Provost and a diverse group of 22 faculty members from various academic areas.

University Senate Plant Utilization and Planning Committee: Regular participants include appointed faculty, support members from various staff departments (i.e. Facilities Management, Business, Governmental Relations), and Student Government Board representatives.

Socially Responsible Investing Committee: David Denis, a faculty member in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, will chair the committee. The other committee members include:
•CB Bhattacharya, a faculty member in the Katz School;
•Ronald Brand, a faculty member in the School of Law;
•Michael Goodhart, a faculty member in the Department of Political Science;
•Max Kneis, Student Government Board president; and
•Sarah Grguras, an active member of the Fossil Free Pittsburgh Coalition.

Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee?:

A brief description of each sustainability office:

Managed by the Senior Manager of Utilities and Energy Initiatives, the University's sustainability coordination function is housed within the Facilities Management Division. The Office has been tasked with the responsibility for coordinating and reporting on the University's sustainability efforts, and Chairs the University-wide Sustainability Committee. To accomplish this objective, Facilities Management team members work closely with members of the University community to coordinate the many efforts and initiatives undertaken by Facilities Management, the Mascaro Center For Sustainable Innovation, the Student Office of Sustainability, Housing and Food Services, Parking & Transportation, Purchasing, Computing Services, Athletics, Environmental Health and Safety, academic areas, student groups, and various other departments throughout the University that may contribute to the advancement of campus sustainability. A website is under development to report and promote the activities of the Committee and progress on the Sustainability Plan.

The Student Affairs Division has established a Student Office of Sustainability and hired a Sustainability Program Coordinator to promote and coordinate student sustainability initiatives (http://www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/pittserves/sustainability).

Full-time equivalent (FTE) of people employed in the sustainability office(s):

Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:

Name and title of each sustainability officer:
Rich Heller, Senior Manager of Utilities and Sustainability; Erika Ninos, PittServes Sustainability Program Coordinator; Gena Kovalcik, Co-Director, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation

Does the institution have a mechanism for broad sustainability coordination for the entire institution (e.g. a campus-wide committee or an officer/office responsible for the entire campus)?:

A brief description of the activities and substantive accomplishments of the institution-wide coordinating body or officer during the previous three years:

The University restructured its Sustainability efforts in 2016 to further advance sustainability into the campus culture. A new University-wide Sustainability Committee was created to better represent the entire campus community. Chaired by the Senior Manager of Utilities and Sustainability, the Committee includes representation from all major administrative/operational areas as well as faculty and student representatives. A mission, vision, and charter have been developed and approved, and the Committee meets monthly. The first major task for the Committee was development of a Sustainability Plan for Pitt (published January 2018), which provides a roadmap for advancing sustainability, complete with ambitions and measurable goals. The new group replaced a former smaller working group that included only faculty and staff representation.

Through the leadership of a Sustainability Task Force, established by the Office of the Provost, the University extends sustainability initiatives throughout Pitt’s academic programs and research initiatives. The Task Force, which comprises faculty representatives from across campus, is charged with three goals: to catalyze interdisciplinary sustainability research; to enrich the undergraduate and graduate program offerings in the area of sustainability; and to further enhance Pitt’s national recognition in sustainability. The task force, formed in fall 2013, has already developed a campus-wide sustainability certificate for undergraduate students and plans to expand the University’s curricular offerings in sustainability with a set of master’s-level degree programs that will have a broad focus in engineering, business, and public policy.

The Student Affairs Division has established a Student Office of Sustainability (SOOS)and hired a Sustainability Program Coordinator to help promote and coordinate student sustainability initiatives (http://www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/pittserves/sustainability). The SOOS provides a home for the many sustainability-focused student groups on campus and works to coordinate their efforts and promote collaboration.

Job title of the sustainability officer position:
Director of Sustainability

Job description for the sustainability officer position:

Job description for the sustainability officer position:

This role will be charged with being a key connector and collaborator on campus, establishing key relationships and leveraging Pitt’s resources to enable the Pitt Sustainability Plan. This role will build upon existing successes to position the University of Pittsburgh as a leader in the field of Sustainability at the city, state, regional, national and international level by promoting broader awareness of the University’s environmental, social and financial sustainability successes and accomplishments.

The position will also provide leadership to the University Sustainability Committee, a cross-campus committee of internal champions promoting sustainability. The position will provide leadership for building and enhancing collaborative partnerships while supporting University-wide sustainability strategy, guidelines, and policy development in collaboration with stakeholders from across the University.

This position will be a key advocate on campus to enhance collaborative partnerships with Academics, Operations, Student Affairs, Athletics and other Campus groups as needed. As Director of Sustainability at Pitt, you will foster the implementation of the Pitt Sustainability Plan through the five enablers outlined in the plan. These enablers are critical to establishing the foundation for success. They are overarching in that they must be thought of as elevating all aspects of sustainability at Pitt to achieve institutional change.

Job title of the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Job title of the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The University is currently creating a new Office of Sustainability and recruiting for a dedicated Director of Sustainability to oversee and coordinate sustainability across campus. The Office will report to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Business and Operations and will be physically housed within the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation

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.