|Submission Date||July 25, 2012|
University of Puget Sound
IN-1: Innovation 1
Associate Vice President of Business Services/Community Engagment
A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :
In 2005 President Thomas established the Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC), which reports to the president through the Vice President of Student Affairs and the Vice President for Finance and Administration. The president empowered the committee to advise on and implement sustainability policies and programs on campus and collaboratively with our regional community. The committee addresses sustainability across the institution and in partnership with external organizations.
SAC membership includes broad representation of faculty, staff, and students. It collaborates with university departments, the Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound (ASUPS), and Students for a Sustainable Campus (SSC), a formal club, to foster university wide sustainability coordination. SAC operated from 2005 until 2010 using a particular organizational structure.
A SAC workgroup studied STARS and participated in some STARS pilot work. We were impressed with the comprehensive nature of STARS and long term use value.
We held a SAC retreat in 2010 to examine our structure, effectiveness, vision, mission, and objectives. We also made a retreat decision to reorganize ourselves around STARS to more effectively manage sustainability and achieve goals.
Since reorganizing, SAC has used STARS to assess Puget Sound’s sustainability status, identify priorities, and establish objectives. We created the following subcommittees to manage sustainability and all aspects of STARS:
The executive subcommittee manages SAC planning, meetings, budget, and SAC reports internal and external to Puget Sound. Group members also participate on one other SAC subcommittee to enable strong inter-subcommittee coordination. Executive subcommittee STARS responsibilities include university coordination and planning, investment, diversity and affordability, and human resources.
The pilot subcommittee manages the sustainability pilot grant program, which promotes and funds experimental sustainability projects to consider for permanent adoption (institutionalization). Several faculty participate with this group to encourage and guide projects with research and assessment components; e.g. independent or summer research projects. Pilot also oversees STARS curriculum and research endeavors.
The climate subcommittee manages key aspects of STARS climate commitment activities, including transportation, carbon footprint, energy use, and buildings.
The consumption subcommittee manages most university consumption endeavors, including those related to dining services, purchasing, waste, grounds, and water.
The outreach subcommittee manages campus sustainability education and programs. This includes the sustainability website and other communications (like the monthly Recycled Rag), sustainability campaigns, and special events. This group collaborates with and promotes other university sustainability programs and organizations, including the Students for a Sustainable Campus and the Residence Life Green Advocates Program. Representatives of those partner organizations are outreach subcommittee members to facilitate:
o Coordination of all university sustainability endeavors and priorities
o Co-sponsoring of events and activities
o Fostering of consistent campus-wide sustainability communications
The outreach subcommittee also engages external sustainability organizations, including Tacoma Farmer’s Markets, a Pierce County higher education sustainability consortium, and EB Alliance (a new sustainability organization involving the City of Tacoma, the Tacoma/Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Citizens for a Healthy Bay, and Go Local).
To institutionalize and assure effective sustainability management, we also embedded STARS responsibility and accountability throughout Puget Sound’s formal organization. Sustainability is considered in daily and longer-range decision-making. Various departments and positions have primary responsibility for each STARS category. SAC and its subcommittees are connected via STARS with those departments and positions.
Strengths of Puget Sound’s approach to sustainability and organization around STARS include:
• Students, faculty, and staff engage collaboratively and strategically
• Sustainability leadership is provided from the top and throughout the organization
• Accountability for STARS is assigned to appropriate departments and positions
• SAC’s organization around STARS enables ongoing triple bottom line sustainability assessment
• SAC endeavors are integrated with teaching, research, management, and operations
• International and national standards and commitments guide sustainability actions
A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
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.
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.