|Submission Date||July 25, 2012|
University of Puget Sound
IN-3: Innovation 3
Associate Vice President of Business Services/Community Engagment
A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Puget Sound has embedded comprehensive sustainability throughout its weeklong orientation. Before attending their first class, students are immersed in triple bottom line sustainability learning and experiences.
Sustainability education incorporates on-campus, outdoor, and urban environments. Orientation week is divided into three primary components: Prelude, Passages, and Perspectives. Goals for Prelude, Passages, and Perspectives are to challenge, comfort, and connect students with the Puget Sound community. Students experience an intellectually challenging community as well as develop strong connections with faculty and at least one or two peer groups outside the classroom. We want students to feel welcome and comfortable with university resources and values. Sustainability is a vital Puget Sound resource and value.
Sustainable Environmental Practices
Events commence with a 1,500 attendee “zero-waste” picnic that concludes opening day of new student orientation week. Food is served using reusable dishware and utensils. Drink containers are recycled and food waste is composted in partnership with the city of Tacoma. Picnic goals are to welcome all new families and students to Puget Sound and demonstrate Puget Sound’s core value sustainability commitment. Orientation leaders and Sustainability Services staff manage picnic recycling, composting, and reusable dishware sites where they educate students and families about sustainable practices.
New students are issued reusable mugs that display Puget Sound’s “Loggers Live Green” logo and our sustainability website URL. Students use mugs to purchase beverages at discounted prices. The orientation Perspectives program includes a campus life skit about where to recycle and how to return reusable dishware to the Diner.
Newest enhancements are:
• Distribution of reusable metal water bottles to all new students. The bottles have “Loggers Live Green” and “Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound” logos.
• A pilot reusable food container program in which new students are enrolled free of charge. Upper-class students can buy into the program. Students choose between china or reusable containers for each meal, thereby avoiding use of disposable products.
The mugs, new water bottles, and reusable food containers are promoted as a package for sustainable eating and beverage consumption. The eating and beverage container project exemplifies Puget Sound’s academic and non-academic sustainability collaboration:
• The Associated Student Body funded metal water bottles.
• Dining and Conference Services funded mugs and reusable food containers.
• Facilities Services funded additional campus water bottle filling stations.
• Several faculty are overseeing Sustainability Advisory Committee grant-funded projects to promote and assess the impact of water bottles and reusable containers; e.g. student surveys and current vs. historical measurements of paper dining product and disposable water bottle purchasing volumes.
• Student Affairs orients all new students to sustainable products and practices upon campus arrival.
Students live in their fall residence room during orientation week. Each room and residence public areas have recycling containers. Restrooms have shower timers. Various sustainability education and practice tips are posted throughout residences. Students learn about and practice sustainable living habits the first day of residency.
Passages is a several day camp and outdoor living experience during orientation week. New students are educated about outdoor sustainability through “leave no trace” environmental ethics education at campfires, around camp, and in depth during day and overnight camping trips. There is a campfire skit about proper use of blue recycling totes located throughout campus. Overnight trips re-use or recycle all plastic food bags, sleeping bag dry sacks, and clothing dry sacks. Passages co-directors and student coordinators are certified “Leave No Trace” educators.
Local Economic Impact and Transportation
Students are divided into their advising groups during Perspectives. Each group and their Perspectives leader participate in a Freshman Group Activity where each person receives $3 and a bus pass to explore Tacoma. The objective is to orient new students to Tacoma via public transit so they know where to go and how to travel sustainably. This familiarizes them with public transit access to/from campus and ease of use. Pierce Transit provides bus passes as a community engagement endeavor. Students learn where to shop to support the local economy.
Society and Social Justice
Perspectives, the final segment of Puget Sound’s orientation program, fosters understanding and appreciation of multiple perspectives. During this phase students experience the value of diverse people and viewpoints, together with volunteering for a community service project in Tacoma. Students also obtain answers to questions like the best restaurant to visit with your parents, the best stores for energy bars and ramen, and numerous other valuable city “go local” guidance.
Perspectives social justice programs include:
• The Urban Plunge community service day
• Introduction to Campus Life—the Perspectives leaders’ skit
• When hello gets out of hand—A program on acquaintance rape and sexual harassment
• I am Puget Sound—A program focusing on diversity
• Freshman group activities
• Evening Entertainment—Opportunities after many of the above programs for students to relax with new friends and get to know their upper-class Perspectives leaders and residence staff
A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available: