Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.64
Liaison Rob Andrejewski
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Richmond
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Cassandra Collins
Sustainability Communications & Engagement Specialist
Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

GreenUR is a student group that organizes environmental campaigns and hosts sustainability-related events, like documentary screenings.

Greeks Going Green is a student group focused on unifying the campus community through improving sustainability awareness and promoting practices in Greek organizations.

The Environmental Law Society is a student organization dedicated to learning about and raising awareness of legal issues in the environment. This organization is devoted to fostering sustainable lifestyles and being mindful of our impact on the environment. Annual events include national lobbying opportunities, partnering and volunteering with an environmental non-profit, outdoor social activities, and events with environmental speakers.

The SEEDS (Students Engaging & Enacting Dialogue on Service) Project is a student-run organization that focuses on engaging students in meaningful and sustainable service projects as well as dialogue centered around the social justice and environmental issues in specific communities. SEEDS offers three alternative spring break trips each year to the Gulf Region of Louisiana, the Appalachian Region of West Virginia, and the Detroit area of Michigan to learn about environmental and social issues in those areas and complete service projects.

Spiders CARE is a student group focused on animal rights activism and educating on vegan and vegetarian diets that was active on campus through spring 2018.

University of Richmond Sustainability Advocates (URSA) is a program dedicated to promoting sustainability and environmentally responsible behavior on campus. URSA educates students, supports Office for Sustainability efforts, and hosts events.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

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

The University of Richmond offers membership in an on-campus community garden where students, faculty, and staff can have their own 15' x 10' plot of land to grow vegetables, fruits, and flowers. The garden is organic, so pesticides are banned and only the use of organic fertilizers is permitted. The garden is open from mid-March until October. Individuals wishing to use the garden must attend required information sessions to learn about organic farming and gardening principles. The Community Garden is led by David Donaldson, a staff member in Events, Conferences, and Support Services. Students are encouraged to participate by working alongside experienced gardeners throughout the growing season. Students also have the opportunity through the campus's Bonner Center for Civic Engagement to volunteer with urban agriculture and community garden projects throughout the city. Organizations that students have volunteered with include Tricycle Gardens, Shalom Farms, and the Peter Paul Development Center's community garden. Through volunteering, students learn about growing food, urban agriculture, and food access throughout the city of Richmond.


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
No

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

N/A


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

University of Richmond has a Green Revolving Fund (GRF) that supports projects that reduce the University’s environmental impact, provide a long-term economic return, and promote education and engagement of campus stakeholders. The cost-savings generated by the GRF projects are tracked and used to replenish the fund for the next round of projects, making the GRF a sustainable funding mechanism. The savings generated by these efficiency projects are used to justify and fund additional conservation projects.

Monetary savings that result from the completion of each project are transferred from general funds to the GRF on an annual basis until the cost of the project is paid in full. An additional 10 percent of the savings from the project are transferred into the GRF after the project cost has been repaid. There are two students on the Green Revolving Fund selection team.


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

Each year the Department of Geography & the Environment, the Environmental Studies Program and International Studies Program partner to bring noteworthy speakers and scholars to Richmond to present lectures related to our global environment. Recent presentation topics include "When Islands Sink: The Story of Climate Change and Micronesia", "Assassinations in the Amazon: Mapping Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene", "Change Leadership for a Changing Climate", and "The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Water".

The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement also hosts a weekly Brown Bag Discussion Series, consisting of speakers focused on provocative social issues. Recent Brown Bag sessions focused on sustainability include "The Climate is Changing: What Can We Do?", "Weaving Sustainability into the Fabric of the University: UR's First Sustainability Plan", and "Restoring UR's Gambles Mill Eco-Corridor".

Additionally, there are weekly presentations as part of a Biology Seminar series. Some presentations are focused on sustainability, like "Living on the Edge: Using Range Margin Populations to Determine Organismal Responses to Environmental Change".

Next, the School of Arts and Sciences hosts a symposium each year where student researchers exhibit their scholarly work, including sustainability-focused work. Three sustainability research awards are given out. In 2018, projects that received sustainability awards included "Initiatives for Biodiversity Management at the University of Richmond", "Sustainable Agriculture in the Rainforest: an Analysis of Soil Nematode Communities", and "Comparing Landsat 8-derived surface temperatures and field-collected air temperatures in the City of Richmond, Virginia".

Lastly, the Office for Sustainability hosts three Intro to Sustainability presentations every semester to give students an overview of sustainability efforts at the University and how they can get involved.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

Every year, University of Richmond participates in a city-wide Environmental Film festival by hosting a free screening of a sustainability-themed documentary. Past films include, "Planetary", "Here's to Flint", and "Wasted! The Story of Food Waste". These screenings are open to students, staff, faculty, and the public. Screenings are accompanied by a guest speaker, a panel discussion, and/ or local sustainability organizations tabling.

One of our on-campus museums, the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, features environmentally- and sustainability-themed installations. The museum is open to students and partners with various UR classes throughout the year.

UR, through its downtown campus, UR Downtown, partners with First Fridays, a monthly cultural and arts gallery night which has some sustainability themed events and art installations.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

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

The University's Outdoor Adventure and Recreation Program (OAR) offers a wide range of trips each fall and spring, including hikes, kayaking, tubing, camping, skiing, rock climbing, and mountain biking. All of the scheduled trips involve educating participants on outdoor ethics and risk management. OAR also hosts custom trips for specific courses, river cleanup events, and University sports teams. Every year OAR also hosts the Appalachian Trail Adventure pre-orientation program for 20 incoming freshmen. Students hike up to 20 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park over the course of two days and one night camping.

The Earth Lodge Living Learning Community participates in outdoor activities that include hiking and camping in state and national parks. There is also a student Rock Climbing Club at the University. All of these groups make their best efforts to plan ahead and travel by trail, concentrate their activity, clean up after themselves, and leave what they find behind. The University Recreation and Wellness center also provides camping and kayaking equipment for rental to students as well as information about outdoor recreation opportunities.

A student-run Outdoors Club focused on nature-based recreation, including hiking, biking, surfing, climbing, and backpacking, was launched in 2018.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

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

University of Richmond offers students the chance to participate in Sophomore Scholars in Residence (SSIR) communities, programs that combine a traditional academic course with co-curricular learning activities throughout a student’s entire sophomore year. Many SSIR's are sustainability focused, including these recent SSIR's: "Healthcare, the Environment and Biomedicine", "Out of the Sea", and "Geography of the James River Watershed".

The University also has other themed communities in which students live and take classes together, as well as have opportunities to travel, become engaged in the community, and do research together. Earth Lodge is a Living Learning Community focused on sustainability and outdoor education that gives participating students the chance to learn about sustainability and wellness, experience with outdoor adventure, and opportunities to get involved with environmental conservation in the city of Richmond.

First-year students can also participate in sustainability-themed "Roadmap" experiences designed to help them make the most of their time at college including "Appalachian Trail Adventure", "Organisms Out of Place", and "The Politics of Food".


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The University of Richmond Sustainability Advocates (URSA) program provides students with information about sustainability and specifically, how they can live more sustainably. The Green Room Program also provides students with a checklist of specific sustainable habits that include waste reduction, conserving energy, saving water, etc. Earth Lodge, a sustainability themed Living Learning Community, also teaches participants about how sustainability impacts their health and wellness in the everyday lives, as well as how to live sustainably when participating in outdoor activities.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

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

The Office for Sustainability hires 6-8 student interns each semester. This internship empowers students to develop their understanding of sustainability and affect change on campus in different concentrations. Students interact with faculty, staff and other students in a variety of capacities and relating to many different aspects of sustainability. Internship position focus areas change from semester to semester and include programming, communications, greenhouse gas accounting, food recovery, the community garden, waste reduction, and more. The program also provides educational opportunities to the interns about how sustainability works on personal and global scales alike.

There are also internship positions offered through the department of Geography and the Environment for Environmental Justice Research & Policy interns and Renewable Energy Education Project interns. Those internships give students the opportunity to support the work of the work of the Virginia Advisory Council on Environmental Justice and the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, and document and communicate progress towards on-campus renewable energy options at UR and other institutions of higher education, respectively.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

N/A


The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
No

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:
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The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
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Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.