Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.24
Liaison Rob Andrejewski
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Richmond
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Rob Andrejewski
Director of Sustainability
Office for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Sustainability Plan

Goal 1: Integrate sustainability into a University of Richmond education

Strategy 1.1 Increase the opportunity for University of Richmond students to engage in coursework focused on sustainability.

1.1.1 Across the five schools, support the efforts of faculty, staff, and students working to grow the number of courses that focus on a holistic concept of sustainability (including social, economic, and environmental dimensions) or examine an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens.

1.1.2 Provide support for faculty, staff, and students who seek to explore incorporation of sustainability into common learning experiences, including the general education curriculum.

1.1.3 Support the efforts of faculty, staff, and students who are exploring the development of a formal sustainability education program, including a minor in sustainability.

1.1.4 Investigate the establishment of an ‘s-designation’ for sustainability courses to enhance the rigor of the sustainability course tracking system and increase the visibility of new and existing sustainability courses.

1.1.5 Develop UR-specific resources that outline and measure the sustainability knowledge, attributes, and skills a student is expected to demonstrate through completion of a sustainability-related course, program, or unit.

Strategy 1.2 Support the integration of sustainability into co-curricular initiatives and high-impact educational practices, including first year experience, themed semesters, living learning communities, undergraduate research, study abroad, community-based learning, internships, and capstone courses.

1.2.1 Further develop a University of Richmond sustainability living lab program that connects coursework, research, and campus services and operations.

1.2.2 Partner with Living-Learning Programs, the Center for Civic Engagement, Study Abroad, Student Development, and other campus departments to increase awareness of and participation in sustainability-related immersive educational programs.

1.2.3 Partner with the Office of Alumni and Career Services and Academic Advising to increase the profile and number of sustainability-related career opportunities available to students, including job listings, internships, career fairs, and networking opportunities.

Strategy 1.3 Strengthen connections and establish incentive structures to support scholarship and teaching across different academic programs and disciplines engaged in sustainability.

1.3.1 Provide resources to help faculty enhance their ability to develop academic initiatives and conduct research related to sustainability, especially across disciplines and in collaboration with others.

1.3.2 Support interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching on innovative topics that address global, systemic problems, including climate change, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and land use.

1.3.3 Provide professional development opportunities in sustainability education to assist faculty in all disciplines in creating or reworking sustainability courses and learning outcomes.

1.3.4 Appoint a sustainability faculty fellow to support sustainability research and the integration of sustainability into the curriculum.


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Sustainability Plan

Goal 2: Increase understanding of sustainability issues and provide resources and opportunities for individuals and groups to enact sustainable behaviors on campus.

Strategy 2.1 Meaningfully feature sustainability in orientation and onboarding activities for all students, staff, and faculty.

2.1.1 Create the opportunity for all new UR students to participate in orientation activities and first-year experiences that prominently feature sustainability.

2.1.2 Add a formal, interactive component of new employee orientation that supports knowledge of and active engagement with sustainability initiatives at the University and department/office level.

Strategy 2.2 Improve the visibility of sustainability on campus.

2.2.1 Design and promote a campus sustainability tour, both online and on campus, and explore incorporating sustainability into official UR campus tours.

2.2.2 Post prominent signage and educational displays that highlight campus environmental stewardship efforts.

2.2.3 Identify, recognize, and promote the work undertaken by sustainability experts and professionals on campus.

2.2.4 Develop cohesive sustainability-based marketing and branding efforts across campus in coordination with appropriate personnel.

Strategy 2.3 Establish and promote training and education for students, staff, and faculty in environmental sustainability practices.

2.3.1 In partnership with appropriate personnel on campus, design online and in-person training programs on University sustainability initiatives and practices, including recycling, energy conservation, and sustainable purchasing.

2.3.2 Raise awareness of and increase participation in existing programs that promote personal sustainability (i.e., Green Office Program, Green Room Program, Be a Green Spider quizzes, etc.) and develop new resources that support environmentally responsible living and working.

2.3.3 Establish and train a cohort of employee and student sustainability peer educators to increase awareness and expand engagement across campus.

Strategy 2.4 Design and execute a comprehensive menu of sustainability events, programs, and activities for student, staff, and faculty.
2.4.1 Create a directory of existing sustainability and sustainability-related programs, events, and initiatives offered across campus.

2.4.2 Work with partners on campus and in the community to generate and implement new programming ideas and activities that will increase understanding of sustainability and support the creation of a culture of sustainability.

2.4.3 Collaborate with existing speaker series organizers to bring sustainability thought leaders to campus and broaden the audience for sustainability topics.


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Goal 3: Implement sustainable practices in campus operations and services that steward the natural world and support human well-being.

Strategy 3.1 Implement resource-efficient and environmentally responsible design, construction, and operation practices in all campus building projects.

3.1.1 Provide energy and water metering on all building systems to track performance and report usage data.

3.1.2 Maintain a third-party green building rating system standard for new buildings (equivalent to LEED Silver equivalent or better) for all new buildings and major renovations.

3.1.3 Perform a cost-benefit analysis on the adoption of a third-party green building rating system for existing building renovations.

3.1.4 Explore the feasibility of constructing a net-zero energy building, which generates 100% of its energy on-site.

Strategy 3.2 Update the 2010 Climate Action Plan with greenhouse gas reduction strategies that accelerate the achievement of carbon neutrality.

3.2.1 Match 100% of UR’s electricity usage with procurement from renewable sources by 2021.

3.2.2 Conduct a solar feasibility study of campus and UR-owned properties to assess the potential to increase renewable energy production, including site selection, availability of energy, equipment specification, financial analysis, and risk assessment.

3.2.3 Implement and publicize energy policies that improve outdoor air quality and minimize pollutants from stationary and mobile sources.

3.2.4 Investigate best practices in carbon offsets and carbon sequestration, including utilization of University-owned lands.

3.2.5 Explore an internal carbon accounting model that would establish baseline measures and encourage building and department-specific reduction targets.

Strategy 3.3 Reduce energy use intensity (energy per square foot per year) 40% below 2009 levels by 2025.

3.3.1 Implement an energy conservation management plan to identify, prioritize, implement, and track energy reduction and efficiency opportunities.

3.3.2 Establish an energy management system to guide and monitor energy usage and energy use intensity on campus.

Strategy 3.4 Identify opportunities to increase procurement of sustainable food at the capacity needed for consistent, high quality meals.

3.4.1 In partnership with Dining Services, establish a food system working group comprising students, staff, and faculty to benchmark best practices in sustainable food procurement, increase collaboration across stakeholder groups, and publicize green dining efforts.

3.4.2 Track and assess sustainable food purchases annually based on the STARS and Real Food criteria (including local, community-based, organic, ecologically sound, humane, and fair).

3.4.3 Using STARS and Real Food criteria as a guide, establish UR-specific sustainable food procurement targets by 2020.

3.4.4 Implement a sustainable food plan aimed at achieving UR-specific sustainable food procurement targets by 2021.

3.4.5 Explore sustainable procurement guidelines for catering and off-campus food vendors.

Strategy 3.5 Reduce food waste to the landfill by 50% by 2025.

3.5.1 Research best practices in food recovery, establish internal processes for both recovery and reuse, and develop partnerships to streamline and increase capacity for food donations.

3.5.2 Pilot back-of-the-house food composting collection in Retail Dining by 2020.

3.5.3 Compost all back-of-the-house and post-consumer food waste by 2025.

3.6 Develop innovative funding mechanisms to support sustainable practices on campus.

3.6.1 Revisit the proposal and selection process of green revolving fund projects to accelerate implementation of strategies that reduce the University’s environmental impact, provide a long-term economic return, and promote education and engagement of campus stakeholders.

3.6.2 Explore development of a green fund that provides small, competitive grants for the campus community to develop sustainability solutions.

3.6.3 Investigate the feasibility of adopting a revenue-neutral carbon charge on campus.

3.7 Enhance the University's ability to engage with the campus community on issues of responsible investing.

3.7.1 In partnership with Spider Management, explore the development of a committee on responsible investing aimed at increasing understanding of institutional investments and providing input on matters of importance to students, faculty, and staff.

3.7.2 Collaborate with other universities who have established responsible investment committees to benchmark best practices.

3.8 Increase the amount of environmentally and socially preferable purchases as a percentage of total goods purchased.

3.8.1 Explore the feasibility of setting internal sustainable purchasing standards and identifying how to implement data tracking measures.

3.8.2 Formalize and publicize sustainable procurement policies on purchased goods, including electronics (e.g., EPEAT), appliances (e.g., Energy Star), paper goods (e.g., Forest Stewardship Council), cleaning supplies (e.g., Green Seal).

3.8.3 Identify professional development opportunities in sustainable purchasing for Procurement personnel.

3.8.4 Research sustainable purchasing standards and available training for personnel who purchase goods on campus.

3.8.5 Examine best practices of total cost of ownership and total life-cycle cost implementation in purchasing and decision making.

3.9 Research and implement sustainability procurement standards for vendors.

3.9.1 Reinforce prioritization for working with women- and minority-owned enterprises.

3.9.2 Identify a process to certify that all Richmond trademarked apparel is produced under fair labor conditions.

3.9.3 Develop environmental standards and practice guidelines for major business partners.

3.10 Design and maintain campus landscapes in a manner that supports ecological health, advances student learning, and promotes recreation.

3.10.1 Develop and implement a Sustainable Landscape Management Plan following guidelines from the Sustainable SITES initiative.

3.10.2 Alongside partners in Biology and Environmental Studies, generate UR biodiversity management and invasive species management plans for the Gambles Mill Eco-Corridor, Westhampton Lake, Westhampton Green, and other open spaces on campus.

3.10.3 Conduct an assessment to identify endangered or vulnerable species, environmentally sensitive areas on University land.

3.10.4 Explore the development and use of outdoor spaces on campus and along the James River to support education, wellness, recreation, and research, including open-air classrooms, gathering spaces, and field sites.

3.10.5 Research the appropriateness and availability of using battery-powered landscape equipment on campus.

3.11 Manage campus lands to steward the James River watershed, increase water capture, and reduce stormwater impacts.

3.11.1 Create a watershed management plan centered on restoring the ecological function, aesthetic beauty, educational capacity, and recreational function of Westhampton Lake, and implement best management practices to increase groundwater recharge and reduce nutrient and sediment flow to the James River.

3.11.2 Explore use of Westhampton Lake as a source of on-campus irrigation.

3.11.3 Restore Little Westham Creek and implement best management practices to improve stormwater management in the Eco-Corridor.

3.11.4 Increase use of low-water landscape features and install rain catchment systems and cisterns in areas where irrigation is desired.

3.11.5 Assess the ratio of hardscape (paved, wood, or stone surfaces) to softscape (living objects in the landscape) to inform need for permeable paving surfaces.

3.12 Reduce potable water usage 50% below 2010 levels by 2025.

3.12.1 Investigate and utilize on-site technologies for water reclamation and reuse for utility and landscape purposes.

3.12.2 Sub-meter water usage in each building, set reduction targets based on established baseline, and implement efficiency and reduction strategies.

3.13 Reduce carbon emissions related to transportation and mobility.

3.13.1 Increase the use of carpooling, public transit, walking, and/or biking as primary means of student, staff, and faculty transportation.

3.13.2 Study the feasibility of offsetting emissions associated with University-supported travel.

3.13.3 Increase the number of electric and gas-electric hybrid vehicles, solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations, and infrastructure to support them.

3.13.4 Transition 30% of the University fleet to electric vehicles by 2025.

3.14 Improve campus connectivity with the greater Richmond region.

3.14.1 Build community and agency partnerships to make the roadways surrounding campus safer for biking and walking in alignment with the City of Richmond’s Complete Streets Policy.

3.14.2 Explore the opportunity to expand the Green Bike program and connect with City of Richmond on potential partnership regarding bicycles, scooters, and other personal transportation options.

3.14.3 Increase the number of sidewalks, bike lanes, and car-free areas to promote a more pedestrian friendly campus as described in the 2011 Campus Master Plan.

3.14.4 Pursue certification in the League of American Cyclists Bicycle Friendly University program.

3.15 Divert 75% of materials from the landfill by 2025.

3.15.1 Achieve Rethink Waste rollout (co-location of bins; standardized signage, bins, and bag colors) across campus by 2020.

3.15.2 Implement a pre- and post-consumer composting program on campus.

3.15.3 Explore the feasibility of a materials sort center on or near campus.

3.15.4 Provide in-person and online Rethink Waste training for all students, staff, and faculty.

3.16 Reduce gross waste totals by 15% by 2025.

3.16.1 Research and adopt processes that consider the end of product life in purchasing decisions, including questions of avoidance, reduction, reuse, and recycling.

3.16.2 Implement and promote reuse strategies across campus and develop measures to minimize prevalence of single-use disposable items.

3.16.3 Develop internal systems and external partnerships to improve capacity for capture of usable goods, including creation of a space for students, faculty, and staff to exchange, donate, and purchase items that would otherwise go to the landfill.


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Goal 4: Identify and activate organizational systems, resources, partnerships, and processes that support weaving sustainability into the fabric of the University.

4.1 Build UR's capacity to achieve Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Assessment, Tracking & Rating System (STARS) Gold by 2021 and STARS Platinum by 2024.

4.1.1 Increase financial and human resources available to the Office for Sustainability in order to manage institutional sustainability goals, collaborate with administrative, operational, and academic partners, assess and report on UR’s sustainability performance, communicate effectively, and develop new programming.

4.1.2 Conduct a gap analysis to identify what is needed to achieve Platinum status in the AASHE STARS rating system and devise improvements to close the gap by 2024.

4.2 Support the ability of departments, offices, and other functional units to create unit-level sustainability plans that utilize their unique abilities to advance sustainability on campus.

4.2.1 By the end of 2020, create online and in-person resources that help interested departments, offices, and functional units develop a shared understanding of sustainability and identify how their work may support implementation of the Sustainability Plan.

4.2.2 Work alongside a cohort of departments, offices, or functional units to pilot at least 3 unit-level sustainability plans that support both the unit’s mission and the goals and strategies outlined in the Sustainability Plan by 2022.

4.3 Welcome an expanded definition of sustainability that includes the capacity to create thriving communities and intersects with wellness, justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and work-life balance.

4.3.1 Collaborate with offices, functional units, and departments that work toward a more inclusive, just, and diverse campus and community.

4.3.2 Continue to work with the Center for Civic Engagement to identify and enact strategies that will strengthen community partnerships and advance sustainability initiatives in Richmond and beyond.

4.3.3 Join forces with the Health and Well-Being Advisory Group to support a culture of wellness and the pursuit of a balanced life.

4.4 Incorporate sustainability into development, planning & policy, and strategic communications.

4.4.1 Partner with the Advancement Office to clarify the case for sustainability as an important development strategy for the University.

4.4.2 Alongside the Office of Planning & Policy, develop a guide for existing sustainability policies, implement and publicize new policies that support University sustainability goals, and establish a mechanism to communicate, track, and implement sustainability-related policies.

4.4.3 Collaborate with University Communications to develop a common understanding of sustainability and explore the feasibility of a communications plan that increases the ability of the University to tells its sustainability story.


Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):
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Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:
Major theme

The institution's sustainability plan (upload):
Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:
Yes

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

University of Richmond Strategic Plan: Stewardship in a Changing World
The University of Richmond will be a leader in innovative practices that sustain our environmental, human, and financial resources.

The future health and vibrancy of the University — like all institutions of higher education — rest on our shared commitment to steward our vital resources: the environment on which we all depend, funds for our needs and aspirations, and the faculty, staff, student, and alumni relationships that form the core of our educational model. Responsible stewardship will enable us to better support our academic aspirations and will enrich our intellectual community. In response to emerging environmental and financial challenges, we will imagine and implement new approaches to our work that support the sustainability of our mission and serve as a model for other institutions.

Value of Responsible Stewardship in UR Strategic Plan: The University of Richmond values the trust that has been placed in it by generations of alumni, students, parents, and members of our community. The University is committed to the careful stewardship of institutional and environmental resources, and of the relationships that provide the foundation of our University community.


The institution’s definition of sustainability:

Sustainability is the creation of environmental, social, and economic conditions that foster the health and well-being of people and the natural world in this generation and generations to come. At a minimum, our practices reduce harm people and the environment; at best, our actions improve the well-being of both.


Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter Yes
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability No
SDG Accord No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) Yes
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

In addition to those above, we have signed onto the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge and We Are Still In Pledge.


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning efforts is available:
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.