Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.94
Liaison John Alejandro
Submission Date Oct. 13, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of San Diego
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Michael Catanzaro
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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:

A Sustainability Task Force was charged to study the status of sustainability at USD, research best practices at other universities, and develop a strategic plan March 2008. The result was the “Outline of Sustainability Initiatives,” which encompassed academics; outreach and community relations; auxiliaries; facilities operations; campus life; and executive decisions. The Task Force distilled this extensive outline into a proposed two-year action plan that highlighted the initiatives in each category that task force members considered to be most timely, important, or feasible. The Task Force specifically noted that implementing the action plan would require the guidance of a full-time director with sufficient authority and resources to take action. The university joined AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education), participated in both Focus the Nation and Earth Week, launched a newsletter, and began audits of energy and water use. Since 2010, the Sustainability Task Force has met regularly to provide input on the activities and goals of the Office of Sustainability.

Since the beginning of 2016 the committee has been working on a comprehensive Climate Action Plan and in 2017 will turn its attention towards updating the strategic plan for sustainability on campus.

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

Scott Anders, Director, Energy Policy Initiatives Center
Dawn Anderson, Director, Procurement Services and Print Shop
Michel Boudrias, Associate Professor, Environmental and Ocean Sciences
Michael Catanzaro, Director of Sustainability
Janet Courtney-Smith, Assistant Vice-President for Budget and Treasury
Laura Engeman, Climate Collaborative Coordinator
Thomas Herrinton, Vice Provost, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
David Horber, Education & Outreach Graduate Assistant, Office of Sustainability
Michael Lovette-Colyer, Assistant Vice President for University Ministry
Andre Mallie, Assistant Vice President, Auxiliary Services
Peter Marlow, Associate Vice President, University Communications
Allison McCall, Class of 2019
Paula Morreale, Sustainability Coordinator
Chris Navye Assistant Provost for Community Engagement
Melissa Plaskonos, Assistant Vice President, Facilities Management
Emma Rojas-Liseski, Assistant Director, Parking Services
Ky Snyder, Vice President, University Operations
Mike Williams, Director, Changemaker Hub and Associate Professor, Political Science and International Relations
Dan Yourg, Associate Director of Athletics for Business
Greg Zackowski, Senior Assistant Director, Recreation Facilities and Sport Clubs

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:

The Office of Sustainability was formed in Fall 2009, stemming from the first cycle of Strategic Initiatives proposed by President Mary Lyons to make our campus more green and eco-friendly. The Sustainability Task Force first met in November 2007, charged to “inventory educational, research operations, facilities initiatives, and service learning experiences currently in place at USD that support sustainability and/or climate change programs; survey best practices at other universities; and develop a strategic plan by March 2008 that will encompass the elements of education, research, service, and operations.”

The Office of Sustainability currently has nine full-time staff members: Director, Sustainability Coordinator, Manager of the San Diego Climate Collaborative, Climate and Energy Manager, HVAC Controls Technician, and an Administrative Assistant. This staff is designated to plan and implement sustainable practices across campus as well as apply innovative applications to improve sustainability. The Climate Collaborative Manager serves the region and helps address Climate impacts for local governments. This office also helps the Be Blue Go Green Team on campus. This student group educates the USD and local community regarding various ways to be sustainable in your everyday life. The Office also employs two Graduate Assistants and approximately 8 interns per semester. Finally, the Office also manages the Electronics Recycling Center that collects unwanted electronic items from the San Diego Community. The Center has a full-time supervisor and two full-time assistant supervisors as well as 2 graduate student workers and approximately 10 undergraduate students.

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:
Michael Catanzaro

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 of San Diego Office of Sustainability is the primary institution-wide coordinating body regarding sustainability and environmentally positive changes on campus. The Office of Sustainability is lead by the Director of Sustainability who oversees environmental mitigation and adaptation strategies in infrastructure as well as focusing on the social and economic impacts of a comprehensive campus policy. The following list describes the activities and substantive accomplishments of the Director of Sustainability in the previous three years:

CLIMATE ACTION PLAN: The Climate Action Plan, spearheaded by the Director of Sustainability, was created and approved in Fall 2016 as part of the USD Envisioning 2024 strategic plan in the strategic pathway to Care for Our Common Home. The Climate Action Plan takes inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) at USD for the years 2010 through 2015; considers projected emissions based on our environmental footprint and student enrollment through the year 2035 (as reflected in our new Campus Master Plan); and outlines how the university will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in six major categories: Energy (electricity, natural gas, and renewables and clean energy), Commuting (student and employee), Air Travel (education and business), Zero Waste (diversion), Fleet (fuel), and Water.

SDG&E PARTNERSHIPS: The Director of Sustainability works closely with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to bring grant funding to USD to fund energy efficiency projects for the campus. The SDG&E Partnerships serve to create programs and infrastructure on campus to reduce campus energy usage.

2014 STARS GOLD RATING: Since the creation of the Director of Sustainability position in 2010, sustainability coordination and environmental consciousness has drastically improved on campus, increasing programming and infrastructure changes. This is reflected in the Gold Rating designated to USD by the STARS program in 2014.

SIERRA CLUB RANKS USD 14th MOST SUSTAINABLE CAMPUS: The University of San Diego ranked 14th nationally in the 2014 “Cool Schools” list of the greenest colleges and universities released by Sierra magazine. USD improved 65 positions from its 2013 ranking of 79. USD was the highest-ranked school in San Diego County for its efforts to protect the environment, address climate issues and encourage environmental responsibility.

ENERGY: Energy efficiency is at the heart of sustainability efforts by the Office and Director of Sustainability at the University of San Diego. Since 2010, USD has partnered with our local utility provider, San Diego Gas & Electric. This partnership provides funding for the Office of Sustainability and access to regional energy programs that highlight opportunities for energy efficiency as well as access to program incentives to make projects financially viable. This has led to USD making significant investments in energy conservation, leading to verified reductions in energy consumption of more than 10 million kilowatt hours (kWh) annually and resulting in a 20% reduction of the university’s total energy consumption. Additionally, USD has more than 5,000 solar panels across 11 buildings on campus that provide more than 7% of the university’s energy needs.

WATER: The University of San Diego has reduced its annual water consumption by more than 38 million gallons since 2006. In 2016, the campus had its lowest water usage in more than 25 years. Facilities continues to replace ornamental grass with drought-friendly material to reduce our water consumption. USD’s use of a weather-based irrigation system utilizes wireless technology to allow sprinklers to automatically adjust to weather, reducing over-watering and allowing us to be responsive to dynamic weather conditions. Retrofits such as low- flow aerators on faucets, water efficient toilets, and low-flow shower-heads have been implemented throughout campus buildings to help realize these savings.

WASTE DIVERSION: The University of San Diego promotes a Zero Waste goal for the campus by focusing on various campus initiatives. USD has incorporated single-stream recycling across campus to make recycling easier. To help divert waste from paper cups, Dining Services promotes their Sustain-A-Bottle, a reusable water bottle for refills. Dining areas contain pre-consumer composting sections, while community composting takes place at USD’s Crossroads Garden and SOLES. Throughout the school-year, USD promotes and hosts various Zero Waste programming that educates the community on mindful consumption.

ELECTRONICS RECYCLING CENTER: The University of San Diego pursued a creative solution to the electronic waste problem by opening its own Electronics Recycling Center (ERC) to serve both the campus and the San Diego community in 2011. It was the first electronic waste collection center on a college campus and the first full-time collection center in San Diego. Working directly with certified third-party recyclers, the ERC responsibly resells or recycles all of its collected e-waste. Serving as an innovative model of social entrepreneurship, the ERC is self-funded and provides an environmental benefit to the community while keeping hazardous materials out of the landfill. On-campus, the ERC serves to educate students about the importance of proper recycling, integrates academic involvement with hands-on experiences, and creates employment opportunities for students. Off-campus, the ERC serves as a community resource for electronic recycling through free donations and pick-ups, provides education to regional schools, hosts local e-waste collection drives, and partners with local businesses to recycle old electronics. Since opening, the ERC has collected and diverted more than 2.7 million pounds of electronics from the San Diego region. The ERC was the recipient of the 2014 AASHE Best Case Study Award and received the Environmental Excellence Award from the Industrial Environmental Association in 2015.

EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: Education and outreach is essential to sustainability at the University of San Diego. In keeping with the USD mission, campus engagement in environmental awareness is a main objective for the Office of Sustainability. As such, the Office of Sustainability has created a robust student internship program that provides outreach opportunities to engage the campus and local San Diego community in embracing a sustainable lifestyle and environmental stewardship. Through programming, events, and academic involvement, the Office of Sustainability allows students to learn important sustainability concepts, behaviors, and habits. Throughout the 2015 school year, the Office of Sustainability participated in more than 45 events reaching approximately 4,000 students.

Job title of the sustainability officer position:
Director of Sustainability

Job description for the sustainability officer position:

Job description for the sustainability officer position:

GENERAL PURPOSE: The Director of Sustainability oversees the management, implementation, and development of a comprehensive sustainability program with the mission to minimize USD’s environmental footprint, supports new initiatives for sustainable development, supports and promotes program integration and collaboration with USD’s academic, research and educational programs, and realizes meaningful operational cost savings through efficiency programs. This position plans, directs, manages, administers and evaluates the university energy management and utility budget. The Director is responsible for the development of a strategic long-range plan for sustainability for the University of San Diego that focuses on the triple bottom line, i.e. the environmental, financial and social impacts. Program initiatives span multiple program areas including energy, water, waste and transportation and reach multiple audiences.

SUPERVISION RECEIVED: The Director reports to the AVP for facilities, with considerable latitude and independence of action. This reporting structure demonstrates the high priority sustainability will play in USD’s strategic initiative going forward.   

SUPERVISION EXERCISED: The Director supervises the Sustainability Coordinator, Climate and Energy Manager, and Manager of the San Diego Climate Collaborative; additionally, this position oversees the Electronics Recycling Center (ERC), the HVAC Controls Technician and student workers.

Job title of the sustainability officer position (2nd position):
Climate and Energy Manager

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

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

The Climate and Energy Manager develops, manages and continuously improves processes and implements projects that lead to energy savings and reduced Greenhouse Gas emissions for the University of San Diego (USD). This includes tracking of utilities, the creation and continuous revision of institutional standards and policies related to climate and energy management, and the ongoing identification and implementation of projects to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption on campus. The Climate and Energy Manager also develops and maintains a set of key performance indicators for utility consumption to assess progress toward efficiency and renewable energy goals.

The Climate and Energy Manager coordinates USD’s energy efficiency programs, including: energy conservation and efficiency; demand management; building performance, benchmarking and retro-commissioning; consumption and cost forecasting for utility purchasing. This position works in cooperation with various departments of Facilities Management.

The Climate and Energy Manager also helps inventory USD’s progress in its climate initiatives including annual GHG reporting and other sustainability reporting including the STARS ratings from AASHE.

The Climate and Energy Manager is supervised by the Director of Sustainability.

The Climate and Energy Manager supervises the Utilities Graduate Assistant, works closely with the HVAC Automation Controls Specialist to develop, track and report on Demand Response efforts, and has opportunities to supervise student interns as needed.

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

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

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

Reporting to the Director of Sustainability, this role coordinates the day-to-day operations for the Office of Sustainability. This includes administrative supervision and goal implementation with the SDG&E Energy Efficiency Partnership, supervision of the Electronics Recycling Center, budget and financial management, leading the creation and development of sustainability related programs, student supervision and guidance, and various campus responsibilities as it pertains to sustainability issues. This role is also responsible for on-campus partnership development and various committee meetings to ensure a strong sustainability presence throughout the facets of the campus. The Sustainability Coordinator works proactively to resolve potential sustainability issues presented by students, faculty and staff. Additionally, the position researches and applies for applicable grant opportunities. The Sustainability Coordinator is authorized to plan special events on campus and in the community, create educational programming, and oversee development of marketing materials. This position also attends various professional development and sustainability related conferences and works directly with the Director of Sustainability on SDG&E partnership development and management as it relates to sustainability growth at the university.

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.