Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.13
Liaison Trey McDonald
Submission Date March 24, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of San Diego
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Trey McDonald
Director of Sustainability and Energy Manager
"---" 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 in March 2008. The result was the “Outline of Sustainability Initiatives,” which encompassed academics, outreach and community relations, campus auxiliaries (dining and housing), facilities operations, campus life, and executive decisions. The Task Force used this outline to create a proposed two-year action plan highlighting 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. Starting in 2016, the Task Force turned its focus toward developing a comprehensive Climate Action Plan, which was completed and adopted by the university in November of that year. In 2017 and 2018, the Task Force met sporadically. In 2019, after a leadership change in the Sustainability Office, it was proposed to disband the Task Force and replace it with a permanent Sustainability Advisory Committee with a more direct line of communication to the upper-level administration. That proposal has been accepted and the new Committee membership has been approved.

The university also has a sustainability committee in its School of Leadership and Education Sciences.

Members of each committee, including affiliations and role:

Task Force Members in 2018:
Scott Anders, Director, Energy Policy Initiatives Center
Dawn Anderson, Director, Procurement Services
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
Trey McDonald, Climate & Energy Manager
Alison Sanchirico, 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

Pending Advisory Committee (2020):
Scott Anders, Director, Energy Policy Initiatives Center
Michel Boudrias, Associate Professor, Environmental and Ocean Sciences/ Director of Care for Our Common Home
Andre Hutchinson, AVP for Facilities Management
Katy Roig, CFO
Mark Peters, Director for Mission
Chris Nayve, AVP for Community Engagement
Cynthia Avery, AVP for Student Affairs
Alison Sanchirico, Sustainability Coordinator
Emily Young, Executive Director of the Non-Profit Institute
Sandra Ciallella, AVP for Development
Peter Marlow, AVP for University Communications
Student representatives for:
- Associated Students
- Sustainability Coalition
- Law School
And one other faculty representative TBD.

Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent 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. Currently, the Office has four full-time staff positions: Director, Sustainability Coordinator, Climate and Energy Manager (vacant at the time of this survey), HVAC Controls Technician; the Office also employs seven (7) student assistants (both graduate and undergraduate). This staff is tasked to plan and implement programs and practices to educate employees and students about sustainability and improve campus operations and engagement. This office also advises the Be Blue Go Green Student Group and the Associated Student Government Sustainability Chair.

Full-time equivalent of people employed in the sustainability office(s):

Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:

Name and title of each sustainability officer:
Trey McDonald, Director of Sustainability; Dr. Michel Boudrias, Director, Care for Our Common Home

Does the institution have a mechanism for broad sustainability coordination for the entire institution?:

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 on campus. The Office of Sustainability is led 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 over the previous three years:

CLIMATE ACTION PLAN: The Climate Action Plan was completed in Fall 2016 as part of the USD Envisioning 2024 Strategic Plan in the strategic pathway to Care for Our Common Home. In 2019, a preliminary implementation plan was drafted, and in early 2020 the university began implementation by engaging with an engineering team to develop an Energy Master Plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2035.

CLIMATE COMMITMENT: In October 2019, Dr. James T. Harris, President of USD, signed the Second Nature Climate Commitment, and selected 2035 as the target date for the university to achieve climate neutrality.

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 studies, programs and educational opportunities for the campus. The SDG&E Partnership is rooted in energy efficiency and conservation programs to reduce campus energy usage. Over the past 3 years, this partnership has led to a reduction of almost 9% in campus energy consumption (and >30% since FY2010).

2017 STARS GOLD RATING: Since the creation of the Director of Sustainability position in 2010, sustainability coordination has increased on campus, improving programming and infrastructure changes to reduce resource consumption and raise awareness of environmental and social issues. This is reflected in the Gold Rating designated to USD by the STARS program in 2017 (following on the Gold rating received in 2014).

PRINCETON REVIEW RANKS USD A TOP 50 GREEN COLLEGE: The University of San Diego ranked 24th nationally in the 2020 Princeton Review Green Honor Roll.

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 plays 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):

THIS POSITION IS CURRENTLY VACANT. 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 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):

THIS POSITION IS CURRENTLY VACANT. 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.

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability coordination is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Note that a new position, the Director for the Care for Our Common Home Strategic Pathway, was created in Sept. 2019.

The Sustainability Coordinator departed USD in December 2020. Due to a COVID-19 related hiring freeze, the position will not be filled until the next fiscal year.

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.