Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.12
Liaison Amir Nadav
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of St. Thomas
EN-5: Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Amir Nadav
Assistant Director of Campus Sustainability
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
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Has the institution held a sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at students and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Has the institution held a sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at employees and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Name of the campaign:
Campus EcoChallenge

A brief description of the campaign:

In the spring of 2020, the Office of Sustainability Initiatives collaborated with Undergraduate Student Government, Staff Council, and Changemaking at St. Thomas to launch the university's first Campus EcoChallenge. Over 265 St. Thomas students and employees competed on seven different teams over a two-week period. Using the Campus EcoChallenge's website and app, participants tracked their actions in categories ranging from wellness to waste, food and energy. The university's student sustainability leaders and Minnesota GreenCorps member served as team captains and engaged the community with sustainability-themed prizes, social media communications, team communications, and daily featured challenges on different topics such as waste, energy, transportation and health.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign:

The collective engagement of students and employees in the challenge landed the University of St. Thomas in 3rd place for total points among over 140 other institutions on the EcoChallenge’s national leaderboard in the spring of 2020. Among the university's seven competing teams, the class of 2023 achieved first place with 8,783 points, faculty & staff reached second place with 8,106 points, and the class of 2021 reached third with 6,483 points. According to the Campus EcoChallenge dashboard, the cumulative impact of the university's participants during the two-week challenge included:
- a reduction of 3,166 lbs of CO2
- savings of 948 gallons of water
- preparation of 399 meatless or vegan meals
- diversion of 398 plastic bottles from the waste stream
- 3,568 minutes learning about sustainability and environmental justice
- 2842 minutes meditating or being mindful

Name of the campaign (2nd campaign):
Commute to Campus Challenge

A brief description of the campaign (2nd campaign):

In the spring of 2019, the University's Office of Off-Campus Student Life and the Office of Sustainability Initiatives partnered with a local non-profit organization, Move Minnesota, on a series of activities to challenge students to use sustainable modes of transportation to travel to and from campus. The Commute to Campus Challenge consisted of a trip-tracking survey, an educational transportation trivia event, a bike/walk/roll to campus event, and a local business passport program.

St. Thomas students living off-campus were invited to participate in a trip-tracking survey. This program involved an onboarding survey that gathered baseline information about students' transportation choices, and six trip tracking surveys where students recorded how they traveled to campus each week. Each week students received a fun fact about sustainable transportation after completing their survey. The weekly emails were also used to advertise other sustainable transportation events such as Bike/Walk/Roll to Campus Day and the Commute to Campus Challenge Business Passport.

The Bike/Walk/Roll to Campus event encouraged students and employees to use active transportation to reach campus and learn more about transportation options. Employees from a local bike shop provided free bike maintenance checks. Attendees picked up bike and transit maps and a local business passport. Attendees also learned about local resources and upcoming events, practiced loading a bike onto a bus-mounted bike rack, and won prizes such as bike lights and bike tire patching kits.

The challenge also provided students with a passport containing discounts to five local businesses that are accessible from campus by bus, bike, or within walking distance. Students could redeem the discount coupons by using a sustainable mode of transportation to reach the local business.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign (2nd campaign):

Approximately 35 individuals participated in the six-week trip tracking program, providing information about the transportation habits and commute mode choices of students who live off-campus. Approximately 115 individuals attended the Bike/Walk/Roll to Campus event, and approximately 200 local business passports were distributed to students.

A brief description of other sustainability-related outreach campaigns:

In the spring of 2019, the Office of Sustainability Initiatives and the Center for the Common Good partnered on a "give up your car for lent" campaign to build awareness about the importance of sustainable ways of commuting to campus.

Additional documentation to support 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.