|Submission Date||March 6, 2020|
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
EN-3: Student Life
|2.00 / 2.00||
Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:
Student Environmental Initiatives Committee: The mission of this committee is to identify, research, and recommend uses of funds supporting environmental stewardship and sustainability as well as clean and renewable energy technologies.
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?:
A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:
The VOLunteer Supported Agriculture (VSA) program is a Vol-centric Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and experiential Organic Farm Internship for UTK undergraduate students. The VSA works to connect community members with their farmers and inspire the next generation of agricultural ambassadors by offering shares of our harvest for purchase. Interested parties can become members by paying an unfront fee that will help buy seeds and supplies, and provide stipends for our student interns who are participating in the unique, experiential, organic production internship component of our program. In return, members receive weekly 1/2 bushel box of fresh, locally grown, organic produce for 20 weeks! Box contents will vary from week to week and feature a variety of seasonal produce.
University of Tennessee's Grow Lab: As a living laboratory, the Grow Lab promotes experiential and service learning, demonstrates ecological food production methods, and encourages community.The UTK Grow Lab will demonstrate ecological food production methods, address local food insecurity, contribute to a sense of place, and encourage interdisciplinary partnerships.
At the Grow Lab, half of the plots will be designated for specific academic courses, research, and university groups. The remaining plots will be maintained by staff and volunteers with produce donated to hunger-alleviating causes.
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)?:
A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
The UT Outdoor Program hosts the Bike Shop, an on-campus workshop were students, faculty and staff can fix their bikes. Students willing to work on their own bikes can do so for free using the tools at the shop, or they can bring their bikes by to learn how to fix them. Students may also drop off their bikes to be fixed by student mechanics for a fee of $10/hour, plus the cost of parts. The shop also sells individual parts.
The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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?:
A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
The Student Environmental Initiatives Fee, or Green Fee, is a student facilities fee that aims to raise funding for green power and campus sustainability initiatives. The Green Fee was started in 2005 by student vote during SGA elections and consists of a $10/$35 fees per semester for in-state/out-of-state students. The Green Revolving Fund within the Green Fee provides monetary investments for sustainability initiatives on campus. These funds are administered by the Student Environmental Initiatives Committee. Voting student members participate monthly in funding discussions before voting on proposals. Previous projects funded by the Green Revolving Fund have included green power purchases, SMC lighting system upgrades, and membership to AASHE. Additionally, the Student Environmental Initiatives Committee has created a dedicated fund for FY 16-18 within the Green Fee to provide students an opportunity to research, design, and monitor sustainability-related projects. This fund will be dedicated to student design/research projects across all academic departments. This fund serves to provide a campus-wide funding opportunity that is directed toward student-led projects and experiential learning. Projects should be completed within one semester, with two-semester projects needing approval from a faculty advisor.
The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:
The Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy hosts the Energy & Environmental Forum. The E&E Forum reaches out to the academic community to share their research findings from a broad set of national and international academic departments, researchers, and students with a common interest in environmental and energy issues. An interdisciplinary committee of UT faculty invites four to six speakers each semester from fields such as ecology, economics, urban planning, law, atmospheric chemistry and sociology to present on occasional Thursdays from 1-2:30 pm in the Baker Center’s Toyota Auditorium.
--Students in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program at UT are required to attend a certain amount of seminars throughout the semester, so the program hosts the EEB Seminar Series, featuring academics from universities around the world to discuss their research and supplement the curriculum. While not all of the forums are environmentally-focused, the majority are.
--Started in 1933, the UT Science Forum is one of the oldest UT organizations. It focuses on sharing the latest scientific research with the public – giving opportunity to students, UT professors, and the general public to learn about cutting-edge research at UT, ORNL, and other local facilities. This event takes place every Friday at noon in the Thompson-Boling Arena Café throughout the academic year.
The Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, led by students in the UT Law School brought together hundreds of eco-minded and socially conscious activists, attorneys, students, scientists, and citizens in the interest of achieving environmental and social justice throughout Appalachia and the surrounding areas. The conferences feature a series of workshops with the goal of exchanging information, sharing skills, and fostering collaboration between grassroots organizations, the bar, and future lawyers and policy-makers. These workshops addressed the region’s most pressing ecological problems, as well as the underlying laws, policies, and institutional dynamics that have enhanced these issues.
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?:
A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:
Rhythm and Blooms is a music festival on campus to celebrate spring in East Tennessee.
"Unsustainable: a planet in crisis" is an art exhibit hosted by the Ewing Gallery in the School of Art in January and February 2020. It was a group exhibition featuring artwork ranging in material, discipline, and execution that addresses the theme of planetary crises – climate change, the rise of disease and superbugs, world conflict and national instability, plastics in the ocean, gun violence, pollution of the waterways from mining, air pollution from use of fossil fuels, the opioid crisis, and species extinction.
The Clarence Brown Theater put on a play called the Madwoman of Chaillot in April and May of 2019. In this play "In this comedy, a group of corrupt oil men want to drill right under the streets of Paris. But Countess Aurelia and her band of followers are having none of it!" The theater highlighted the environmental themes in the script by using almost entirely recycled set pieces for the play's performance. They also partnered with the Office of Sustainability to donate set pieces at the end of the show's run and had Office of Sustainability staff table during the performances to educate theater-goers on sustainability on campus. The production was marketed to students through the student newspaper and radio station.
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?:
A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:
The University of Tennessee Outdoor Program (UTOP) seeks to provide the campus community with outdoor recreation opportunities. UTOP programs emphasize environmental stewardship, including Leave No Trace principles. While UTOP is not student governed, students are given the opportunity to lead some programs and trips.
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)?:
A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:
The 2020 spring semester was a theme semester in the College of Arts and Sciences named "Apocalypse 2020". One of the central themes of the semester is climate change.
Some of the events and lectures hosted in conjunction with this themed semester are as follows:
Unsustainable – A Planet in Crisis
January 9 – February 16
Featured artist talk by Pam Langobardi
January 23, 7:30 PM
Art + Architecture Building, Room 109
Urban Narrative and Climate Change
Ursula Heise, Co-founder of the Lab for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
January 14, 3:30 PM
Lindsay Young Auditorium, Hodges Library
Everyday Apocalypse: The Poetry of Climate Change in the Late Middle Ages
Shannon Gayk, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Medieval Studies Institute at Indiana University Bloomington
January 23, 3:30 PM
1210 McClung Tower
Climate Change: The Inside Scoop
LaToya Myles and John Kochendorfer, atmospheric scientists with NOAA
March 25, 6 PM
Strong Hall, Room B001
Some of the courses offered in conjunction with this themed semester are as follows:
GEOL 490 (Section 3): Apocalypse & Mass Extinctions: Past, Present & Future
GEOL 456: Global Climate Change
GEOG 204: Understanding Climate Change
GEOG/GEOL 206S: Sustainability: Reducing our impact on planet Earth
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?:
A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:
Honors: Global Awareness: The mission of the Honors Global Awareness (HGA) Living and Learning Community is to develop a community of scholars devoted to studying different environments, peoples, and cultures. By exposing students to different ways of life, the HGA LLC helps students better understand the world and their place within it.
The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:
The Office of Sustainability has opportunities for regular and work study student positions as well as unpaid internships for experience or class credit. The Office of Sustainability student workers assist in outreach and education(Speciat Event/Catering Outreach, Fraternity and Sorority Outreach, Office Outreach, Compost Testing, Event Assistant and Photographer, Administrative Assistant), program development, data collection, or in labor positions (Collection and Forklift Operator, Recycling Request Specialist, Universal Waste Processing). All of these positions contribute to enhancing the following sustainability goals on campus: -Reduce air, water, and land pollution from campus operations - Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of nonrenewable resources -Promote recycling and conservation practices among the UT community - Protect and enhance the beauty of campus grounds and facilities - Demonstrate the university's commitment to environmental stewardship.
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?:
A brief description of the graduation pledges:
The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:
The University of Tennessee offers extensive, hands-on experience that prepares students for their line of work before graduation. This assists in the student's knowledge and discipline of the work-force and enabling a swift transition from student to full-time employee. The University provides a website listing the ways in which to get hands-on work experience while also being a student for each college department. Co-Ops are often posted through Handshake and present opportunities are Career/Job Fairs.
The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.