Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.23
Liaison Jim Walker
Submission Date June 14, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Texas at Austin
EN-1: Student Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Brianna Duran
CEC Coordinator; Sustainability Student Programs
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Number of students enrolled for credit (headcount):
51,331

Total number of students enrolled for credit that are served (i.e. directly targeted) by a student peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program (avoid double-counting to the extent feasible):
51,331

Percentage of students served by a peer-to-peer educator program:
100

Name of the student educators program:
University of Texas Campus Environmental Center (CEC)

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount):
51,331

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities:

The UT CEC is a sponsored student organization within the Office of Sustainability. A core objective of the CEC is 'educating the UT community about contemporary environmental issues.' Each semester the CEC hires 15-20 student leaders to conduct various types of outreach activities to different student groups on campus. Student leaders work on a variety of projects, some of which center around peer-to-peer outreach activities. Programs/initiatives include: (a) Green Greeks: Student leaders educate Greek life about living sustainably with a particular focus on recycling and composting. Includes monthly educational meetings for sustainability student representatives from many of the Greek houses. (b) Green Events: Student-led consultation service that educates other student organizations about how to host sustainable events. (c) Microfarm: Student-run urban farm and community garden with weekly workdays where students and student organizations learn about and participate in sustainable agriculture. (d) Education & Outreach: Student-led, campus-wide educational workshops and tabling educational initiatives (including during Earth Week, Campus Sustainability Week, and America Recycles Day), with a particular focus on Zero Waste. The CEC also engages with students using a weekly newsletter and Facebook to share green tips, articles, events/opportunities, and more.


A brief description of how the student educators are selected:

Student leaders are selected through an online application and interview process. Many students have volunteered with the CEC or held prior positions in the CEC, though some student leaders have not held previous positions on campus. Students are hired for minimum one-year terms and are hired for specific positions/projects rather than an umbrella sustainability internship. All student leaders are hourly employees of the university.

The UT-CEC leaders have established themselves as the go-to organization for collaboration with the administration and Student Government. One of the two co-directors is traditionally named as the environmental issues chairperson for Student Government, and both sit as the only undergraduate student representatives on the President's Sustainability Steering Committee. The CEC maintains a specific peer-to-peer outreach aspect as part of its tri-fold mission of collaboration, education, and transformation.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach:

The CEC provides introductory training for all incoming student leaders each semester primarily focused on their specific leadership role. The CEC also provides funding for students to attend national and regional sustainability conferences such as AASHE, SXSW Eco, and the Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability conference.


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination):

The CEC is funded by student fees and other money from fundraising. The institution funds a full-time advisor (through the Office of Sustainability) and also offers support from the Zero Waste Coordinator/team and Director of Sustainability. The organization itself is sponsored by the UT Office of Sustainability.


Name of the student educators program (2nd program):
Green Corps

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (2nd program):
51,331

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):

The DHFS Green Corps provides experiential educational opportunities for students to learn about food systems and sustainability, particularly through growing and preparing local produce. Green Corps students are responsible for running two on-campus organic gardens and assisting in DHFS sustainability projects. Green Corps student workers were involved in a DHFS plate-waste study, building a record-breaking cardboard fort to raise recycling awareness, and other UT projects. They were also responsible for planting and harvesting at the two DHFS gardens, and then preparing that produce to be used in UT dining facilities.

Green Corps mission: The DHFS Green Corps Program is a multifaceted program developed around 3 pillars: Grow, Serve, Learn. These pillars are enlisted in every single action we take on and every project we develop. It is through our experiences we grow our world view, serve our community, and learn new things every day.


A brief description of how the student educators are selected (2nd program):

Green Corps student workers are selected based on their eagerness to learn about environmental sustainability in general and gardening in particular. Some experience or demonstrated commitment to environmentalism is preferred but not mandatory. Green Corps student workers are also chosen based on their ability to complement team efforts on a diverse range of tasks.

As approved by URHA in 2005, each Residence Hall Council has an Eco-Rep position written into its bylaws. The position is appointed by the hall president in a manner of his/her choosing. While some halls are filling this position and conducting environmental education and outreach, others have not acted on the position. The Division of Housing and Food Service and the UT Campus Environmental Center are currently working together to make the Eco-Reps program more viable and active, based on this existing approved structure.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (2nd program):

A one-day orientation launched our first semester in operations, and Green Corps student workers are continually trained on gardening, large and small-scale topics in environmentalism, and UT specific sustainability endeavors. Monthly field trips to local farms and other places of interest also contribute to Green Corps training. These efforts are largely student-driven, as experiential learning is the primary goal.


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination) (2nd program):

Each Green Corps student is a paid student employee of the Division of Housing and Food Service for the University of Texas. The students are not only supported financially through their hourly earnings, but also in means of materials i.e. – uniforms, gardening tools, educational materials, and other items to help enrich their time as a Green Crops student. Students are also invited to attend certain conferences, workshops, or events where much of the costs are covered by the division.


Name of the student educators program (3rd program):
UT Resource Recovery Student Internship Program

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (3rd program):
51,331

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (3rd program):

The UT Austin Resource Recovery Internship Program was created to address the disconnect between the patchwork of student projects, classes, and initiatives focused on waste diversion while simultaneously more formally including these projects and initiatives within the strategy and focus of the Resource Recovery branch of Facilities Services. This program makes connections between operations and student life and promotes students to make a direct and tangible impact on their campus while developing leadership, interpersonal, and peer education skills in the process. The Outreach and Graphic Design teams collaborate to develop and implement fun and informative campaigns to impact student behavior.


A brief description of how the student educators are selected (3rd program):

Student educators are selected by competitive interview. Influencing characteristics include previous sustainability background (such as having previously worked for Resource Recovery), out-going personality/comfort speaking in-front of others, and enthusiasm for zero waste.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (3rd program):

Student educator training is focused around weekly meetings with Zero Waste Coordinators on campus zero waste and sustainability background, review of best practice material such as Fostering Sustainable Behavior, guided site visits and discussion, and hands-on involvement in building and food service waste audits. These activities familiarize the students with campus practices and influencing factors so that the students can comfortably represent Resource Recovery and our initiatives.


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination) (3rd program):

Students are advised and supervised by dedicated Resource Recovery staff. An annual student intern budget, as well as partnerships with campus opportunities providing class credit or scholarships requiring internships, support student time.


A brief description of all other student peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs, including the number of students served and how student educators are selected, trained, and supported by the institution:

Texas Athletics Sustainability Squad. As part of our "Bleed Orange, Live Green" campaign, Texas Athletics is committed to reach a zero waste goal by 2018. With their distinctive green shirts, the Sustainability Squad serves as the face of Athletics’ sustainability efforts to fans on game days. The Squad is composed of two volunteer groups-the Spirit Squad and Sort Squad-that are present at every home football game, as well as baseball and softball games. The Spirit Squad members educate fans about how to recycle and compost, explain the zero waste goal, and monitor the stadium’s recycling and compost bins. The Sort Squad sorts through waste generated throughout the game and ensures collection of compost and recycling. Student educators apply with resume and cover letter then go through a formal interview process. Once hired, we assign responsibilities based on student educators’ strengths and weaknesses. Student educators receive o two week training program to become familiar with the facility and its operation as well as multiple trainings regarding how and what to present to various groups (volunteers, staff, etc.). The program is funded by a Green Fee grant and Texas Athletics provides fulltime staff administrative support. Program serves nearly 700 people, primarily UT students.


Total number of hours student educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually (all programs):
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives 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.