Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.36
Liaison Marianella Franklin
Submission Date Jan. 10, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Marianella Franklin
Director of Sustainability
The Office For Sustainability
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Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:
Yes

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:
ENACTUS - A community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives. https://utrgv.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/enactusutrgv Environmental Awareness Club (EAC): The Environmental Awareness Club is a student organization at URGV, with a focus on protecting the environment as well as generating awareness on campus and in the community in cleaning up the earth, by promoting the 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), and engaging in awareness-raising activities. This club sponsors events and activities year-round with the university and community. https://www.facebook.com/EAC.RGV/ Society for Conservation Biology The SCB is an international professional organization dedicated to promoting the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity.The Society's membership comprises a wide range of people interested in the conservation and study of biological diversity. https://www.utrgv.edu/biology/news/student-organizations/conservation-biology/index.htm RGV Model United Nations Students on both campuses are welcome to take POLS 3394 Special Topics in Politics Model United Nations offered in the fall semesters. This course, which will be held on Fridays 10:30 AM – 12:40 PM at the Brownsville campus, will give students the opportunity to stimulate UN functions and debate major issues of the United Nations. This course will include current events, pressing international issues, the basics of international law and some of the protocol and procedures of diplomacy. Students who successfully complete the course will be eligible to attend the National Model United Nations conference in New York City. (Seven UTRGV students Participated in the 2019 National Model UN Conference in New York City During Mid-April.) https://www.utrgv.edu/political-science/undergraduate/student-organizations/index.htm

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:
Hub of Prosperity/Farmer’s Market-The UTRGV agroecology program and Edinburg First United Methodist Church have made a collaborative effort to provide fresh product through farming efforts dubbed as the Hub of Prosperity. Through the Hub of Prosperity, student farmers are able to provide fresh produce through organic practices, meaning no chemicals are added to the vegetables they grow. This space also allows the student-led organization to have a weekly farmer’s market for the entire community, in which patrons can either go in-person to pick and choose their produce or purchase it online for pickup. https://openfoodnetwork.net/hub-of-prosperity/shop#/about UTRGV Garden & Greenhouse-Being the first USDA certified organic garden in the state of Texas, the UTRGV Garden & Greenhouse was developed with the initiative to provide fellow students and faculty from the school of Agroecology access to the necessary resources needed to fulfill their learning and research needs. Students have an opportunity to apply their knowledge in an outdoor laboratory to explore ecology, biology, agriculture and sustainable food systems. https://www.utrgv.edu/agroecology/facilities/utrgv-garden-and-greenhouse/index.htm UTRGV C.R.A.W.F.I.S.H Garden- The project for Climate Resilient Agroecological Watershed-Food Integration System for Husbandry (C.R.A.W.F.I.S.H) is an effort to help eliminate hunger across the entire Rio Grande Valley. Established by Dr. Christopher Gabler of the School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences (SEEMS), the garden was created in the Brownsville campus and is made up of 12 garden plots, supported by PVC pipes and each contain an agricultural bed, containing fruits and vegetables, a suitable wetland, and a pond for aquaculture species, such as crawfish. https://rgvstormwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GABLER-.pdf UTRGV Pollinator Cantina- The Pollinator Garden, or Pollinator Cantina, is part of the UTRGV School of Biology and was founded with the Transforming Our World grant from the Office of the Provost in 2018 as part of the University's commitment to support sustainability efforts. Located in the the Brownsville campus, this garden was established under the mission to conserve bees, butterflies and other pollinators, such as butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds, and serve as a platform to support experiential learning and research projects for students as well as help emphasize the importance of protecting pollinators and educating the community of their essential purposes. https://www.utrgv.edu/pollinatorcantina/en-us/index.htm UTRGV Native Tree Nursery- The alarming decrease of Tamaulipan thornscrub which is essential for stabilizing carbon and climate health across the South Texas region led Dr. Christopher Gabler to develop the UTRGV Native Tree Nursery. This nursery is committed to plant over 100,000 seedlings of Tamaulipan thornscrub and to open the door for further research and discovery to support identification of more native species. https://www.utrgv.edu/newsroom/2020/07/15-utrgv-growing-100k-tree-seedlings-to-help-local-wildlife.htm

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
UTRGV Farmer´s Market- The farmer´s market at UTRGV comes together as a result of student efforts. As students are involved in harvesting, they participate both in the sourcing and selling of produce, as well as in the managing of profits, and social media platforms. https://www.instagram.com/utrgvfarmersmarket/?hl=en UTRGV Student Clinic/Proyecto Desarrollo Humano- The UTRGV student-run clinic at Proyecto Desarrollo Humano a non-profit organization and space established in the community of Penitas whose mission states: “By means of a holistic approach to health, education and social services, we aim to help our people develop human and spiritual potential, strengthen family bonds, build communities of peace, love, justice, and satisfy the needs of the community. We envision a community that is self-determined, healthy, self-sustaining, confident, proud and dignified,” allows UTRGV students to utilize their knowledge and gain experience as a medical practitioners but more importantly to understand how the healthcare system can be reevaluated in the face of the particular needs of communities. https://www.utrgv.edu/newsroom/2018/03/27-utrgv-school-of-medicine-celebrates-opening-of-student-run-clinic-at-proyecto-desarrollo-in-penitas.htm Campus Food Security Initiative (CFSI)- In April 17, 2020 the CFSI was launched to address food insecurity and foster healthy eating habits after a 2019 research study conducted by the Graduate Sustainability Fellows at UTRGV indicated that about 44% of students surveyed reported they experienced hunger on an ongoing basis. Since its inception in 2020, students, faculty, staff and community members have enjoyed baskets of fresh produce and delicious single-serving, plant-based meals without a fixed price tag attached to them. The unique advantage of CFSI is that it is a student-centered and student-driven initiative with unprecedented professional development opportunities for students hired to support CFSI activities. https://www.utrgv.edu/pewd/cfsi/cfsi-story/index.htm

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
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Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:
The Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS)- The DSS is a signature program under the leadership of Student Activities that aims to provide the university and surrounding community with world-class speakers and lecturers to expand their knowledge and understanding on various topics. Due to the pandemic the speakers were hosted virtually. On November 14th, 2020 news anchor Anderson Cooper spoke to the UTRGV student community about stories of resiliency surrounding the pandemic. He also touched on the topic of climate change. https://www.utrgv.edu/newsroom/2020/11/16-distinguished-speaker-series-anderson-cooper-spends-saturday-night-with-utrgv-community.htm Earth Fest- Prompted by Earth Day, Earth Fest is an annual event organized by UTRGV with a focus on sustainability. Despite being celebrated virtually, the 2021 Earth Fest event offered students multiple guest speaker events and webinars hosted with the Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability. https://www.utrgv.edu/sustainability/events/earth-fest/index.htm International Conference on Border Studies- Every year UTRGV partners with the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas to bring about the International Conference on Border Studies. Participants include scholars from both sides of the South Texas border and from around the world. The 2020 conference was postponed and rescheduled for October 2021 and planned around the theme of Everyday Borders. The conference aims to encourage working together across borders and developing lasting collaborative relationships to find solutions to some of the most important international economic, social, and ecological problems we face today. https://www.utrgv.edu/oge/research-and-resources/borderstudiesconf/index.htm

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:
FESTIBA- As one of UTRGV’s legacy signature programs, The Festival of International Books and Arts (FESTIBA) was established in 2006 to promote the importance of literacy and the cultural arts to students, parents, educators and community members throughout the Rio Grande Valley. With the theme of Building a Better World, FESTIBA 2020 promoted and inspired education for sustainable development, and showcased opportunities for UTRGV students and our community to contribute to their community’s literacy, health, and access to the creative arts in a way that will leave a lasting impact. https://www.utrgv.edu/festiba/_files/documents/2020/festiba-2020-impact-report-final.pdf Pulse Magazine Sustainability Fashion Show-As part of the Pulse Festival 2020-an event organized by the student-run annual publication Pulse Magazine-26 students participated in a fashion show titled ´Arti´, meaning ´decades´ in Danish. ´Decades´ meant to cover fashions from the 1960s to 2020 and invited students not only to model the clothing but to choose it themselves. They were encouraged to look through thrift stores and other second-hand closets and away from fast fashion pieces. https://www.utrgvrider.com/eco-friendly-fashion-show/ Virtual Earth Day 2020 -To celebrate Earth Day, the Environmental Awareness Club organized a community Art Share, a call to share creative works. Students and local residents submitted artworks of many forms portraying their connection with nature. The club received more than a hundred pieces of sculptures, paintings and poetry. https://myrgv.com/the-valley-morning-star/2020/04/25/students-celebrate-earth-day-virtually/

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:
UREC's Outdoor Adventures give students opportunities to participate in outdoor activities in order to foster friendships, instill confident outdoor skills, and promote an ethic of conservation and stewardship. Learn "Leave No Trace" principles from our University Recreation team throughout the year at their workshops! https://www.utrgv.edu/urec/things-to-do/outdoor-adventures/camping%20101/index.htm

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:
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Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:
ENACTUS- ENACTUS at UTRGV is committed to sustainable economic growth and therefore is a source of knowledge that teaches new life skills to its members and to the student community it engages with. https://utrgv.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/enactusutrgv Sustainability Student Leadership Program- As sustainability fellows learn how to communicate and share their findings in an informative and educational manner through this program supported by the Office of Professional Education and Workforce Development, UTRGV students get the opportunity to learn from them and incorporate the information into their lives. https://www.utrgv.edu/newsroom/2020/02/14-utrgv-launches-sustainability-student-leadership-program.htm UTRGV Agroecology Program-The Agroecology program at UTRGV combines student-centered research and community engagement to improve management of the ways we produce food, fuel and fiber. Its mission is to generate intellectual capital through engaged scholarship and learning, participatory action research, and inclusive outreach in ways that inform the development of healthy, equitable, resilient and economically sound food systems. The multiple projects and facilities serving the program welcomes all students offering them the opportunity to connect with nature and learn skills they can apply to their lives. The UTRGV Agroecology program serves as an educational resource for the student community, as well as for local farmers, schools and other community groups interested. https://www.utrgv.edu/agroecology/

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:
Graduate Assistantship Program-The Graduate College offers the Graduate Assistant Program, a campus service learning-initiative that provides talented UTRGV graduate students the opportunity to work closely with university staff. At the Office for Sustainability, students work 20 hours per week to help coordinate sustainability activities, engage in educational and community-based initiatives, and perform other tasks integral to the mission of the Office of Sustainability. Two graduate assistants are employed each semester. Sustainability Intern Program-The OFS welcomes undergraduates from all majors and backgrounds as sustainability interns. Under the direction of the Office of Sustainability, UTRGV students work 19 hours per week applying their experience and education to assist in designing and executing sustainability themed campaigns and events, representing the Office for Sustainability as well as assist in campus wide sustainability data collection efforts for the implementation of UTRGV sustainability goals. Office for Sustainability Office Assistant- Working 19 hours a week, office assistants are integral for the functioning of the OFS as their tasks may include greeting and providing information to visitors, aiding with basic administrative functions, etc. They may also be assigned to specific projects such as researching the activities happening in the community related to sustainability. https://www.utrgv.edu/sustainability/programs/index.htm

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
Yes

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):
I pledge to make sustainability a priority in my life. I understand that my actions, behaviors, and choices make an impact on the society, environment, and our economy. I pledge to make intentional choices that will benefit the quality of life for myself and advocate for choices that benefit the lives of others. I will take this pledge with confidence in my decision and will not take this commitment lightly. I pledge to promote sustainability and sustainable development as a necessity to maintain and grow the quality of my life, my education, my profession, and my experience at UTRGV, the Americas, and the World. https://www.utrgv.edu/sustainability/pledge/index.htm

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
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