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

STARS v2.2

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Marianella Franklin
Director of Sustainability
The Office For Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:
UTRGV, through the collaboration of the Sustainability Council, various departments and executive leadership, created a Sustainability Campus Action Plan (SCAP) which target various objectives throughout academics, research, governance, purchasing, engagement, operations, and planning for the institution.

You can find the UTRGV SCAP Here https://www.utrgv.edu/sustainability/_files/documents/reports/campus-sustainability-report/scap-report-23-2.pdf

UTRGV has led immeasurable charge in its objectives to meet quality education and reduce inequalities through investment. UTRGV SCAP Education goal within co-curricular learning seeks to establish partnerships with outside entities for innovative educational opportunities. UTRGV has developed a myriad of pipelines to ensure that marginalized communities have access to a plethora of traditional and healthcare related programs and job securement.





In correspondence with the SCAP (page 11) sustainability learning and academic objectives, UTRGV 5. Offers ongoing faculty development opportunities that assist faculty from a wide range of disciplines in integrating sustainability into courses, 6. Encourages departments to add a sustainability component in the respective departmental curriculum, 7. Develops a faculty development program that encourages faculty to infuse sustainability into their teaching, UTRGV, through the International Center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum (IC-SAC) program, has trained over faculty since 2013 as an objective to increase courses being taught with sustainability inclusion. Because of this program, over 8,000 students have been students enriched and influenced by sustainability contents and solution-based applications within the classroom.


The Sustainability Faculty Excellence Award recognizes, celebrates, and honors the exceptional accomplishments of UTRGV faculty that exhibit groundbreaking teaching, research, and service within sustainable development. This Program, co-sponsored by various divisions/units across the university, provides opportunities to share and celebrate these accomplishments widely, and promote a culture of excellence. Faculty from 7 diverse academic departments have been featured as awardees, representing the transdisciplinary efforts in sustainability at UTRGV.


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:
From the Sustainability Campus Action Plan (SCAP), found here:https://www.utrgv.edu/sustainability/_files/documents/reports/campus-sustainability-report/scap-report-23-2.pdf

UTRGV, through its partnership with the Office of Community Engagement, Global Engagement, University Athletics, Office for Sustainability, and various internal and external partners, matriculates new interested parties with vested social, equity, economic, and environmental interests.

Community outreach is the vehicle by which a university connects and collaborates with the surrounding areas, identifies community needs, and works to meet and resolve those needs. The University facilitates resources and services to our community via the Department of Community Engagement (CE), which operates in four areas: Community, Economic, Rural and Business Development. Community outreach is an integral part of any sustainability educational program, and enhances the relationship between UTRGV and the Rio South Texas region.
Outreach is one of the key mechanisms for staying attuned to community needs. Thus, community outreach is an integral part of any sustainability educational program and enhances the relationship between UTRGV and South Texas.

Experiences are established with 1000’s of incoming and current students, staff, and faculty through official campus wide events, trainings and luncheons, Campus Sustainability Day, through various social media and podcasting platforms, Sustainability Adelante Film Screening, and many more.


As shared within the SCAP (page 11), the community engagement goals are as follows:

Goal 1. Strengthen integration of sustainability message into established UTRGV community-based outreach events

Strategies:1. Implement sustainability outreach educational pro¬grams, starting with 10%and leading up to 90%.
2. Track and record data on sustainability efforts of students targeted in outreach programs.
3. Increase the number of community outreach programs infusing sustainability by 20%.
4. Increase and strengthen community and educational outreach programs and opportunities, including student internships and service learning.

Goal II:
Increase UTRGV’s profile as a community leader in sustainability through establishment of outreach event on campus promoting sustainability.

1. Establish agenda and execute UTRGV’s Earth Fest celebration, Collaborate with multidisciplinary partners, Viva el Mundo,(Environmental Day) annu¬ally
2. Track and aggregate engagement efforts throughout various departments in an annual sustainability report.
3. Increase student participation in community-based internships and service-learning opportunities.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:
The Sustainability Campus Action Plan (SCAP)’s primary focus within operations covers eight different committees: Energy Conservation; Facilities; Transportation; Dining Services; Purchasing; Materials, Recycling & Waste; Landscape & Grounds; and Information Technology. Each of these plays a vital role in helping make UTRGV.

The category of operations includes eight different committees: Energy Conservation; Facilities; Transportation; Dining Services; Purchasing; Materials, Recycling & Waste; Landscape & Grounds; and Information Technology. Each of these plays a vital role in helping make UTRGV a sustainable campus.

The goal and strategies within each category of operations will be listed below:
Energy Conservation
University buildings account for almost 60% of all energy consumption through heating, cooling, and lighting systems. Buildings can become more efficient by improving the building envelope, adding insulation to walls and roofs, changing lighting, upgrading HVAC systems, and retro commissioning existing heating and cooling systems. To plan for future development of the campus and support the proposed facilities master plan, we recommend the development and implementation of an integrated energy master plan that focuses on reducing energy waste, maximizing the practical use of renewable energy, exploring the use of biofuels, and optimizing the efficiency of UTRGVs energy production and distribution facilities. Upon completion of the energy audit (GHG inventory), UTRGV can implement project identified in the energy master plan to strategically reduce GHG emission.

Goal I:
Reduce energy use from current 2010 levels by 20%
with the following strategies.
• Install submeters in order to analyze and identify campus facilities with the highest electrical energy consumption per square foot and make recommendations to reduce the energy consumption.
• Identify and promote programs on ways to reduce energy in the work place; i.e., power down computer and monitor when not in use, print on both sides of paper, use power strips to operate appliances and turn off when not in use (phantom power), use alternative transportation when traveling on campus, turn off lights when not using a room.
• Reduce demand for heating and cooling by improving building envelopes.
• Reduce losses in heating and cooling distribution system piping via leak detection and investment in regular inspection, maintenance, and insulation.
• Maximize efficiency of UTRGV’s thermal energy plant.
• Develop renewable energy sources for select locations based on prudent and cost-effective application of technology such as solar water heating for new and renovated residential facilities, as well as photovoltaic and wind-generated power technologies.
• Strategies:
• Support designs that are durable, long lasting, and easy to disassemble for material reuse.
• Provide facility electrical usage feedback and education to all campus users.
• Consolidate classroom usage to the most energy-efficient buildings that meet course requirements during low usage periods.
• Permanently reduce light levels in hallways/ corridors of all building by as much as 20%.

• Collaborate with scheduling and other divisions for more effective utilization of facilities.
• Review, verify, and update campus audit data (Electrical and natural gas consumption).
• Collaborate with Purchasing to specify LED/CFLs for lighting use.
• Collaborate with Purchasing to specify energy- efficient appliances and items such as Energy Star rated appliances.
• Incorporate strategies for maximizing the efficiency of UTRGV’s thermal energy plant to accommodate new campus development.

Goal II: Minimize the growth of future energy needs by utilizing sustainable buildings in new construction, renovation, and maintenance.
• Recommend that all new buildings to follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines.
• Specify all new buildings to be built to meet or exceed energy code standards.
• Incorporate all new UTRGV buildings into the Thermal Energy Plant’s energy management system.
• Evaluate project renovations and new building constructions items such as energy- efficient lighting systems, and energy-efficient cooling and heating systems.
• Include energy efficient methods in replacement/ maintenance policies and procedures (i.e., energy
• efficient windows, green roofs, convert/replace energy inefficient facility HVAC systems, insulation).
• Develop and use renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, for alternative energy needs to power buildings, machinery, vehicles. (Could be as simple as an on-demand water heater to solar powered water heater.)

Goal III: Create a 50% carbon neutral campus by 2030 with the following strategies and timeline.
• Identify, assess, and incorporate biomass, biofuels, solar power and carbon capture/sequestration on campus while purchasing wind power or other renewable energy credits (REC’s) from distant locations.
• Move toward carbon neutrality by reducing the GHG emission rate at the following schedule:
o 10% in five years, with major conservation,
• supplemented by REC’s.
o 20% in 10 years, using all technologies, but only

features in new and renovation projects, all new construction and renovation of existing buildings will become high performance facilities that reduce energy consumption, enhance occupant comfort, and preserve the rich heritage of UTRGV. Through the establishment of guidelines for maintaining the character of campus buildings, in tandem with ensuring that historic buildings are safe, functional, and energy efficient, UTRGV can pro¬mote sustainability awareness. Our objective at UTRGV is to utilize energy-efficient and sustainable design standards on all new construction and applicable renovation projects and strive to meet or exceed a LEED silver level of sustain¬ability.
Goals I & II:
1. Integrate the Facilities section of the Sustainability Campus Action Plan with the Campus Master Plan. This goal will be measured by the Master Plan Update (CMP).
2. Apply sustainable measures by following LEED guidelines to all new construction as well as renovation, remodeling, and infrastructure improvement projects.


• Install utility metering for electricity, water, and chill water on each project, adhering to the energy-efficient design and construction principles of ASHRAE 90.1 as established by the SECO will apply, as a minimum. maxim: “You cannot manage what you do not measure.”
• Ensure project budgets include necessary resources and budget needed to integrate sustainability requirements as established by the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO).
• Make life cycle cost analysis standard practice, recognizing the importance of long-term operations, maintenance, and total cost of ownership of facilities.
• Utilize life cycle analysis in materials and equipment selection for all projects.
• Utilize energy efficient and sustainable design standards on all new construction projects, meeting or exceeding LEED Silver (or similar) guidelines.
• Implement sustainable measures and equipment as appropriate.

Goal III: Reduce construction waste via collaboration and open communication with entities involved in project.
• Request data on construction waste from individual or entity responsible.
• Salvage, recycle, and reuse materials and equipment as appropriate to support goal.

Goal IV: Coordinate Facilities, Planning & Construction sustainable practices with other related local and regional entities and departments. This goal will be measured annually or biannually, through documentation of procedures.
• Conduct coordination meetings with Maintenance & Operations, Environmental Health & Safety, and UTPA Police Department.
• Prepare “Lesson Learned” document, which will discuss successes and failures in our sustainability efforts.
• Develop and maintain sufficient outreach efforts to educate community on sustainability Lessons Learned.
• Participate in the performance contract audit to acquire and use sufficient energy data to make Facilities sustainable efforts, planning, and decision making understandable to community. Use Energy Utilization Index (EUI) as metric to
• gauge reductions in GHG and gains in energy efficiency. The EUI is the amount of energy consumed per square foot per year in a building measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). An EUI baseline will be established for each building and building type at UTRGV.

Transportation (PAGE 21)
The UTRGV campus, while beautiful and pedestrian friendly, will fail as a model of sustainability if students and employees continue to reach it by vehicle every day. A sustain¬able transportation policy should support compact growth and multiuse development, where walking, cycling, and bussing are more convenient and practical. Transportation also provides a significant opportunity to build stronger links with our neighboring cities, which can play a major role by providing public transportation and improving the infra¬structure and traffic enforcement that enable and encourage pedestrian and bicycling options. The objective is to create a comprehensive Campus Transportation Plan to balance the needs of all commuters to campus reducing trips to and from campus through incentives and improvements in sustainable alternatives.

Goal I: Create pedestrian friendly campuses, measurable by completion of the strategies listed below.
• Explore options for safe and attractive hike and bike trails.
• Plant trees or install shaded paths.
• Attractive, integrated bike racks.
• Coordinate with Facilities Planning for Campus Wide Master Plan updates to include new pedestrian walkways, shaded pocket parks, shuttle routes, shuttle drop-off and pick-up sites, hike and bike trails, bicycle stations, fuel efficient/ compact vehicle spaces, car pooling spaces, M&O / UTPD / FP&C / DEHS / Fire Department spaces and restricted inner campus pathways.

Goal II: Increase transportation options to and from campuses by promoting educational programs through partnerships with cities.
• Collaborate with the City of Edinburg on a traffic assessment to review traffic conditions while
• strategically planning alternative transportation routes; i.e., Rio Metro, UTRGV Shuttle future light rail transit.
• Limiting traffic on campus streets to buses and other specialty authorized vehicles.
• Explore a partnership with Rio Metro to reduce number of students driving a private vehicle (POV) to a campus. Subsidized or free to students.
• Explore partnerships with the surrounding cities to link hike & bike trails to encourage more individuals to walk or bike to campus.
• 5.Explore a “Borrow a Bike” or “Green Bike” type of program thus encouraging all to use bikes as an alternative to POV.
• Education program for students, faculty and staff emphasizing the health benefits of walking/ bicycling.
• Launch an educational campaign to promote the use of alternative transportation.

Goal III: Reduce number of cars parking on campus through incentives to students, staff, and faculty members.

• Explore options to parking fee price structure such as a substantial financial savings for commuters who carpool. Fees should reflect the true costs of parking and/or market rates (e.g. response to supply and demand).
• 2. Propose 25% or more parking spaces in each parking lot for energy-efficient/compact POV Spaces should be located at the preferred spots near building entrances.
• Explore incentives or policies to encourage students to not bring a POV to campus, i.e. first choice of a residence hall, freshman not allowed a POV, true cost of operating a vehicle.
• Explore a “Borrow a Bike” or “Green Bike” type of program.
• Explore purchasing energy-efficient or alternative hybrid vehicles, electric powered Cushman/Mule and pedal powered vehicles wherever feasible for on-campus travel.

Purchasing (Page 22)
Sustainable purchasing ensures that price and quality criteria include minimal adverse environmental and health impacts. In this area, UTRGV has the opportunity to sup¬port companies who embrace the three sustainability goals of ecological soundness, economic viability, and social justice. In making a sustainable purchasing decision, the entire life cycle costs (financial, environmental, and social) of the product are taken into consideration. Life cycle takes into account extraction, production, manufacturing, distribution, operation, maintenance and disposal. The objective is to develop a sustainability-based purchasing policy that stimulates the purchase of cost competitive products and services.

Goal: Promote sustainability in university and community by strategic purchasing in the following timeline.
• Assess, calculate, and track energy consumption and waste of university in terms of purchasing.
• Incorporate sustainability (education) into purchasing training sessions offered to the departments.
• Add language into procurement policies/ procedures documents to request vendor information on their sustainability practices, goods, and services.
• Require departments to submit purchase requests electronically.
• Collaborate with IT on sustainability implementation methods.
• Facilitate and encourage departments to purchase goods and services from vendors that are “green” or sustainable (i.e. toilet paper, printing paper, computer monitors, carpet, acoustical ceiling tiles, photo copiers, some furniture, etc.).
• Research and produce a “Green Guide” for travel related to university business (i.e., video conferencing, green hotel, carpool, etc.).
• Identify and list sustainable vendors and make it available to the departments.
• Collaborate with vehicle services for purchase of alternate fuels and new vehicles.
• Research and compile a list of sustainable or “green” hotels. Recommend and encourage
• university business travelers to use.
• Encourage the state to contract with sustainable or “green” hotels and ask the state to provide that list to the university.

Dining Services (page 23)
Dining services offer ample opportunities to integrate sustainability as they consume a significant portion of resources and generate large volumes of waste material. A large expenditure of time, money, and energy routinely go into the growing, harvesting, and preparing of food for the campus community. Dining services has the opportunity to educate students, staff, and faculty who use their services on healthy eating, and offering choices to consumers so they can make healthy and responsible decisions regarding food. The agriculture traditions of the Rio Grande Valley provide an excellent opportunity for the campus to support local growers, which could be incorporated as part of the sustainability plan. Purchasing from local growers reduces travel costs and pollution, reducing environmental damage from carbon dioxide and other atmospheric pollutants associated with the delivery process.

Goal I: Teach students how to manage their food consumption habits with educational materials to be printed by 2011 and ongoing. Goal will be measured through distribution of the materials.
• Print and distribute literature to students explaining why Dining Hall no longer uses trays (eating less, reducing water and energy consumption, etc.).

Goal II: Reduce waste (food, plastic, paper, cardboard, and oil) from current 2010 levels through implementation of recycling programs and composting throughout UTRGV.

• Measure amount of all types of waste produced by Dining Services, and plot on a large graph.
• Implement “Weigh the Waste” program. Place signage around the residence Dining Hall explaining the program—how it helps the environment and how each student can support it.
• Use signage indicating that all food products should be thrown away before dishes are placed on the conveyor belt; two trash cans in front of the conveyor belt will be used for food waste collection.
• Explore possibility of composting food waste with Sodexo and/or City of Edinburg.
• Eliminate use of plastic bags in the Student Union and cafeteria.
• Encourage use of reusable coffee mugs by offering discounts for those mugs as well as coffee bought with them.
• Promote usage of 100% recycled packaging content of food containers by Sodexo.
• Implement usage of the new cardboard compactor managed by the City of McAllen.

Goal III: Implement sustainability into purchasing policies of Dining Services by supporting companies who practice sustainability.

• Purchase products from manufacturing companies who use environmentally friendly practices and chemicals.
• Encourage current suppliers to get our products from within a 150-mile radius.
• Continue to choose manufacturing partner products from within a 150-mile radius.
• Continue to choose manufacturing partners who supply us with materials that are made from 100% recyclable and recycled materials.
• Maintain open door policy, where new information on suppliers is revised.
• Promote our sustainable efforts within our dining hall and retail operations.

Materials, Recycling & Waste (page 25)
The world is made up of a finite number of resources that we use, yet universities have the ability to support their operations and campus life through careful management of waste products as well as controlling the campus’ environmental footprint. As UTRGV is able to improve efficiency with their resources, they will be able to generate revenue as they save money through fewer purchases. As data on details concerning the amount and types of waste as well as recycled content is gathered, we will be able to provide benchmarks for future efforts for a reduction in the amount of waste generated across campus.9 The objective of this area is to reduce waste while at the same time increase recycling opportunities for the campus.

Goal I: Reduce the amount of solid waste disposal by increasing recycling opportunity efforts.

• Determine and track current recycling rate for campus, i.e. waste diverted from disposal in land fill to recycling center.
• Incorporate recycling efforts on all campus operations through education, signage, and recycling bins.
• Partner with student organizations to incorporate recycling at all campus events, including student orientations.
• Centralize drop-off recycling areas that correlate with the highest generating departments/buildings on campus to expedite and make pickups more efficient.
• Standardize recycling bins and signage across campus.
• Explore options for recycling other commodities such as light bulbs, batteries, plastic bottles, carpet, and etc. (Campus currently recycles office paper, cardboard, printer cartridges and scrap metal.)
• Recycle at athletic events; use compostable plates, napkins, cups.
• Implement end-of-the-year “Trash to Treasure” type of yard sale where unwanted student items are sold to the community.
• Explore innovative reuse strategies for construction/ demolition waste.
• Track numbers with Department of Environmental Health and Safety (DEHS) on disposal of hazardous waste.
• Track numbers with Assets Management on reuse and resale of older but usable electronics, furniture, etc. to the general public.
• Launch a campaign to educate students, faculty and staff about the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
• Encourage printing on both sides of paper.
• Encourage use of electronic means rather than paper.
• Work with Bookstore and Dining Facility to reduce/eliminate use of plastic bags.
• Consider a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to recycle/reuse items such as doors, wood, etc.

Goal II: Reduce water usage from current 2010 levels by 20%.

• Install water wise shower heads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals. (Extreme low flow/ dual flush toilets are now being manufactured that utilize less than 1.3 gallons per flush.)
• Publicize and encourage student, faculty and staff to report water waste on campus.
• Consider use of compost and mulch, native plantings, and reduction of water-needy lawn areas.
• Explore use of gray water for irrigation purposes.
• Consider underground cisterns for rooftop rainwater collection for later use in landscape irrigation.
• Install drip irrigation where irrigation is needed.

Goal III: Reduce hazardous waste on campus with the following strategies.
• Consider specifying “green” cleaning chemical alternatives.
• Implement pilot test for full line of green cleaning products and convert housekeeping to new green products.
• Explore options for recycling hazardous chemical waste.
• Consider switching to R-123 refrigerant for chillers.

Goal IV: Reduce storm water runoff with the following strategies.
• Construct retention ponds in areas that currently have reduced or limited drainage.
• Install and test Bio-swales on campus when a suitable project becomes available.
• Monitor the development of porous pavements. When a suitable project becomes available, install and test on campus.
• Disconnect roof drains from storm water systems and divert water to “raingardens,” ponds, bio-swales and other storm water retention devices.
• Consider construction of a regional storm water detention facility with multiuse as athletic fields, outdoor events, etc.
• Create Biofilters at all existing storm drains to filter storm water systems as necessary to reduce suspended solids.

Landscape & Grounds (page 26)
Landscape & Grounds has numerous opportunities to integrate sustainability. The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley is located over 672 acres, divided into north and south and supporting a wide diversity of local and regional species. The grounds department takes great pride in applying and developing techniques towards a more sustain¬able campus environment for both our campus community and the public. The primary principal entails a change of campus community culture by focusing on the preservation of natural resources while minimizing our carbon elements (i.e. electricity and water) which have historically been consumed at a higher rate, yet essential for the operation of the institution. The vision is to transition all landscape and grounds maintenance activities to a more ecologically sound operation by extending awareness and educational programs in support of this plan. The program shall reflect a change of culture and a change in design through the application of sustainable principles and budgetary support that nurture these principals.

Goal I: Implement planning and design strategies on all new construction for a sustainable landscape and ongoing, with the following strategies.
• Review master plans in order to consider applicable changes design.
• Review landscape and irrigation plans at the design phase.
• Compile a list of acceptable native/ native- adaptive plant material to use in new designs.
• Review plans for proper selection of plant materials which are conducive toward low maintenance, heat and drought tolerant landscapes; increase the number of native shrubs and trees.
• Minimize the number of flower beds in landscape designs which require a larger watering requirement; select flowering ground covers, shrubs and trees.
• Implement bio-swales in new construction and parking lot designs.
• Partner with local forester to review designs.

Goal II: Ensure sustainable practices (i.e. water conservation) on existing landscapes through replacement of plant material and redesign strategies.

• Create strategy to minimize the number and size of flower beds which consume large volumes.
• of water.
• Schedule a replacement cycle for non-sustainable plant materials with those which support heat and drought tolerant designs.
• Establish budget to support replacement cycle.
• Reduce the number of existing flower beds and implement replacement cycle for sustainable plant material.
• Replace carpet grasses and appropriate flower beds with Bermuda hybrids in order to minimize water requirements.

Goal III: Implement sustainable strategies into the maintenance and operations of landscape and grounds.
• Develop strategy to sustain Maintenance & Operations operating budget by applying sustainable practices.
• Train grounds staff on information related to sustainability principals as it relates to Landscapes & Grounds, change of culture, and implementation of strategies, with consideration of current budget reduction in travel funds.
• Consider changing the mowing cycle of lawns to reduce maintenance of equipment such as mowers and light duty equipment.
• Reduce disposal of yard waste in landfill by converting to compost and mulch.
• Review and assess list of chemical herbicides/ pesticides, select and implement alternative measures which would be safer for the environment.
• Develop an irrigation maintenance program to allow consistent auditing of systems.
• Develop a composting that allows for recycling of vegetative waste. Resultant compost and mulch can be used on landscaped beds and grounds.
• Create position of Sustainable Practices Coordinator for grounds crew.

Information Technology
Technology allows us the ability to reduce our waste and consumption of energy in many ways. Sustainability refers to the manufacture, management, use and disposal of information technology in a manner that is friendly to the environment. Managing the power consumption of electronic equipment, such as energy efficient desktops, servers, notebooks can be environmentally safe. Sustainable disposal is generally ensuring that e-waste (old computer equipment) does not end up in a landfill where the toxic substances can leach into groundwater and other sources.10 UTRGV is committed to using technology, thereby reducing waste, consumption, and travel. UTRGV uses various online systems to assist in the reduction of waste.

Goal: Reduce energy consumption and paper waste of UTRGV through the implementation of information
technology programs.

• Collaborate with Energy Conservation committee to determine energy usage of UTRGV campus.
• Purchase Building Information Modeling (BIM) software (state-of-the-art design technology that helps view the structure of buildings and their consumption of energy resources) to track energy consumption, and hire individual to train employees on this software.
• Collaborate with Facilities and various departments when building new buildings or renovating old buildings to incorporate and implement the latest technology.
• Optimize power efficiencies in Data Center by applying best practices to configuration and deployment of physical and virtual servers.
• Plan upgrades to Data Center HVAC using energy efficient technology
• Reduce paper consumption campus-wide through paper reduction initiative.
• Allow students, the public, businesses, and employees to conduct business with university electronically.
• Collaborate with Purchasing to specify energy-efficient or “Energy Star” electronics to include computers and other technological equipment.
• Create simple educational programs that save energy immediately and include:
o Power it Down: set power options to power down monitor and hard disk when not in use. Use a network PC energy management tool to optimize your organization’s electricity use.
o Print Sparingly: choose double-sided printing as default setting. Use a print optimization tool to reduce wastepaper.
• Create educational awareness by encouraging students, faculty and staff to use electronic means such as email, pay-on-line, and other online programs.
• Promote videoconferencing between
• campuses and other entities for “meeting
• technologies.”
• Facilitate the message of sustainability in all UTRGV websites.
• Encourage facility to use web-based conferences, seminars, etc

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:
Goal: Assist all areas of the campus to achieve UTRGV’s goal of becoming a model of sustainability in South Texas by preserving a healthy and sustainable ecological system, developing economic viability, and pursuing social justice.

• Provide and facilitate strategic planning sessions with all fifteen committees to develop and implement goals and strategies.
• Provide training and development opportunities to anyone in the region.
• Provide resources for campus community in sustainability issues.
• Assist in researching grant opportunities for fifteen committees as well as individual faculty members.

Goal: Create a rich and engaging research environment that integrates sustainability
into the research activities.

• Provide seed funding as a special reserved allocation of programs, such as a “Faculty Research Support Program” or a “Multidisciplinary Ventures Fund.”
• Foster interdisciplinary research collaborations: foster local interdisciplinary research collaborations; foster external/ international interdisciplinary research collaborations.
• Provide administrative support to obtain and manage grants that relate to
• sustainability.
• Encourage participation in multidisciplinary grant proposals, especially those that would not necessarily otherwise be available to individual single-disciplinary researchers.
• Mentor junior faculty: create mentoring programs for junior faculty that support interdisciplinary and transformational research.
• Establish metrics of success and evaluation: establish metrics of success; evaluate and report on performance in terms of these metrics.

The UTRGV Office of Institutional Equity supports the commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion for UTRGV. The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) promotes UTRGV's commitment to provide a diverse and inclusive learning and working environment that is free of discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. As an institution under UT System, we follow the reporting guidelines from Texas Education Code (TEC) 51.253, which is a written degree for the universities commitment and transparency for a workplace/institution that is free from harassment, stalking, retaliation, dating violence, and discrimination. The report may be found https://www.utrgv.edu/equity/_files/documents/title-ix-ceo-report-19-20.pdf.

The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) additionally, acts on behalf of the University as a neutral fact finder that enforces the University’s institutional equity policies and provides services including:

Guidance and training to ensure Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action practices in the Faculty Recruitment process, in collaboration with the Office of the Faculty Success and Diversity:
-Coordinates the development of the University’s Affirmative Action Plan
-Investigates and responds to internal and external complaints of discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation
-Coordinates and administers the University’s Title IX response and compliance requirements.

The OIED also pertains objectives to matriculate diverse faculty and students to support The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) evolve into a research university; it is committed to building a highly qualified and diverse faculty in support of academic excellence. The Search Committee member and/or as an Equity & Diversity Advocate (EDA) is instrumental to this commitment.



Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :

The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):
Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:
Minor theme

The institution's sustainability plan (upload):

Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:

The formal statement in support of sustainability:
To transform the Rio Grande Valley, the Americas, and the world through an innovative and accessible educational environment that promotes student success, research, creative works, health and well-being, community engagement, sustainable development, and commercialization of university discoveries.

[ we need to look at mission and vision from our website ]

The institution’s definition of sustainability:
UTS 169 - Definitions
Sustainability - meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainability Practices - the physical development and institutional operating practices that meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability Practices - the physical development and institutional operating practices that meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

UTRGV Campus Strategic Plan Draft - It is essential that UTRGV takes a prominent role in creating a sustainable society across the RGV. Through institutionalizing sustainability, UTRGV’s proposed policies, programs, and initiatives will create global citizens and leaders inculcated with environmental stewardship, social justice, and a forward-looking vision that will accelerate the implementation of sustainable solutions at local and community levels. We will also develop and educate residents of the RGV and Texas about the cutting-edge practices in sustainable higher education, research, and healthcare. These initiatives fit broadly with the UT System Quantum Leaps, particularly Student Success.

UTRGV Transforming the World's Strategic Plan: With UTRGV’s commitment to sustainability made explicit in its mission, vision, and strategic plan,
the Office for Sustainability (OFS) is charged with collaborating with partners both within and outside of the university to institutionalize sustainable development across the campus, including infusingsustainability into its curriculum, community engagement efforts, and day-today operations.
OFS tracks campus sustainability performance across these measures and self-reports to an international sustainability organization every two-three years; we are currently conducting the 2018-2019 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Sustainability Tracking,
Assessment & Rating System (AASHE STARS) assessment, with the report to be submitted end of Fall 2019. Thus, much of the data in the summary below is from the 2017 AASSHE STARS report, with more current data provided and indicated where available. In this 2017 reporting period, UTRGV was awarded “Gold,” becoming the first university in the UT System and third in the state of Texas to reach that level

Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following?:
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability No
SDG Accord No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment No
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) No

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
The University of Texas System is committed to stewardship of the environment and promotion of the principles of energy efficiency and sustainability. In 2009, the UT System developed UTS 169, Sustainability Practices Policy, at the direction of the Board of Regents. This policy directs all UT institutions to develop and adopt sustainable operational and maintenance practices to meet sustainability goals. The highlights of the plan addresses nine primary areas:
Energy and Water Efficiency practices
Alternative Energy Practices
Climate Protection Practices
Sustainable Transportation Practices
Waste and Recycling Management
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Practices
High Performance Buildings
Sustainability Awareness Training, and
Community Outreach
UTS 169 also states that each institution will develop a policy on sustainability in the institution’s master plan and operations and maintenance practices and within budgetary constraints and legal, regulatory, and programmatic requirements.

The UT System policy and its sustainability objectives in various areas (e.g. curriculum, research, campus engagement, public engagement, grounds, etc.) work towards the sustainable development goals of 4.Quality Education; 11.Sustainable Cities and Communities; 17.Partnership for the Goals; 15.Life on Land; 14.Life Below Water; 9.Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; 7.Affordable and Clean Energy; 12.Responsible Consumption and Production; 13.Climate Action; 6.Clean Water and Sanitation; 10.Reduced Inequalities; 5.Gender Equality; and 3.Good Health and Well-Being by:
~Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning
~Making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
~Creating partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society
~Halting and reversing land degradation
~Carefully managing water resources
~Building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation
~Providing access to reliable and sustainable energy for all
~Assuring sustainable consumption and production patterns
~Taking action to combat climate change and its impacts
~Securing access to water and sanitation for all
~Reducing inequality within communities
~Achieving gender equality
~Promoting well-being and ensuring healthy lives

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley 10 year Sustainability Campus Action Plan (SCAP) is due for renewal in 2020. The Sustainability Council will begin meeting to review and align a new Sustainability Campus Action Plan 2020-30 with the new University Strategic Plan.

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.