University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT, US
|Rating||Score||Valid Through||Liaison||Submitted||Executive Letter|
|Silver - expired||58.55||Oct. 1, 2020||Amy Brunvand||April 5, 2017||Download|
The greyscale bar displays the scores (in quartiles) of all institutions rated under this version of STARS that are the same basic type as the institution featured in the report (e.g., Associate, Baccalaureate, Doctoral, or Master’s). Hovering over the bar reveals the following:
- 1st quartile score (75% of institutions scored above this figure)
- Median (or 2nd quartile) score (50% of institutions scored above this figure)
- 3rd quartile score (25% of institutions scored above this figure)
- Top score
Missing lower quartiles indicate the prevalence of institutions that earned zero points, e.g., if 25% of institutions earned 0 points, no 1st quartile will display.
Missing bars indicate that an insufficient number of reports have been published under this version of STARS to calculate quartiles.
The quartiles are recalculated nightly to reflect newly published reports.
A major effort to incorporate sustainability more broadly into the curriculum began in 2011 when he Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (the equivalent of a provost) created a new position called "Sustainability Curriculum Development Director, and split the job of directing this new initiative between two faculty"... The Senior Vice President laid down two rules to the new co-directors: (1) all programs that are created must be broadly interdisciplinary and cannot be housed in just one college and (2) there must be broad faculty support.
For more information, see, Ward, Mercedes, Brenda Bowen, Steven Burian, Adrienne Cachelin, and Daniel McCool. "Institutionalizing interdisciplinary sustainability curriculum at a large, research-intensive university: challenges and opportunities." Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (2016): 1-7.
|Sustainability Literacy Assessment||Complete|
|Incentives for Developing Courses||Complete|
|Campus as a Living Laboratory||Complete|
The Global Change & Sustainability Center (GCSC) coordinates interdisciplinary research efforts that focus on sustainability. In 2016, GCSC moved organizationally to be under the umbrella of the Sustainability Office. All tenured, tenure-track, adjunct, and research faculty at the University of Utah are eligible to apply as GCSC affiliates.<< show less
|Research and Scholarship||Complete|
|Support for Research||Complete|
|Open Access to Research||Complete|
The Sustainability Office serves as a centralized resource to support engagement with sustainability across the University.
|Student Educators Program||Complete|
|Outreach Materials and Publications||Complete|
|Assessing Sustainability Culture||Complete|
|Employee Educators Program||Complete|
|Staff Professional Development||Complete|
Campus as a destination for the public.
• Encourage the public to participate in a wide range
of university activities, including the arts, athletics,
recreation, clinical and academic programs.
• Provide adequate facilities to support public activity,
including parking and other services.
• Cooperate with Salt Lake City and other local services
to establish a vibrant and engaging campus experience.
--University of Utah Campus Master Plan (2008)<< show less
|Participation in Public Policy||Complete|
Air quality has been identified as one of the most important issues for Salt Lake City residents and is one of the most frequently discussed topics in the region. This is especially true during the winter months when the Wasatch Front is plagued by pollutant- trapping inversions and deteriorating air quality. The inversions create more than just a health hazard and negative impact on the natural environment, they affect overall quality of life for residents and create negative perceptions for visitors and investors. (Plan Salt Lake: Salt Lake City citywide vision, 2015, p. 25)<< show less
|Greenhouse Gas Emissions||Complete|
|Outdoor Air Quality||Complete|
The State of Utah mandates energy efficiency in all state-owned buildings. State standards are outlined in the State Building Energy Efficiency Program (SBEEP), as mandated by the Quality Growth Act of 1999.1 (1 Chapter 24, laws of Utah 1999).<< show less
|Building Operations and Maintenance||Complete|
|Building Design and Construction||Complete|
The largest provider of food services on campus is University Dining Services (operated by Chartwells) which offers resident meal plans for students.
In addition, the campus leases space to a number of locally owned restaurants and coffee shops, and food trucks.<< show less
|Food and Beverage Purchasing||Complete|
Capitalize on the natural landscape setting
• Create smart open space and promote the intelligent
use of landscape.
• Preserve significant views into, within and from the
campus, including views to the Wasatch Mountains
• Create a network of open spaces that improves campus
connectivity and provides access to nature.
• Reduce the visual and physical impact of surface
Leaders in environmental stewardship.
• Integrate the principles of environmental, social and
economic sustainability into campus planning, design
• Promote the stewardship of campus lands and
-- University of Utah Campus Master Plan (2008)<< show less
Functional and sustainable transportation systems.
• Improve walkability and universal access.
• Improve accessibility to transit and continue to
promote alternative modes of transportation.
• Enhance routes to better support bicycling on campus.
• Improve the efficiency of shuttle bus systems.
• Clarify vehicular circulation network, especially at Health Science Campus.
• Establish a more efficient and effective parking strategy.
• Improve signage to promote safety and way-finding.
--University of Utah Campus Master Plan (2008)
While comparable in size and reputation to the other institutions within the PAC-12 Conference, the University of Utah has a reputation as being more of a commuter campus than these schools. With only approximately 10% of students living on campus, the primary mode of transportation into and on campus is the personal automobile.<< show less
|Student Commute Modal Split||Complete|
|Employee Commute Modal Split||Complete|
|Support for Sustainable Transportation||Complete|
The University of Utah receives potable water from Salt Lake City Public Utilities which draws water from our local watersheds. We also use well water on campus to help supply our irrigation needs. The University allocates funds each year to improve water efficiency in existing buildings through maintenance and retrofits and to educate campus users about water conservation techniques. We have completed numerous water efficiency retrofit projects which have resulted in a reduction of annual water consumption by approximately 15% or over 150 million gallons.
Amid concerns over an abnormally dry winter, Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued an executive order on June 3, 2015 instituting water conservation practices for state agencies in Utah. ( Water Conservation, Utah Exec. Order No. 2015-4).
Red Butte Creek flows from the Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area located above campus. The creek flows through
the University of Utah campus and research park, the Veteran’s
Affairs (VA) Medical Center complex, Sunnyside Park, and then though primarily residential neighborhoods. The open channel
portion of Red Butte Creek terminates in a conduit, which conveys
the creek to the Jordan River via 3.4-mile-long pipe. In 2010, an oil pipeline spilled into the creek drawing attention to a neglected riparian ecosystem, and stream restoration has become a focus of student projects.
The primary units involved in the comprehensive planning effortat the University are the Office of Institutional Advancement, the Office of Budget and Planning, the Office of Undergraduate Studies, the Office of Student Affairs, The Office of the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the Offices of Global Engagement and Sustainability. The strategic plans of the academic colleges focus on the Four Big Goals as articulated in 2014 by President Pershing and SVP Watkins. (UofU Year Seven Self Study, 2015, p. 81).
One major result of the first STARS inventory was the creation of a central Sustainability Office, with coordinating and managing responsibilities across campus at the senior administration level. A Chief Sustainability Officer position was created and reports directly to the senior vice president for Academic Affairs. Within the Sustainability Office, positions were also created to help coordinate and advance curriculum and research efforts, and the
Sustainability Resource Center (formerly housed in Facilities Management) will help to coordinate sustainability efforts within operations, as well as to advance campus operations as opportunities for a learning laboratory.In addition to the Sustainability Office, the University has incorporated sustainability into its Campus Master Plan (2008) and also a Climate Action Plan (2010) which includes sections for education and research, campus and community engagement, water waste and food, transportation, etc. Senior Administration has also initiated a process to update and expand the Climate Action Plan to become a full Sustainability Plan for the University and all its activities and administrative units. (UofU Year Seven Self Study, 2015, p. 186).
The importance of focusing on improving faculty diversity and building the underrepresented community was reinforced at an open dialogue on racial climate held on Campus in November 2016 . Students, faculty, staff, and administration attended. “We heard things that humbled and deeply moved us,” said President David W. Pershing, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Vivian S. Lee, and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Ruth Watkins in a letter distributed to campus the week after the event. “We also heard that we must accelerate change at the U, in order to address injustices, create a stronger, better university, and foster a community that is truly welcoming to students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds. (Annalisa Purser. "A Rising Tide: The U increased faculty diversity to foster creativity, innovation and diligence among all," UNews, 2/2017)<< show less
|Diversity and Equity Coordination||Complete|
|Assessing Diversity and Equity||Complete|
|Support for Underrepresented Groups||Complete|
|Affordability and Access||Complete|
Statement of Amy Wildermuth, Chief Sustainability Officer for the University of Utah, on responsible re-investment:
Anthropogenic climate change is one of the most pressing and difficult issues of our time. It requires that we act, and act quickly, to change our course. Understanding this urgency, in 2010, the University of Utah committed to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. We are currently updating our strategies in a comprehensive new Sustainability Action Plan to ensure that we meet this goal.
In addition to that work, based on the two resolutions that were passed by the Academic Senate, the Sustainability Office is developing three new avenues to support our climate change commitments:
With members of the Senate, we will draft a policy to create an expert committee that will advise on various strategies for endowment investment, infrastructure investment, and other investment initiatives that reflect our continuing commitment to environmentally sustainable action. Such committees have been created at other institutions of higher education (including Arizona State and Colorado State universities) as part of their commitments under the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.
The Sustainability Office will continue to share on its website information about the socially responsible and environmentally sustainable options for employee retirement holdings from TIAA-Cref and Fidelity Investments. Every individual has the ability to make choices in their personal investment based on their own values, and the combined retirement savings of University of Utah employees as of January 2016 is over $3 billion.
By partnering with other student and facilities programs, such as the ASUU Wind Fee, the Sustainability Office has created a revolving loan fund to finance efficiency and renewable energy projects on campus. This kind of investment gives an incentive to invest in projects that may have higher upfront costs but will have substantial savings over the project’s lifetime.
|Committee on Investor Responsibility||Complete|
|Sustainable Investment||Not Pursuing|
|Investment Disclosure||Not Pursuing|
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.