Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Amy Brunvand
Submission Date Oct. 21, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Utah
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Ayrel Clark-Proffitt
Campus Engagement Manager
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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:

There are more than 20 student groups focused on components of sustainability. Topics range from clean air to food recovery to advocacy. Only some of these groups are managed directly by the Sustainability Office and the Environmental & Sustainability Studies program. Information about university student groups is available online at getinvolved.utah.edu. Below are descriptions of three student groups making a difference at the University of Utah:

Utah Climate Advocates
Utah Climate Advocates is a student-led organization the helps members take political action to help solve climate change through policy. Activities include lobbying, letter writing, and educational events and outreach. It focuses on community building as a way to build political momentum. Activities may be focused on local, state or federal legislation or action. The group is non-partisan and values mutually beneficial outcomes across a diverse group of people. Members agree to uphold these values in their interactions with each other and during any club activity. Learn more at getinvolved.utah.edu/organization/utah-climate-action-and-environmental-justice.

Utah Clinicians for Clean Air
Future Clinicians for Clean Air is an advocacy group concerned with the health impacts of poor air quality. As future health professionals, we use current evidence and research to advocate for clean air policies. The group was created in 2019, and it has already hosted events to educate the campus community about the impacts of poor air quality on human health. Learn more at getinvolved.utah.edu/organization/futurecliniciansforcleanair.

Slow Food Utah
The Slow Food Chapter on campus at the University of Utah wants to eat, teach, and explore food sustainability. Its mission is to bring clean, fair, food to all students. Slow Food at the University of Utah works to build community around food by bringing students together to enjoy cooking and eating sustainable foods and providing resources to make it accessible for all. Learn more at getinvolved.utah.edu/organization/slow-foods-student-chapter.


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:

Edible Campus Gardens
The Edible Campus Gardens, managed by the University’s Sustainability Office, are spaces for active learning about ecologically sound practices and just food systems through experience, education, and research. The Edible Campus Gardens are made of two sites, including a larger site with a sizable hoop house that extends the Utah growing season. Paid student interns teach other students how to garden, as well as host specific trainings on potting, composting, and more throughout the winter months. Produce from the gardens are sold at the University of Utah Farmers Market, or given away at no cost during Friday Produce Pickups and at the on-campus pantry. Learn more at sustainability.utah.edu/edible-campus-gardens.


Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:
No

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
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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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

The University of Utah maintains two grant programs for on-campus projects: the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF) and the Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF). SCIF is a student-fee funded grant program for students and employees to lead sustainability projects. Each semester, students pay $2.50 from student fees into SCIF, and the campus community can apply for funds by submitting grant applications. An allocation committee of students, staff, and faculty evaluate applications and choose which grants will be funded. Past grants have ranged from $200 to more than $80,000. The original plan for SCIF was a revolving loan fund, but barriers led to switching to a grant-based program with no payback requirement.

In 2016, the university approved a sustainability revolving loan fund, the SEF. The SEF is transforming the University of Utah campus through energy conservation, waste reduction, operation efficiency and behavior change projects. Often the initial costs of these projects—such as solar panels and high efficiency water heaters—can be a barrier for the university, even if the project will save money over its lifetime. Students created the SEF to fill this gap and implement these projects. More information is available at sustainability.utah.edu/scif and sustainability.utah.edu/engagement/sustainable-energy-fund.


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 University of Utah provides regular, co-curricular programming to help educate the campus and local communities about sustainability concerns. The Global Change & Sustainability Center, the research arm of the U of U’s sustainability efforts, hosts public bi-weekly seminars around topics ranging from wildfires to indigenous climate action to stable isotopes and more. Presenters include researchers from the University of Utah, other universities, or government agencies. Learn more at environment.utah.edu/seminar-series. Other public programming includes Green Bag Lunches at the College of Law’s Stegner Center (law.utah.edu/research/stegner), the Climate Changes Health and Health Equity journal club (library.med.utah.edu/blog/eccles/2019/09/12/climate-changes-health-and-health-equity), and sustainability-focused forums at the Hinckley Institute of Politics, which are rebroadcast on a local NPR-affiliate station (www.hinckley.utah.edu/calendar).


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:

Utah Presents-Sustainability Partnership
The climate crisis is a crisis of culture. Until climate issues are a central element of our arts and humanities, our culture will struggle to move from knowledge to action. A multi-year initiative between UtahPresents, the Global Change & Sustainability Center (GCSC), and the Sustainability Office brings artists with justice-based perspectives on sustainability and embeds them across campus and with community groups throughout Utah. The partnership began in 2017 with lectures by food activist Dr. Vandana Shiva and a performance of “Shyamali: Sprouting Words” by contemporary Indian dance company Ananya Dance Theatre. Between the events, artists led an interdisciplinary workshop exploring how the labor of dissent—particularly of women of color—creates sustainable communities. In 2019, Hawaiian poet laureate Kealoha came to the University of Utah with his “The Story of Everything,” which uses various cultural elements and scientific disciplines to explore where humans come from and where we are going in relationship to climate change. In March 2020, Phantom Limb’s “Falling Out “ brings a mesmerizing depiction of love, loss, and survival in the aftermath of the nuclear fallout in Fukushima, Japan. Alongside this performance, Salt Lake City and County libraries will host free staged readings of local activist Mary Dickson’s play “EXPOSED,” which tells the story of Utah’s own nuclear fallout community – the Downwinders impacted by the U.S. government’s nuclear bomb testing in Nevada. Learn more at utahpresents.org.


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:

Outdoor Adventures
The University of Utah’s Outdoor Adventures (OA) program hosts student-led trips for the University of Utah campus community. OA hosts clinics, day trips, and over night and weekend trips, as well as extended trips over breaks. All trip participants are taught Leave No Trace principles, which are enforced on every OA trip. When the trip concludes, unopened food items are donated are donated to the on-campus food pantry, and all vegetables scraps and coffee grounds are composted at the Earth Cube at the Edible Campus Gardens. Learn more at campusrec.utah.edu/programs/outdoor-adventures/trips/index.php

Parks, Recreation, & Tourism: U-Explore
Offered through the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism in the College of Health, U-Explore outdoor adventure courses offer an opportunity for University of Utah students to enjoy “wild Utah” through an exciting array of 60 course titles. A wide variety of land, snow and water based courses include principles of environmental ethics, resource management, minimum impact travel, public lands policy, and leave-no-trace backcountry travel. Most of these courses are included in the AC-3 inventory with SUSC/L designation. Learn more at health.utah.edu/health-kinesiology-recreation/recreation/u-explore

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Partnership
The Department of Parks, Recreation,& Tourism and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) have maintained a productive professional and collegial partnership spanning more than 30 years. Beginning in 1980, the two schools signed a memorandum of understanding through which NOLS students would receive University of Utah credits for participating in their NOLS expedition. As part of this agreement, the PRT faculty began yearly reviews of NOLS curriculum and instructor qualifications. Today, the relationship between the two organizations is characterized by high quality outcome and process-oriented research, educational exchange, and an annual scholarship provided to a PRT student to attend a NOLS course. NOLS’ mission is to be the “leading source and teacher of wilderness skills and leadership that serve people and the environment.”
Learn more at health.utah.edu/health-kinesiology-recreation/recreation/nols/
NOLS' statement on Stewardship and Sustainability reads in part, "NOLS travels lightly on the earth, practicing Leave No Trace in the backcountry and pursuing an ambitious sustainability program in the front country by reducing our carbon footprint, minimizing our waste, and prioritizing eco-friendly supply streams.
https://www.nols.edu/en/about/stewardship-sustainability/


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:

Lassonde Studios Sustainability & Global Impact Floor
Located on the second floor of Lassonde Studios is the Sustainability & Global Impact floor, where 100 residents live. On the Sustainability & Global Impact floor, events and dinners feature sustainability-focused speakers. The floor also features a hydroponic garden. Most importantly, the floor provides a community for entrepreneurs focused on incorporating sustainability into their future. More information available at lassonde.utah.edu.

Additionally, Housing & Residential Education keeps social justice issues at the forefront with its Social Justice Advocates program and its Equity Lounge, both of which work to ensure students from minoritized communities have a space to thrive. Learn more at housing.utah.edu/living-the-u/equitylounge.


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

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

Sustainability Office: Student Ambassadors
Student support is the top priority of the University of Utah, and that priority extends beyond the classroom. The university strives to prepare students to for employment after graduation. The Sustainability Office fulfills this mission through its internship opportunities. The office hosts paid student employees year-round. Interns do a variety of work, specializing in areas such as communications, outreach, event programming, gardening, grant management, and more. Learn more at sustainability.utah.edu.


Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):
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A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Among the most visible on-campus sustainability programs is the University of Utah Farmers Market. The market is a community gathering space where the campus community can interact with each other and local restaurateurs, bakers, and artisans. It is a celebration of many cuisines, with past vendors selling Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Syrian staples, to name a few. The market has also offers the Double Your Dollars program to students, which literally doubles students’ money to purchase grocery-like food items, with a heavy emphasis on produce. Learn more at sustainability.utah.edu/farmers-market.


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.