Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.47
Liaison Gioia Thompson
Submission Date March 2, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Vermont
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Walter Poleman
Associate Director
Field Naturalist Program
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Greater Burlington Sustainability Education Network (GBSEN)

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

The Greater Burlington Sustainability Education Network (GBSEN) is a partnership initiated and managed by Dr. Walter Poleman at the University of Vermont, with support from Shelburne Farms and the City of Burlington. GBSEN is a Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development, recognized by the United Nations University in 2015. GBSN is a member of a global network with over 168 RCEs from around the world, GBSEN promotes education, training, and public awareness to create a sustainable future for the greater Burlington region through the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). GBSN’s goal is to promote the work of sustainability practitioners in the region and encourage collaboration to strengthen existing and new sustainability initiatives. The GBSN network is comprised of educators, students, non-profits, government leaders, businesses, and community members.

In September 2019, 37 delegates from 11 RCEs across South, Central, and North America attended the 8th Gathering of the Americas RCE meeting in Burlington. This was hosted by the GBSEN. This meeting provided delegates the opportunity for discussion, networking, and sharing of knowledge as they work to achieve the SDGs in their regions. It also included a public forum featuring the integration of Climate Action and Health & Well-being on the same day as the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City.

A current, ongoing GBSN project is a collaboration with a group of educators and community development professionals in Puerto Rico to support their application for RCE status. In spring 2018 GBSN members did an exchange to Puerto Rico to assist in these efforts. In March 2019 a group of Puerto Rican teachers and students came to Burlington to participate in a citizen science conference. These participants were connected with the local program, Burlington City & Lake Semester. The groups used the SDGs as a framework to explore the unique challenges faced by our respective communities as well as the opportunities for solidarity.

GBSN is uncommon because there are less than 200 RCEs in the world. The particular role that UVM played in the 2019 America’s RCE meeting was extraordinary, going past what is measured in the related STARS credits:
Beyond EN11 because the work is not exclusive to higher ed campus-to-campus work
Beyond EN10 because it’s engaging the global community, not our local community
Beyond PA01 and PA02 because it offers sustainability coordination and planning far beyond our campus borders


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Curriculum
Public Engagement
Coordination & Planning

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the innovation 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.