Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.15
Liaison Andrea Trimble
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Virginia
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Julia Monteith
Senior Land Use Planner
Office of the Architect
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Climate Action - Engage, Steward, Discover Approach

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

UVA’s sustainability efforts are organized around how we Engage and serve our community, Steward resources and live our values, and Discover ways to learn about and solve global challenges.

STEWARD: UVA has set climate goals to be carbon neutral by 2030, fossil fuel free by 2050, and to reduce reactive nitrogen losses to the environment 30% by 2030.

ENGAGE: UVA and the College of William & Mary have committed to partner in achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 at each university, and UVA has joined with the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County sustainability staff to collaborate on engagement, with a focus on equity, through Climate Action Together.

DISCOVER: UVA's Energy Transition Initiative (https://energytransition.coopercenter.org/)
brings together experts in economics, policy, planning, and energy systems from the Weldon Cooper Center, Virginia Solar Initiative, Virginia Clean Energy Project, and other units at the University of Virginia" and focuses on three main avenues to provide this support:

Identifying pathways to a net-zero-carbon energy sector by 2050;
Identifying roadblocks and reduce barriers to achieve pathways;
Serving as conveners to promote informed, engaged, and inclusive decision-making.
We advance these goals by researching clean energy and sustainability practices; by developing and maintaining tools to help localities understand the process, costs, and benefits of adopting cleaner energy technologies; and by engaging directly with policymakers, energy providers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and other interested stakeholders to smooth the transition to a sustainable energy economy."

Additionally, UVA's Environmental Resilience Institute "is the hub of environmental resilience and sustainability research at the University of Virginia. ERI builds a diverse and collaborative community to accelerate the rate of discovery, trains the next generation of leaders in integrative research, and develops external partnerships to translate research findings into policy and practice. Over 100 faculty from 10 UVA schools are affiliated with the Institute. Focus areas evolve over time to reflect opportunities and need. Current priorities for ERI funding are Climate Resilience, Water and Energy Security, and Environment and Health." (https://eri.virginia.edu/about-us/)

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
The Green Street and UVA Green Building Standards

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

The Green Street: The Green Street was completed in 2020 and has been highly successful in envisioning the future redevelopment of a strategic 10-acre parcel at the junction of three important but distinct areas of the UVA campus: the Jeffersonian-era Academical Village with its central Lawn, the South Lawn Complex, and the Health System. The Green Street Plan organizes the building program around a linear open space. Although the site is similar in proportion to the historic Lawn, the landscape design does not seek to replicate UVA’s iconic historic core. Instead it responds to the topography and hydrology of the site by centering the development on a bioremediation corridor, which serves as both a visual amenity and a “working landscape,” designed to manage the stormwater for the district and seasonal fluctuations in water flow. This arrangement creates a generous interior civic space with a wide pedestrian promenade overlooking the water feature, in turn creating maximum high-value program frontage along the parcel’s entire interior. By means of its broad public realm and park–green space connections to adjacent areas of the Grounds, the Green Street opens itself to the surrounding University community.In planning for this new district, the University engaged stakeholders to generate concepts and ideas for a future neighborhood, slated to provide 500,000–600,000 gross square feet of built space. The Green Street illuminates the potential of this new mixed-use neighborhood in a way that consolidates University support around a clear, cohesive idea for the future and continues to enhance the architectural and landscape heritage of the University.

Green Building Standards: The University of Virginia Green Building Standards outline UVA’s minimum expectations for aligning University-wide sustainability goals with building design, construction, and maintenance. The Standards include a comprehensive package of prescriptive requirements, an implementation process to support projects in meeting the Standards in a cost-effective manner, and for capital projects, an enhanced process to embed sustainability into the decision-making process. The Standards propose additional requirements to align projects with meeting UVA’s sustainability goals beyond what LEED certification can accomplish or for projects for which LEED certification is not required. Each specification has one or more of the following goals: reduce environmental impact, provide anticipated reduced life cycle costs, and promote healthier and safer buildings.

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Memorial for Enslaved Labors and Racial Equity Goals

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

The Memorial to Enslaved Laborers was completed in 2020 and has received national acclaim through awards and the national press. Nestled into the sloping landscape of the “Triangle of Grass”, which sits within the UNESCO World Heritage Site boundary of the University of Virginia’s (UVA) grounds, the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers seeks to formally acknowledge the work and the individual lives of the enslaved African Americans who built and sustained the every-day life of the University. Founded and designed by Thomas Jefferson, UVA is considered by many to be the quintessential university campus. Yet like many of its peer institutions, the University depended on the labor and work of enslaved African American men, women and children. Constructed of local granite, “Virginia Mist,” the Memorial will create a space to gather, reflect, acknowledge, and honor the enslaved laborers who contributed to the University. Scholars estimate that at least 5,000 enslaved African Americans worked on the grounds, with many in residence, starting with the construction of the Lawn in 1817 and lasting through the end of the Civil War in 1865.The Memorial captures dualities in its circular form that references both the “Ring Shout,” a dance practiced by enslaved African Americans that celebrates spiritual liberation and a broken shackle that signals the end of physical bondage. These dual conditions form two nested rings that break when they meet the ground to open a circle that welcomes gathering.

President's Commission on Slavery: At an April 2013 meeting of the President’s Cabinet, Dr. Marcus Martin, Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity, made a presentation on slavery at UVa and proposed that a commission be formed to further explore the topic and to make recommendations as to the next steps the University could take in response to this history. Dr. Martin credited groups such as Memorial for Enslaved Laborers (MEL), the UVa IDEA Fund (Inclusion Diversity Equity Access), and University and Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE) for creating robust initiatives around the topic of slavery, which will guide the Commission’s work.

UVA Racial Equity Task Force: The Task force is composed of Kevin McDonald, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Ian Solomon, Dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; and Barbara Brown Wilson, Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning and co-founder and Faculty Director of UVA’s Equity Center.

In September 2020 the UVA Board of Visitors endorsed several goals articulated by UVA’s Racial Equity Task Force and requested that UVA leadership develop a plan for funding, implementing and measuring progress toward those goals. (https://news.virginia.edu/content/uva-board-visitors-endorses-goals-presented-racial-equity-task-force)

The goals include:

Doubling the number of underrepresented faculty at UVA by 2030;
Reviewing the tenure and promotion process;
Developing a plan and a time horizon for having a student population that better reflects the racial and socioeconomic demographics of the Commonwealth of Virginia and, as much as feasible, of the nation;
Encouraging related organizations to develop a scholarship program for the descendants of enslaved laborers who worked to build and maintain the University;
Reviewing policies regarding staff hiring, wages, retention, promotion and procurement, in order to ensure equity;
Ensuring that the division of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Community Partnerships has sufficient resources to do their work;
Developing a series of educational programs around racial equity and anti-racism, including leadership development programs focused on equity, including racial equity;
Endowing the key programmatic elements of the Carter Woodson Institute and providing funding to create more faculty positions;
Exploring potential initiatives to recognize and support Native American students and Native American studies;
Thoroughly reviewing University Police practices and policies to ensure fair, equitable and transparent practices reflecting 21st-century policing principles and developing relevant training for officers and supervisors;
Forming a Department of Safety and Security Advisory Council.


Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement
Diversity & Affordability

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

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.