|Submission Date||Nov. 27, 2019|
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
IN-24: Innovation A
|1.00 / 1.00||
Sustainability Planning & Policy Analyst
Office of Sustainability
Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
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:
UWM has partnered with the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) to develop the first curricular program in the nation dedicated to training students in the practical application of water stewardship planning through AWS’s Standard. The objective of the AWS Standard is to drive water stewardship, which AWS defines as: the use of water that is socially and culturally equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial, achieved through a stakeholder-inclusive process that involves site-and catchment-based actions. UWM is currently undergoing the process of developing a water stewardship plan based on the AWS Standard to better help UWM manage its own water use and understand shared water concerns for the watersheds of both the School of Freshwater Sciences and the Main Kenwood Campus. UWM hopes to be the first institution of higher education with an AWS-certified building in the nation. In addition, UWM seeks to use this curricular framework to help local businesses develop their own water stewardship plans thereby creating a local concentration of water stewards who share a common language, innovate, and promote sound policy from the ground up.
Universities and colleges throughout the nation face a wide array of water-related challenges. Where some deal with water quantity issues others face more pressing water quality issues. From stormwater challenges in one locale to water scarcity issues in another, the diversity of water-related challenges makes identifying water-related metrics especially important as well as uniquely local. Water consumption metrics alone often do not address the most important water-related concerns of an institution. UWM was drawn to the AWS Standard for both the strength of the process (stakeholder-inclusive) as well as the focus on delineating the most important water-related concerns and opportunities.
UWM’s Office of Sustainability paired with Professor Jenny Kehl from the School of Freshwater Sciences and AWS to pilot a graduate course focused on training students to apply the AWS Standard to campus facilities. Students were given professional training in the AWS Standard by AWS and led through the process of developing a water stewardship plan for the School of Freshwater Sciences site as well as the Main Kenwood campus site. Over the course of the semester, students compiled site and watershed-related data, identified and interviewed local stakeholders to understand shared water challenges and risks, and drafted a water stewardship plan for the School of Freshwater Sciences and Main Kenwood Campus sites. In subsequent semesters, UWM plans to further refine the water stewardship plans developed for 2 campus sites, implement the plans, evaluate how UWM is performing against the plan, and communicate UWM’s stewardship efforts. In addition, UWM seeks to use the curricular framework piloted in the Spring of 2019 to develop water stewardship plans for other UWM sites, and partner with local businesses to develop water stewardship plans of their own (as the businesses often don’t have the labor bandwidth or water-related expertise to undertake certification on their own).
Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
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.