Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.76
Liaison Mark Klapatch
Submission Date Feb. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Wisconsin-River Falls
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Mark Klapatch
Sustainability and Custodial Supervisor
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

The Student Alliance for Local and Sustainable Agriculture (SALSA) is a student group passionate about organic, sustainable, and local agriculture. SALSA maintain the UWRF Student Garden, and are an educational outreach to the campus and community through providing guest speakers, opportunities for our members to attend conferences, interactive lecture series, and educational film showings. SALSA's activities are described further in the sustainable agriculture section below.

Resource Management Club (RMC) provides training and volunteer opportunities in conservation work. Past events have included Leave No Trace trainings, river and pond cleanups, assisting in local prairie remnant restoration and maintenance, and volunteering with the US Fish and Wildlife Service's education days.

The Environmental Corps of Sustainability (ECOS) club was founded in early 2013, originally called Fossil Free Falcons. The organization initially formed to educate, advocate, and lobby for divestment of UWRF endowment funds from fossil fuel-based investments. The club has expanded to broader environmental activism, both on campus and nationally. Members organized to educate others and protest the Keystone Pipeline. ECOS supports the work of SALSA and RMC.

The Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice (SACJ) Club is a UWRF student organization made up of students who have an interest in affecting social, gender, and cultural equality, social justice, and criminal justice through a better understanding of society as a whole.

The Student Social Work Association (SSWA) is a UWRF student-lead group for that encourages anyone interested in social justice to become involved in their community through resume-building volunteerism and awareness. SSWA creates and participates in many different and varied projects, big and small. This group encourages networking and relationship-building between people of all backgrounds and identities.

The UWRF student chapter of the St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity is a club focused on housing justice in Pierce and St. Croix counties. The club is dedicated to helping our community to partner with people in need of affordable home ownership, by enabling them to acquire simple, decent, homes and improving their lives.

The UWRF Bee Club is a group of students who are interested in learning about bee keeping and the impact bees have on the environment. The club focuses on learning the safety procedures and what is involved in keeping bees. Club activities will focus on ways to help pollinators and find ways to counter the global decrease of bees.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects 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:

The Student Alliance for Local and Sustainable Agriculture (SALSA) has had a 40 ft X 60 ft Student Garden in the campus outdoor teaching plots since 2013. The garden contains crops such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs. The students grow produce to process and sell "salsa" as an organization fundraiser. Surplus produce is given to students and the local community food shelf. The students are maintaining a non-certified organic and sustainably grown garden. The Garden does not use synthetic chemicals, nor transgenic seeds.


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The student led Horticulture Society has 3 plant sales per year (fall houseplant sale, Holiday/Poinsettia sale, and Valentines Day sale). The plants, sale itself, and profits from the sales go to support the club's mission of educational trips and experiences. Sustainability comes into play in terms of choosing houseplants and flowers that are more durable for consumers, pest resistant, etc. Houseplants provide oxygen for indoor environments with people, etc., help sustain emotional health of people as they connect with benefit from nature in their lives etc.

For the spring sale, plants are grown in the floriculture class on campus as students learn the most sustainable options/techniques to produce popular vegetable and flower plant starts (nutrition management/pest control/watering, etc.). The class has tried different kinds of more "sustainable pots" from recycled paper and other materials over the years, but standard pots made from recycled plastic have been the best for durability. Students in the class and the honor society (Pi Alpha Xi) help with coordinating the sale on campus at the end of spring semester. Students run the sales educating consumers and helping point them towards options that will fit their needs (needs for care, growing sites, etc.). Proceeds go back into paying for the supplies needed to produce the crops and Pi Alpha Xi earns money by moving plants to and from the greenhouse to the UC and helping run the sale. Extra plants after the sale are sold by the River Falls Garden Club Mothers Day weekend in town. They sell these plants with their other plants and purchase our plants at wholesale prices.
They are also very generous with us and provide $2000 to $2500 in student scholarships to UWRF students each year. So, ultimately, they not only help us recoup our cost by basically buying and reselling plants at wholesale costs, but then also with their reinvestment in our students. The River Falls Garden Club could have more flexibility for the kinds and quantities of plants they could get if they ordered from a large wholesaler, but they choose to support our students and work with what the students grow. What the students grow is quite varied, but each kind is grown in limited quantities because of limited space. Horticulture Society has a strong ongoing social relationship with the River Falls Garden Club too inviting them to special horticulture speakers on campus, students and faculty presenting at their monthly meetings, etc.

There are many components of sustainability integral to our Horticulture curriculum and major in place already. The sales showcase economic sustainability and also many components of environmental sustainability with the kinds of plants that are grown and trying to find the best methods of growing them based on conditions/resources. Throughout our courses as we teach about the plants used for landscape use and for edible production, varieties, ways to best grow them, etc. keeping sustainability front and center in order for producers/distributors to stay in business, build their networks, and to better protect the environment. This student run enterprise of plant sales puts that education into hands on experience.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives 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:

Our Student Investment Team, in consultation with the CFA Society of Minnesota, has been researching renewable energy companies in the region as possible investments for our foundation. The Glenn Potts Financial Trading Room has been the nexus of our research (provided by Dr. Charlie Corcoran).


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

UWRF holds a vast array of events aimed at staff, faculty, and students.

Examples include TEDxUWRiverFalls, City Sampler, We Bike River Falls, Earth Day Activities, Organic Valley Generation Organic Bus Tour, as well as others. UWRF also hosts the St. Croix Summit focused on preserving the resources in the St. Croix and Kinnickinnic river watersheds. Multiple speakers spoke at the conference hosted in the University Center.

Additional 2017 Events:
- Just Eat It Film Showing
- This I Believe Speech (focused on Climate Change)
- Series of Kinni Cooridor Project Tech Talks
- Speaker Father Bud Grant on Environmental Stewardship
- Speaker Judy Freund on "Think Global, Act Local"
- Earth Day Concert
- Arbor Day Tree Planting
- Sustainability themed bingo
- Series on Innovation and Excellence focusing on "Campus Landscaping, Sustainability. Faculty Research and Teaching"
- Ongoing Diversity Dialogues
- Between Earth and Sky Film Showing combined with presentations by the executive producer, David Weindorf.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity (URSCA):

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is dedicated to providing opportunities and resources that foster student-faculty collaborative projects, enhance student development and promote a culture of Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity across campus. It is our goal to both continue and increase support to students, both during the academic year and summer sessions. We will enhance support for faculty and the infusion of URSCA in the curriculum.

Every Fall, the art department has students from multiple courses participate in outdoor art displays, many of which promote the reuse of items.

Fall Gala 2017
A fall showcase event to celebrate the research, scholarly, and creative activity of UWRF students. All disciplines are invited to present their work through posters, art and science displays, short films, and PowerPoint or Prezi presentations.

Posters on the Hill 2017
Nationally, students are selected on a competitive basis to present their research posters at an event that hosts invited guests, including Senators, Congressional Representatives, Congressional Staff, federal agency program officers and the science press corps.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The University is an Educational Partner with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. UWRF Outdoor Education students enrolled in PED 301 - Foundations of Outdoor Leadership will become Certified Leave No Trace Trainers.

The University has outlets to connect students with nature, thereby heightening their appreciation for the natural world, including the services and spiritual connections it can provide. Falcon Outdoor Adventures provides free of charge rental items such as camping gear, cross country skis, rock climbing gear, snow shoes, golf clubs, and fishing poles and leads trips and excursions that range from afternoon and day-long kayaking, hiking, to skiing outings. The Falcon Outdoor Adventure staff is trained in Leave No Trace principles during staff training and is expected to follow these principles during all Falcon Outdoor Adventures trips. In addition, trip leaders are expected to not only demonstrate these principles, but expose our participants to them as well in the hopes that ethical outdoor adventuring becomes contagious.

The Outdoor Education Minor provides a series of outdoor experiences to develop personal skills to prepare students to teach outdoor activities. Leave No Trace principles are emphasized in this training.

A new student organization called the UWRF Outdoor Adventure Collective was formed in Fall 2011 focusing on student-led wilderness trips that use LNT principles and have a focus on sustainable use of the outdoors. The faculty advisor is Paul Shirilla. Student leaders are Outdoor Education minors and Falcon Outdoor Adventures employees.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

In 2015, there was a CONNECTIONS Community in one of the Residence Halls. Learning Communities have varied each year based on need and interests.

Connections is a living and learning community for first-year students living in the residence halls. Participants are not limited by major so anyone is eligible to join, regardless of area of study. Connections offers increased support during the transition from high school to college. The community helps students connect with academic, cultural, and social resources, while providing opportunities to interact with some of the best faculty at UWRF.

The UWRF Student Senate has identified Sustainability as a core theme. Being dedicated to re-focusing on issues that matter to students, this year’s Senate outlined four main initiatives that it will work on throughout the year: sexual assault prevention, mental health, inclusivity on campus, and sustainability.With sustainability as one of its core initiatives this year, Student Senate has formed a committee of students and administrators in an effort to make UW-River Falls more sustainable by pursuing a green fund.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Through the "Sustain Your Brain" event, students are able to learn sustainable life skills. This program is done around finals week when students are stressed and anxious. The event offers free healthy beverages and snacks and promotes recycling/composting. The second portion of the event is a brief set of yoga exercises which focus on breathing and stretching to reduce stress.

UWRF Sustainability Representatives engaged students in learning sustainability life- skills with events such as: DIY Up-Cycle Craft Event to promote relaxation with upcycling goods and relieving stress around finals week, Seasonal Food Event was put on to inform students of our in-season produce and delectable, simple ways to use them (ie. handing out pumpkin energy balls during the fall to provide healthy sustainable snacks during midterms, with nutrition label and recipe attached.)


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

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

Mark Klapatch, Sustainability and Custodial Supervisor employs students who take on sustainability roles.These positions include the duties of STARS data collection, campus communications, sustainability event planning/promoting, and outreach. There is also 1 student dedicated to marketing the surplus property program, recycling initiatives, and sustainability projects.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
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A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:
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The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
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Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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UWRF last did a sustainability graduation pledge in spring 2014.

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.