Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 63.21
Liaison Mark Klapatch-Mathias
Submission Date June 30, 2021

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Mark Klapatch-Mathias
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the 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 maintains the UWRF Student Garden and provides educational opportunities to the campus and community through 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 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.

We Bike River Falls promotes bicycle friendly transportation and recreation options through education and awareness. Join us for a community bike ride!

The Green Team is the newest sustainability related student organization. They focus on sustainability in a broad sense but have a particular interest in moving towards zero waste.

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?:

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.

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

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 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 student run 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. We keep sustainability front and center throughout our courses as we teach about the plants used for landscape use and for edible production, varieties, ways to best grow them, etc. 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.

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?:

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

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?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

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

Examples include the sustainability cinema series, City Sampler, We Bike River Falls, Sustainability Fairs, Climate Action Panel, Earth Day Activities, as well as others. UWRF also hosts the St. Croix Summit open to students focused on preserving the resources in the St. Croix and Kinnickinnic river watersheds. Multiple speakers spoke at the conference hosted in the University Center.

All events are advertised on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SustainableUWRF

UWRF also hosted the 2020 Virtual UW System Sustainability Annual Meeting which included a variety of speakers from across the state as well as two sessions on the intersectionality between diversity and sustainability.

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?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

Every Fall, the art department has students from multiple courses participate in outdoor art displays, many of which promote the reuse of items. One specific project focusing on sustainability was an installation bringing awareness to pipelines. Another recent installation drew attention to plastic waste found in nearby waterways.

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.

Fall Gala 2020
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 2019
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.

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

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.


Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

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

The UWRF Student Government Association has identified sustainability as a core theme for multiple years. Being dedicated to re-focusing on issues that matter to students, the Student Government Association 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, Student Government formed a committee of students and administrators in an effort to make UW-River Falls more sustainable by pursuing a green fund. They also sponsored a sustainability week series of events and a sustainability culture survey. The continue to fund student employment positions for the Office of Sustainability.

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

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

UWRF Sustainability Representatives engaged students in learning sustainable 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 (i.e. handing out pumpkin energy balls during the fall to provide healthy sustainable snacks during midterms, with nutrition label and recipe attached.)

A Self-Care Fair was also held during the Fall 2019 semester promoting ways for people to sustain themselves.

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

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 one student dedicated to marketing the surplus property program, recycling initiatives, and sustainability projects.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

UWRF last did a sustainability graduation pledge in spring 2014.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.