Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Chelsea Hamilton
Submission Date March 3, 2023

STARS v2.2

Vanderbilt University
AC-9: Research and Scholarship

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Chelsea Hamilton
Sustainability Outreach Program Manager
Environmental Health, Safety, and Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total number of employees that conduct research:

Number of employees engaged in sustainability research:

Percentage of employees that conduct research that are engaged in sustainability research:

Total number of academic departments that include at least one employee who conducts research:

Number of academic departments that include at least one employee who conducts sustainability research:

Percentage of departments that conduct research that are engaged in sustainability research:

A copy of the inventory of the institution’s sustainability research (upload):
Inventory of the institution’s sustainability research:

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the research inventory:
Faculty included in the research inventory have either a position on the following research groups or conduct independent sustainability research.
● Members of Vanderbilt’s Climate Change Research Network - The Climate Change Research Network at Vanderbilt includes a team of faculty and graduate students who are conducting theoretical and applied research on one of the most important and most widely overlooked sources of greenhouse gases: individual and household behavior. The Climate Change Research Network is affiliated with the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment. http://law.vanderbilt.edu/academics/academic-programs/environmental-law/climate-change-network/index.php
● Members of The Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and the Environment - The Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and the Environment (VIEE) engages in research and education that directly link the social and behavioral sciences, physical sciences, engineering, law and policy, and that bear on energy and environmental decision making by individuals and by public and private institutions. Specifically, VIEE research elucidates the relationships among individual, institutional, and societal choices for energy production and use, and the impacts and benefits of these choices on the environment and health through links with climate, water quality, economics, social psychology, and natural resources. http://www.vanderbilt.edu/viee/
● Members of VUCO2 - VUCO2 is an interdisciplinary Vanderbilt think tank devoted to climate change issues. It organizes reading groups, speakers, workshops, and retreats and spurs development and refinement of various sustainability research ideas. The think tank is housed in the Philosophy department.
● Members of the Eos Project - The Eos Project supports innovative initiatives at Vanderbilt University to promote understanding of urgent environmental issues and social action-pathways to respond to the challenges of climate change. The goal is to energize attention to environment/society concerns in diverse disciplines and campus constituencies. The project organizes programming and offers small grants and fellowships to support faculty and students to develop the vision, knowledge, leadership skills, and networks needed to address pressing problems at the intersections of ecology and social justice, where the well-being of human communities is inseparable from the well-being of more-than-human life-worlds.
● Members of the Sterling Ranch development group - Sterling Ranch, a 12,000-home planned community south of Denver, will provide a sustainability training site and test bed for Vanderbilt School of Engineering research involving students and professors. The community includes its own commercial space, retail stores and schools. Its design is centered on sustainability and next-generation telecommunications, a focus that’s creating internships and capstone projects for engineering undergraduates plus research opportunities for professors and their teams. The partnership, which includes corporations Mortenson Construction, Siemens and IBM, started with Brock Smethills (BE’13) discussing his idea with David Kosson, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering, and Doug Adams, chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and holder of the Daniel F. Flowers Chair. They brought in a number of other professors across all departments to advance the concept.
● Members of Rooted Community Health - The Rooted Community Health (RCH) initiative seeks to engage partners across the Vanderbilt campus and communities of Middle Tennessee in service to ecological sustainability, health promotion and human flourishing, and an ethically responsible understanding of our interdependency as a community within the vision of population health. Through partnering with the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, colleagues in nutrition services, and other sustainability and health professionals, RCH aims to enhance community engagement through programming around ecology, sustainability, and health care. RCH is committed to facilitating trans-institutional transformation at Vanderbilt and enhancing our community’s health through community engagement, scholarship, and research in ecology, health, and sustainability.
● Members of the Environmental Humanities in Action group - The Environmental Humanities in Action group has the aim of jettisoning the traditional structure of a seminar (without losing the opportunity to share work) and becoming engaged in public, creative projects. The group is planning interactive projects for the Vanderbilt community that cover environmental issues such as climate change.
● Members of the Wond’ry Transportation Working groups - The transportation working groups, facilitated by the Wond’ry, included faculty, staff and students from across the university. The six working groups were charged specifically with formulating actionable steps the university can take related to: Metropolitan Transit Authority / Regional Transportation Authority (MTA/RTA) bus and train adjustments to better service Vanderbilt; Vanderbilt shuttle opportunities; expansion of Uber and Lyft opportunities on campus; expansion of on-campus biking infrastructure and bike programs; potential alternative work arrangements; and vanpools, carpools and other partnerships.
● Members of VECTOR – The Vanderbilt Center for Transportation and Operational Resiliency (VECTOR), established in 1988, has a solid record of achievement and is committed to continued excellence in all three of its mission components—research, education, and outreach. Recognizing the complexity of transportation issues in the private sector and at every level of government, VECTOR emphasizes the integration of transportation engineering, planning, and management. Other distinguishing characteristics of VECTOR’s work include ground-breaking applications of information technology and risk management, systems thinking, and adherence to our statement of shared values.
● Members of the Large Scale Renewable Energy Advisory Committee - As a result of the FutureVU efforts, Vanderbilt chose to study potential options for off-campus, large-scale (larger-than-2MW) renewable energy sources that include distributed solar or wind farms/projects. The renewable energy advisory committee explored options for the use of off-campus renewable energy sources in Vanderbilt's energy portfolio with the following goals: maximize environmental benefit; offset a portion of Vanderbilt’s electric supply; provide intellectual and cultural leadership on this issue; increase renewable energy capacity; and enhance Vanderbilt’s ability to achieve future carbon goals.
● Members of the BlueSky Advisory Committee - As a result of FutureVU efforts, major potential opportunities to reduce Vanderbilt's carbon footprint and improve central campus land use were identified within the university's on-campus energy production, distribution and consumption infrastructure and behavior. The BlueSky Vision Energy Strategy Studyculminated in a "BlueSky Vision" for campus energy. The BlueSky Advisory Committee (BSAC) participated in providing input, advice and feedback to the facilities team managed the BlueSky project and the selected consultant, ultimately resulting in recommendation(s) for consideration by university leadership.
● Members of the Zero Waste Advisory Committee – The Zero Waste Advisory Committeedeveloped a zero-waste plan for Vanderbilt University to include an overarching strategy with milestones and timeline. This plan included the following goals: diversion from landfill to zero waste inclusive of municipal solid waste and construction/demolition waste; waste prevention, reduction, and minimization; aligning with upcoming Metro Nashville Zero Waste Plan; and a robust education and outreach component.
● Members of the Environmental Advisory Committee – The Environmental Advisory Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the university administration in administering a comprehensive environmental management program for Vanderbilt University (VU). The committee advises, develops, and promotes practices and policies that maximize environmental performance for VU operations, research, academics, and patient care and assists in complying with all relevant laws and regulations as well as promotes and integrates sustainability, stewardship, and resource conservation into activities and services.
● Institute for Software Integrated Systems – The Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) is a research organization of the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt University. ISIS conducts basic and applied research in the area of systems and information science and engineering. Applications of ISIS devices, through real-time distributed systems, to globally deployed complex systems. Software is increasingly essential to the functions of these systems, and it is also the primary means of adapting them to their environments and users.
● Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MCURC) – MCURC is a working group of leading scholars, food service business leaders, and executive chefs from invited colleges and universities who are accelerating efforts to move Americans toward healthier, more sustainable plant-forward diets. The project aims to promote sustainable choices at universities to raise awareness among students of the impacts of their food choices later in life.
● Members of the Sustainability Advisory Committee – The Sustainability Advisory Committee was established to guide and support the university’s progress towards its comprehensive long-term sustainability strategy. The committee applies diverse viewpoints, varied expertise and a collective mindset to support the University in reaching its sustainability goals, including Vanderbilt’s carbon neutrality pledge and commitment to achieve zero waste on campus. The committee increases community engagement and inclusion as the university continues integrating and implementing the findings of its recent sustainability planning studies, such as the FutureVU study, BlueSky Energy Vision Study, the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Study and the Zero Waste Study.
● Utility Master Planning Task Force – Members of the Utility Master Planning Task Force is evaluating the current VU utility infrastructure and planning for future improvements to accommodate campus growth, sustainability improvements, and other future changes.
● Climate, Energy, and Environment Forum Members - Faculty associated with the former VIEE and current Climate and Energy Forum come from a number of Vanderbilt's schools and departments, bringing the collective skills and expertise necessary to address today's tough energy and environmental problems, while simultaneously educating tomorrow's leaders.
● Other faculty and staff associated with sustainability related research projects.
‒ http://engineering.vanderbilt.edu/cee/Research/EnergyandEnvironment.php
‒ http://engineering.vanderbilt.edu/cee/faculty-staff/index.php
‒ http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ees/index.php
‒ http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2013/10/device-electricity-silicon-chips/?utm_source=vuhomepage&utm_medium=newsbox&utm_campaign=silicon-chips
‒ http://as.vanderbilt.edu/philosophy/events/vuco2.php
‒ http://eosprojectvu.org/
‒ http://engineering.vanderbilt.edu/news/2015/partnership-with-sustainable-sterling-ranch-offers-research-opportunities-from-the-ground-up/
‒ http://www.vanderbilt.edu/viee/index.php
‒ https://law.vanderbilt.edu/academics/academic-programs/environmental-law/climate-change-network/
‒ https://www.vanderbilt.edu/futurevu/progress.php
‒ https://www.vanderbilt.edu/vector/
‒ https://www.vanderbilt.edu/sustainability/sustainability-advisory-council/
‒ https://www.vanderbilt.edu/sustainability/2022/03/vanderbilt-offers-new-climate-and-environmental-studies-major/
‒ https://www.vanderbilt.edu/viee/news/facultystudents.php

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability research is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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