Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.83
Liaison Parker Long
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Virginia Commonwealth University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Joseph Costa
Sustainability Projects and Program Coordinator
Sustainability
"---" 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:

Green Unity 4 VCU is a student led organization that focuses on promoting sustainability at VCU through service and education. This organization works directly with the Center for Environmental Studies as well as student groups and local organizers. Their focus is VCU and the Richmond community with the belief that change can start here where students can see their impacts. Green Unity’s aim is to promote cooperation and teamwork among students, faculty and staff from different schools and units within the university, as each will have unique skills and expertise to share. They work with local organizations and businesses to promote sustainability, conservation and overall, a more environmentally-friendly quality of life. Green Unity has a presence on both the Monroe Park and the MCV Campuses and is open to all students on both campuses.

Eat Green At VCU Is a student-led organization that promotes dietary choice as a means of personal healthcare and environmental protection.


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:

VCU has both Learning and Community gardens, located on the Monroe Park and Medical College campuses respectively.

Our Learning Garden serves as an educational space, providing hands-on agricultural instruction for student volunteers and a unique opportunity to learn about the subtleties of urban farming. Students work with the Garden Coordinator to grow produce, develop garden projects for increased yield and lessened environmental impact, as well as maintain the physical space of the garden. All produce grown at the Learning Garden is donated to community partners within VCU and Richmond focused on healthy food education and alleviating food insecurity.

The Community Garden is located on VCU's medical campus and offers students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to lease raised bed space and share communal supplies in order to tend their own garden on campus. The garden consists of fourteen 5'x14' raised beds (each of which can be divided into thirds), three compost bins, and four storage benches where communal supplies are kept. Plot leases are available for purchase by all members of the VCU community in a variety of packages that aim to work with students' and staff's variable schedules. All plots in the community garden are currently rented.


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)?:
No

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
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The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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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:

The Student Sustainability Advisory Council is currently developing a campaign for a green fee that would go towards funding student chosen sustainability initiatives, possibly to be used in a revolving fund.


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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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:

VCU has a variety of sustainability events throughout the academic year, including: Move-in day, Campus Sustainability Day, America Recycles Day, RecycleMania, VCU Bike Week, VCU Earth Week, Arbor Day, and Move-Out Day. Additionally, VCU hosts conferences such as the 4th Annual Greening VA Universities and Colleges Conference, 1st Annual VA Governors Conference on Energy and VCU Energy & Sustainability Conference. Guest speakers, such as Jeremy Rifkin and Joel Salatin, are also scheduled. Coming Earth Day 2018, Vandan Shiva is speaking.


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:

The Rams Community Bazaar is an event designed to promote community, creativity, and sustainability in the Richmond area by providing a haven for economic and cultural exchange that appeals to the VCU student body, alumni, and the Richmond community. This event happens annually, usually around Earth Day.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
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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 VCU Sports Recreation's Outdoor Adventure Program (OAP) serves VCU students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests by providing low-cost outdoor activity-based trips, including whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, canoeing, caving, hiking, backpacking and skiing. On all of the trips every effort is taken to leave the campsite in better condition than it was found. The Outdoor Adventure Program takes the steps to ensure that no one leaves any trash or harms the environment on their trips.


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:

VCU proudly kicked off its Year of the Environment Oct. 1, 2009, at the VCU Rice Center. Throughout the year, the university hosted a variety of events associated with the initiative, including workshops, lectures and other events available to the VCU and the greater Richmond communities.


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:

VCU ASPiRE is a living-learning program promoting community engagement through academic coursework and co-curricular experiences. The mission of VCU ASPiRE is to enrich and deepen students’ understanding of their capacity to create positive change in communities and address critical societal needs through long-term sustainable partnerships. Environmental sustainability is addressed in the ASPiRE curriculum.


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:

The VCU Office of Sustainability seeks student interns who are passionate about promoting sustainability on campus. Intern positions include a graphic design intern and general support interns. Responsibilities held by interns include overseeing communications, supporting staff projects and research, and attending weekly meetings with staff. Interns also have the opportunity to create and manage independent suitability 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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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.