Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Parker Long
Submission Date Aug. 27, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Commonwealth University
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Parker Long
Sustainability Reporting and Outreach Coordinator
Facilities Management - Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
VCU Gardens

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

The VCU Office of Sustainability's gardening program supports access to learning about gardening, growing fresh produce and furthering food education. VCU's gardening program provides the following benefits:

- Helps alleviate food insecurity at VCU and in Richmond via regular produce donations to our community partners;
- Provides hands-on, educational opportunities related to gardening, food access and food systems; and
- Offers and cares for growing spaces for students, staff and faculty on campus, and creates universally-accessible spaces that enrich the lives of those in our community.

The VCU gardening program consists of:

The MCV Community Garden that strives to provide faculty, staff and students with space to grow their own food and flowers.

The Monroe Park Campus Learning Garden works with the VCU and Richmond communities to increase access to healthy food as well as provide education around how healthy food can be grown and prepared.


Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Food & Dining
Grounds

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
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A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
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Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
VCU Free Store

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

The Virginia Commonwealth University Office of Sustainability operates the VCU Free Store that serves as an inclusive, on-campus resource to address basic necessities of living for members of the VCU community.

The Free Store promotes equitable access to everyday needs like school/art supplies, electronics, home goods and more, while keeping usable goods out of our landfills. VCU students are able to take home items they need for school or their home at no cost to reduce their financial burden of moving and attending school.

Each semester, the Free Store partners with VCU Housing to host a Student Move-Out Donation Drive where thousands of items are donated and later reused by new students.


Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Waste
Diversity & Affordability

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
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A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
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Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
VCU Community Forestry

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

The Virginia Commonwealth University Community Forestry Program partners with local community organizations in and around Richmond, Virginia, to plan and implement tree planting projects, provide tree maintenance, and estimate tree benefits. Through this program, VCU engages with local communities to support and elevate urban forestry practices that provide a variety of benefits. Benefits include, but are not limited to, helping reduce or prevent the urban heat island effect, fostering a sense of community and building relationships, and highlighting the importance of sustainable practices.

In 2018, the Virginia Commonwealth University Community Forestry Program partnered with the Carver Area Civic Improvement League (CACIL), VCU Center for Environmental Studies and the Richmond Tree Stewards to plant 62 trees in the Carver neighborhood. The program also invited VCU faculty and students to help inventory street trees and evaluate the ecosystems they provide within the neighborhood. The Office of Sustainability has continued to maintain the trees through weekly waterings during the summer and pruning and weeding throughout the fall and spring seasons.

During Spring 2021, the Office of Sustainability partnered with the Amelia Street School in Richmond to plant over 100 trees on the school grounds. This project was organized with a grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry and with support from Amelia Street School, Enrichmond TreeLab, Richmond Parks and Recreation Department, and the VCU Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics. The planting was designed to mimic a natural forest environment with a variety of native trees and perennials in order to foster opportunities for outdoor learning for students and to create a new public space for the residents of the area. The project also aimed to increase Richmond's tree canopy, in effect helping combat the city's heat island effect.


Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Public Engagement
Air & Climate
Grounds

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
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A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:
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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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.