Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.02
Liaison Nathan King
Submission Date Oct. 15, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
ER-T2-6: Sustainability Events

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.25 Emily Schosid
Campus Sustainability Planner
University Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution hold major events related to sustainability, such as conferences, speaker series, or symposia, that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the event(s):

The Office of Energy and Sustainability, campus departments, and student organizations host sustainability-related events every year both on a reoccurring and non-reoccurring basis. Events that are hosted on an annual basis are listed below, as well as a handful of non-reoccurring events that have been hosted in the past.

Annual Events:

1. Celebrate Sustainability: Celebrate Sustainability (previously known as Sustainability Week) was created from a “Green Partnership” between the Town of Blacksburg, Sustainable Blacksburg, and Virginia Tech. Because of the success of the first Sustainability Week in 2007, the event has become an annual tradition for the Blacksburg community. Celebrate Sustainability features prominent keynote speakers from sustainability-related fields, sustainability workshops, training sessions, movies, and community-wide events.

2. Earth Week: Earth Week is a week-long event lead by the student group, the Environmental Coalition. Each day has a theme, such as “Sustainable Food Monday” and “Transportation Tuesday,” and all activities are focused around the day’s theme. Earth Week features speakers from sustainability-related fields, sustainability workshops, training sessions, movies, interactive games and campus events.

3. America Recycles Day: Virginia Tech hosted its first America Recycles Day event in 2013. It is a national educational day about recycling, where local communities talk to their peers about the importance of recycling. In its first year, the event was focused around Tailgate recycling, as well as asking people why they recycle, taking photos of the answers, and posting them to Facebook.

4. RecycleMania: Virginia Tech participates in RecycleMania annually. RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.

5. Tree plantings: Virginia Tech has held annual tree planting events in association with our Tree Campus USA certification. For more information and highlights from Virginia Tech’s Tree Campus USA certification ceremonies and tree plantings, please see Operations Tier Two Credit 21.

6. Gobblerfest: The Office of Energy and Sustainability (OES) participates in Gobblerfest, which occurs the Friday of the first week of each fall semester. Gobblerfest is a welcome festival for students, faculty, staff, and community members to learn more about Virginia Tech and the Town of Blacksburg community. Attendees can find ways to get involved with student organizations, volunteer opportunities, campus events, and what local businesses have to offer. The OES booth at Gobblerfest promotes Virginia Tech’s ongoing sustainability initiatives and sustainability-related student organizations on campus.

7. Advancing Diversity at Virginia Tech Conference: The Advancing Diversity at Virginia Tech Conference is an annual event sponsored by the AdvanceVT office. The conference highlights the progress that is being made to increase diversity at Virginia Tech. The conference offers a variety of workshops to help build skills and understanding around diversity topics.

8. Ytoss: Ytoss is a recycling program that was created by the YMCA at Virginia Tech in the spring of 2006. Ytoss aims to reduce waste that is discarded during Student Move-Out in order to collect gently used items from students. Items that are collected are cleaned up, stored, and sold at a sale during the fall’s Campus Move-In. The proceeds of the sale help support the YMCA at Virginia Tech’s community outreach and leadership based programs, which frequently serve under-served or at risk members of the community. The purpose of Ytoss is to keep as much as possible out of the local landfill, toting the slogan:“Ytoss it, when you can pass it on?”

9. Lights Out!/Power Down!: Lights Out!/Power Down! is a campus-wide event designed to demonstrate the university’s ability to reduce energy load consumption in the event of an electrical grid emergency condition that could result in outages. The Lights Out!/Power Down! event is part of Virginia Tech’s participation in "Interruptible Load Reliability" (ILR), a demand response program sponsored by regional electric grid operator PJM Interconnection that pays customers in exchange for a commitment to reduce electrical load in the event of an electrical grid emergency condition that could result in outages. Such commitments by large electricity consumers, such as Virginia Tech, help electrical utility companies to meet the peak electricity usage (demand, measured in kilowatts) that typically occurs during hot, humid summer afternoons and early evenings. The ability for their largest consumers to conserve significant amounts of energy allows them to continue to maintain the service needed and avoid brownouts and blackouts without having to install expensive additional capacity.

Non-reoccurring Events:

Key Past Events:

1. Virginia Harvest Celebration Dinner: The Virginia Harvest Celebration Dinner at D2 dining hall showcased the late-summer harvest in Southwest Virginia with fresh seasonal vegetables and locally raised beef, pork, and lamb sourced from the Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm, other Virginia farms, or sustainable food operations. The meal gave students the opportunity to experience a night of local dining inspired by Virginia Tech's 2010 Common Book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. While locally sourced items are increasingly available in the campus dining centers, this was the first all-local/sustainable meal available at D2 — a significant undertaking for the all-you-care-to-eat dining center, as more than 2,000 guests attended the meal! Virginia Tech Dining Services was awarded an honorable mention for the Virginia Harvest Celebration Dinner in the Residential Dining Special Event category from the National Association of College and University Food Services. For an article about Dining Services’ national recognition for special events, please see: http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2011/07/072911-dsa-hortons.html For more information about the Virginia Harvest Celebration Dinner, please see: http://www.unirel.vt.edu/audio_video/VirginiaHarvestCelebration.html


1. Greening Virginia Universities and Colleges Conference: Virginia Tech hosted the Third Annual Virginia Sustainable Building Network (VSBN) “Greening Virginia Universities and Colleges Conference” on October 24, 2008, which was held in conjunction with Sustainability Week 2008. Conference attendees included representatives from higher education from throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information about VSBN, please see: http://www.vsbn.org/

The website URL where information about the event(s) are available:

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