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

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
PAE-20: Inter-Campus Collaboration on Sustainability

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Dennis Cochrane
Director, Office of Sustainability
Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure and Facilities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution collaborate with other colleges and universities to support and help build the campus sustainability community?:

A brief summary of papers, guides, presentations, and other resources the institution has developed to share their sustainability experience with other institutions:

The Office of Energy and Sustainability (OES) has prepared documentation and given presentations to representatives of other institutions at events held at the local/regional, state, and national levels. For example, during Sustainability Week 2014 OES prepared and delivered a live webinar titled “Let’s Invent the Green Future” which showcased sustainability accomplishments and ongoing initiatives, and encouraged engagement from the university and surrounding community. This webinar is posted on the OES website and can be used as a training vehicle for Virginia Tech and other colleges and universities. At the state level, OES has presented a number of STARS briefings to include one at the Environment Virginia Symposium (see below) showcasing our innovative electronic word template for gathering data and information in a simple and efficient manner. We have given presentations and served as panel members in several AASHE national conferences.

The names of local, state, regional, national, and other campus sustainability organizations or consortia in which the institution participates and/or is a member:


Virginia Tech, the Town of Blacksburg, the Town of Christiansburg, and Montgomery County are the four jurisdictional members of the Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority (MRSWA). The authority serves as the Municipal Transfer Facility (MRF) for our primary recycling material and trash. While not a jurisdictional member, nearby Radford University utilizes MRSWA for their recycling materials. MRSWA hosts monthly operational meetings to review current procedures, trends, upcoming initiatives and events, and concerns. Virginia Tech and Radford University routinely use this venue to share ongoing recycling practices and ideas for future activities. Examples include discussions on recycling operations to support student move-in in the fall and student move-out in the spring, programs for America Recycles Day in November, programs for RecycleMania in February/March, and programs for Earth Day in April. MRSWA hosts upcoming events for both universities of their website: www.mrswa.com


1. Virginia Sustainability in Higher Education (VASHE) Consortium: Patterned after the national level Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the consortium provides a venue for all sustainability coordinators serving at public and private colleges and universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia to share sustainability information, best practices and ideas. Established in 2008 VASHE is a listserv that facilitates close collaboration among those on the front lines charged with leading the advancement of sustainability at their institution. VASHE members typically meet during other scheduled events to discuss relevant sustainability topics. On August 5, 2014 the University of Virginia Director of Sustainability hosted our first-ever VASHE Summit at their nearby Morven Farm. Attendees came from 12 institutions: James Madison University, University of Virginia, William and Mary, Ferrum, Washington and Lee, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia Military Institute, Hollins, Virginia Tech, and Radford. The agenda and group photo are shown here.
Agenda: (Insert URL)
Photo: http://www.it.vpas.vt.edu/docs/sust/PAE20/VASHE_SummitAtUVa_Aug_5_2014.jpg

2. Environment Virginia Symposium: For the past 25 years the “Environment Virginia Symposium” has provided the Commonwealth of Virginia with a forum for the exchange of information, technology, and ideas pertaining to Virginia’s environment. The aim of this annual symposium has been to support a cooperative approach to identifying and addressing environmental challenges and opportunities. Held each spring at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, this three day symposium is hosted by the state’s Secretary of Natural Resources. Attendees include representatives from all state agencies involved with advancing sustainability and all educational institutions including Virginia Tech. See: http://www.vmi.edu/Conferences/EV/Environment_Virginia/ The 26th Annual EVS will be held March 31-April 2.


1. Virginia Tech is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and all university faculty, staff and students have access to their resources. Members of the Office of Energy and Sustainability attend AASHE conferences and have given presentations.

2. Virginia Tech is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the Society for College and University Planners (SCUP), and the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (formally the Association for Physical Plant Administrators).

3. Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering has a listing of selected faculty and their areas of expertise. See the “Faculty Expertise Guide for 2014-2016” at:

A brief summary of additional ways the institution collaborates with other campuses to advance sustainability :

In 2013 Virginia Tech partnered in collaborative research projects at institutions in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Our researchers participated in 307 projects as the primary collaborator, and 318 projects as a subcontracting collaborator. Many of the projects were focused on sustainability topics. Examples include the following:

The Center for Advanced Separation Technologies - The goal of the consortium is to develop advanced technologies that can be used to produce clean solid, liquid and gaseous fuels from domestic energy resources in an efficient and environmentally acceptable manner. Member institutions are Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, University of Kentucky, University of Utah and Montana Tech. CAST website: http://www.cast.centers.vt.edu/index.html

Defense Coastal/Estuarine Research Program - Based at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and led by the Research Triangle Institute, the program includes researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Duke University, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, Virginia Tech, University of South Carolina, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, Beaufort, NC, U. S. Geological Survey (Raleigh, NC, office), Atmospheric Research and Analysis, Inc., and Porter Scientific Inc. DC/ERP website: https://dcerp.rti.org/

DOE Energy Frontiers Research Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation - Pennsylvania State University is the lead institution with partners at North Carolina State University and Virginia Tech. The center is focused on developing a detailed understanding of lignocellulose, the main structural material in plants, from cellulose synthesis and fibril formation to a mature plant cell wall, forming a foundation for significant advancement in sustainable energy and materials.
Website: http://www.lignocellulose.org/

Oak Ridge Associated Universities and Oak Ridge National Laboratory - As a consortium of 97 major Ph.D.-granting academic institutions, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) cultivates collaborative partnerships that enhance the scientific research and education enterprise. ORAU partners with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to provide members access to the world-class scientific facility. Virginia Tech has been a member since 1949 and the university's representative, Terry Herdman, is a member of the ORAU board of directors. And Virginia Tech is one of the eight universities that partners with UT-Battelle to manage ORNL. Website.
Wood-Based Composites Center - Virginia Tech partners with Mississippi State University, University of Maine, Oregon State University, University of Minnesota, and University of British Columbia to advance the science and technology of wood-based composite materials. Website: http://www.orau.org/

National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC)
The Center for Advanced Forestry Systems - The center bridges top forestry research programs with industry members to solve complex, industry-wide problems. University partners are Virginia Tech, North Carolina State University, University of Georgia, University of Florida, Purdue, University of Washington, Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and University of Maine.
Website: http://research.cnr.ncsu.edu/cafs/

The Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems - The center brings together industries in a consortium to support research at Virginia Tech, Clemson University, and the University of Texas at Dallas in energy harvesting from various environmental sources such as light, temperature gradient, wind, and vibrations at nano and macro scales. Virginia Tech is the lead institution. Muhammad Hajj is the contact (mhajj@vt.edu). Website:http://www.me.vt.edu/cehms/

The Wood-Based Composites Center - The center conducts materials science research to advance the science and technology of wood-based composite materials, including manufacturing process and performance of wood-based composites and adhesives. Website:http://wbc.vt.edu/industry/

Outreach Partnerships
Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program - SANREM CRSP is sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development's Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade Bureau and managed by the Office of International Research, Education, and Development at Virginia Tech. The objective is to support sustainable agriculture and natural resource management decision makers in developing countries by providing access to appropriate data, knowledge, tools, and methods of analysis; and by enhancing their capacity to make better decisions to improve livelihoods and the sustainability of natural resources. Website: http://www.oired.vt.edu/sanremcrsp/

Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Program (IPM CRSP) - Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a holistic approach to reducing damage caused by pests without harming the environment. The IPM Collaborative Research Support Program, or IPM CRSP, is a large, multi-year effort supported by USAID to introduce and maintain IPM best practices in developing countries around the world. Among the approaches embraced by IPM are: the adoption of pest-resistant varieties of crops; biological and physical control methods; environmental modification; bio-pesticides; and when absolutely necessary, non-residual, environmentally-friendly and low mammalian-toxic chemical pesticides. The IPM Innovation Lab trains farmers, scientists, and students in integrated pest management (IPM), an environmentally-friendly, sustainable approach to reducing plant and crop damage caused by pests. See: http://www.oired.vt.edu/ipmcrsp/about-us/

For a complete list of University Partnerships see: http://www.research.vt.edu/university-partnerships

The website URL where information about cross-campus collaboration is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.