Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.94
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Dec. 19, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Virginia Tech
EN-4: Outreach Materials and Publications

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Karlee Siepierski
Campus Sustainability Planner
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a central sustainability website that consolidates information about the institution's sustainability efforts?:

A brief description of the central sustainability website (optional):

The Office of Sustainability (OS) website is the central website for sustainability at Virginia Tech. The OS website highlights university sustainability initiatives (such as green building standards, energy efficiency efforts, recycling, and stormwater management) and student-led sustainability initiatives (such as Earth Week, Sustainability Forums, and Ytoss). The website highlights past sustainability events and also promotes upcoming events. Official reports and policy documents are also included on the website, such as the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment, the Annual Report on Campus Sustainability, and the Five-Year Energy Action Plan. The website also highlights Virginia Tech’s accomplishments and awards to date.

The website URL for the central sustainability website:
Does the institution have a sustainability newsletter?:

A brief description of the sustainability newsletter:

There are three newsletters that are prominently focused on sustainability at VT:

1. College of Natural Resources "Newsmagazine": This quarterly publication is available to all campus community members and covers recent outreach, education, and research activities. The newsletter also includes descriptions of upcoming events, as well as the contact information and areas of expertise for each of the Extension faculty members.

2. Sustainable Biomaterials Newsletter: This quarterly publication highlights sustainable work being completed by students, graduate students, and faculty within the department. Some features from the spring 2017 issue are energy saving methods
in producing maple syrup and complex issues with wood-based composite manufacturing.https://sbio.vt.edu/about/news-publications/newsletter/2017/spring-2017-sbio-newsletter.html

3. Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability newsletter & blog: The newsletter and blog both outline the global reach of CLiGS and how sustainable issues affect many different areas of work, for example, corporations, non-profits, local businesses, government, NGO's, and global enterprises. http://cligs.vt.edu/category/blog/

The website URL for the sustainability newsletter:
Does the institution have social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, interactive blogs) that focus specifically on campus sustainability?:

A brief description of the social media platforms that focus on sustainability:

University managed platforms:
- Office of Sustainability Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VTSustainability/
- Office of Sustainability Twitter https://twitter.com/vtsustainable
- Office of Sustainability Instagram https://www.instagram.com/vtsustainable/
- Sustainable Dining Instagram https://www.instagram.com/sustainablediningvt/
- Sustainable Dining Twitter https://twitter.com/VTGreenDining
- Sustainable Dining Facebook https://www.facebook.com/The-Dining-Services-Farm-at-Kentland-148074191876490/
- Alternative Transportation Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VTAlternativeTransportation/

Student group platforms (non-university managed):
- Environmental Coalition Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheECVT/
- Students for Sustainable Practice Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VTSSP/
- Environmental Student Organization Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ESOatVT/

The website URL of the primary social media platform focused on sustainability:
Does the institution have regular coverage of sustainability in the main student newspaper, either through a regular column or a reporter assigned to the sustainability beat?:

A brief description of the regular coverage of sustainability in the main student newspaper:

The Collegiate Timesis an independent, student-run newspaper that serves both Virginia Tech and Blacksburg. Their coverage ranges from football games and town council meetings to movie reviews and political columns. Unpaid staff members include writers, designers, photographers, multimedia producers and copy editors. They also keep a small paid staff of editors who supervise each section. The paper is printed weekly during the academic year, but continuously publishes on their website at collegiatetimes.com. They are also very active on social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Collegiate Times reporter Claire Rigney (VT Multimedia Journalism undergrad student) serves as the paper's environmental beat reporter. She has covered many of the Office of Sustainability's major events, campaigns, and accomplishments, and continues to do so. Below is a sample list of her articles focused on sustainability for the past two years:

The website URL for regular coverage of sustainability in the main student newspaper:
Does the institution produce a vehicle to publish and disseminate student research on sustainability?:

A brief description of the vehicle to publish and disseminate student research on sustainability:

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation supports the university community and its missions by fostering quality research and scholarship, providing access to funding information, enhancing the ability to respond to national research priorities and pursue opportunities, encouraging and directing inquiry into new and emerging fields, promoting solutions to problems and advances of basic knowledge in diverse disciplines and through interdisciplinary cooperation, ensuring compliance with policies and procedures related to research, marketing faculty talent and university capabilities within the university community and to external audiences, and fostering partnerships with outside agencies and businesses. We are building future research capability based on these traditional and unique strengths. Guided by the Virginia Tech Long-Range Plan - A Plan for a New Horizon: Envisioning Virginia Tech, 2012-2018, we are focused on the following:
Cyber- security
Food security
Management and security of communication systems (such as wireless, networks, and smart grids)
Resilence of complex systems
System stability and resilience of ecosystems
Planning for stability in communities of all sizes
Global health issues
Methods grounded in high-performance computing and networks
Energy, materials, and technology
Water science, policy, and management
Transportation and communication infrastructures
Natural resources, ecosystems, and environmental quality
Informatics and policy
Food and food systems
Sustainable international development

Below are links to several vehicles to showcase student research on sustainability:
Virginia Tech Research Magazine: https://magazine.research.vt.edu/
Virginia Tech Research Blog: http://blogs.lt.vt.edu/ResearchBlog/
Inventors of the Month: https://www.research.vt.edu/inventors-of-the-month
Scholar of the Week: https://www.research.vt.edu/scholar-of-the-week

Additionally, The Virginia Tech News website is the comprehensive database for news articles from the university. The website allows students, faculty, staff, and the community to subscribe to specific News feed categories via email, cell phone, or other devices compatible with RSS feeds. The categories are divided by topic (such as Diversity, Energy, or Environment), or by designated College (such as the College of Natural Resources and Environment or the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences). Many of these categories within the News feed contain sustainability-related news and research. A Campus Sustainability news feed was added to the Virginia Tech News RSS feeds. The Campus Sustainability news feed consolidates sustainability-related news articles into an easily accessible news feed.

Additionally, there is a designated Research category that allows users to view the most recently published research by students, faculty, and staff. Many of these articles pertain to sustainability, and the Research category can be searched to specifically find sustainability-related research articles. To view the Research News Feed on the VT News website, please see http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/feeds/research.html
To view the entire VT News Feed list, please see: http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/feeds/index.html

The website URL for the vehicle to publish and disseminate student research on sustainability:
Does the institution have building signage that highlights green building features?:

A brief description of building signage that highlights green building features :

The Henderson Hall Renovation and the Theatre 101 Addition project was Virginia Tech’s first project to receive LEED certification. The project received the LEED Gold rating and earned Innovation credits for interpretive building signage that was created by students. The LEED interpretive signage is placed in locations appropriate for highlighting the particular feature described including; material usage, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water conservation, sustainable land use and design innovation. In addition, the lobby holds a sign describing LEED with a floor plan to show where each of the interpretive signs are located.

The same LEED interpretative building signage was adapted to the ICTAS II building. ICTAS II encompasses 42,190 square feet of research laboratories, office space, and conference rooms supporting inter-disciplinary, collaborative research efforts at the university. Opened in 2011, the building has been recognized by the Green Building Certification Institute as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified to the Gold level.Green and Sustainable features of the ICTAS II building include:
Energy cost savings (23.8%) and energy use savings (15.4%) over a baseline building model achieved by the water-cooled chiller, central steam supply, variable frequency fan drives, high performance window glass, and efficient exterior lighting.
Exterior shading from window overhangs and vertical fins.
Green cleaning/housekeeping program.
Open exterior space (29,040 sf) over twice the building footprint (13,980 sf).
Use of low-emitting materials for adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, carpet, composite woods and agrifiber products.
Interior lighting (occupancy sensors) and comfort (CO2 monitors) controls.
Alternative transportation including public access to bus routes, bicycle storage, and a change room.
Storm water design including bioretention for quantity and quality control and porous pavers.
Water efficient landscaping including native plants and no irrigation.
Enhanced commissioning during startup and refrigerant management.
Construction waste management with over 80% diverted to recycling/reuse.
Materials recycled content over 10%, regional materials over 10%, and use of certified wood.

The website URL for building signage that highlights green building features :
Does the institution have signage and/or brochures that include information about sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the signage and/or brochures that include information about sustainable food systems:

Virginia Tech’s Dining Services promotes information about local and sustainable foods. Signage can be found in dining centers for the following products:

Dining Services Farm at Kentland Farm: The DSF produces fruits, vegetables, and herbs specifically for Virginia Tech Dining Services. Look for signs in the dining centers letting you know what dishes have ingredients sourced from our farm.

Virginia Tech Meat Science Center: The VT Meat Science Center processes meat grown by Virginia Tech. You can find these products and accompanying signage at D2 at Dietrick Hall, West End Market, Owens Food Court, and Blue Ridge Barbeque in Hokie Grill.

Virginia Tech Milk: VT Milk is produced by the Cows at the Virginia Tech Dariy Science Complex at Kentland Farm. The cows at the Dairy Complex are milked twice a day bystudents and the milk is then processed and pasturized in Goochland Virginia. You can find VT Milk and accompanying signage at D2 and Deet's Place.

Direct Trade Coffee: Dining Services’ coffee shop, Deet’s Place at Dietrick Hall, purchases direct-trade coffee from a sustainable coffee plantation in Nicaragua. All cups include artwork and verbage on the growers.

Dining Services also provides sustainability-related signage when they have special events. The “Plant the Seed Display” is used to promote Dining Services’ sustainability initiatives during events such as the twice-annual tradition of having a local special meal and new student orientation.

Additionally, signs are displayed whenever Dining Services serves local Homestead Creamery Ice Cream. Table cards are also utilized on occasion to highlight sustainable food items and promote sustainability.

The website URL for food service area signage and/or brochures that include information about sustainable food systems:
Does the institution have signage on the grounds about sustainable groundskeeping and/or landscaping strategies employed?:

A brief description of the signage on the grounds about sustainable groundskeeping and/or landscaping strategies employed:

The Office of University Planning created the Meadow Grass interpretive signage to highlight Virginia Tech’s sustainable grounds-keeping strategies. The Meadow Grass interpretive signage includes a description of sustainable grounds-keeping strategies in 18 locations around campus.

The website URL for the signage on the grounds about sustainable groundskeeping and/or landscaping strategies employed:

Does the institution produce a sustainability walking map or tour?:

A brief description of the sustainability walking map or tour:

The website URL of the sustainability walking map or tour:

Does the institution produce a guide for commuters about how to use more sustainable methods of transportation?:

A brief description of the guide for commuters about how to use more sustainable methods of transportation:

Alternative Transportation Materials

The Alternative Transportation website serves as the comprehensive resource for commuters to find and use alternative methods of transportation. The website features alternative transportation options such as the ZipCar program, the Commuter Alternatives Program (which includes Carpool programs and the Bike, Bus, & Walk program), the Ridesharing program, Vanpooling, Flexible Work Options, and Discounted Smart Way bus passes.

The Heads Up Hokies campaign encourages Hokies and community members traveling across campus on foot, bike, or by bus or car to keep their heads up and pay attention to their surroundings. This is particularly important in shared road spaces (those supporting multiple modes of transportation, such as walking, biking, or driving) because of the additional types of interactions that can occur. Heads up Hokies signage can be seen on sidewalks at major crosswalks on campus, on bumper stickers and bike stickers, and on social media. https://parking.vt.edu/about/heads-up-hokies.html

The website URL for the guide for commuters about how to use more sustainable methods of transportation:
Does the institution produce navigation and educational tools for bicyclists and pedestrians (e.g. covering routes, inter-modal connections, policies, services, and safety)? :

A brief description of the navigation and educational tools for bicyclists and pedestrians:

Alternative Transportation releases a campus bike map each year to promote safe and sustainable biking. https://parking.vt.edu/content/dam/parking_vt_edu/alternative-transportation/alt-trans-bike-map.pdf

The following materials are also made available to cyclists and pedestrians:
Bike fix-it stations: https://parking.vt.edu/content/dam/parking_vt_edu/maps/fixit.pdf
Emergency Bike Kits: https://vtbikes.wordpress.com/more-info/emergency-bike-kits/
VT/Town of Blacksburg Comparisons: https://parking.vt.edu/content/dam/parking_vt_edu/alternative-transportation/vt-and-blacksburg-bike-policies.pdf
General Bicycling: https://parking.vt.edu/alternative/local/bicycling.html
Pedestrians: Heads up Hokies https://parking.vt.edu/about/heads-up-hokies.html

The website URL for navigation and educational tools for bicyclists and pedestrians:
Does the institution produce a guide for green living and/or incorporating sustainability into the residential experience?:

A brief description of the guide for green living and incorporating sustainability into the residential experience:

University Offices are allowed to submit materials to be given out to every student who lives in the residence halls. The packet of information awaits them on their bed as they move into their dorms for the first time. Starting in 2014, the Office of Energy and Sustainability created materials to be included in this packet of information. The materials include a guide on how to recycle in the residence halls, green alternatives to bring to college, and how to reduce energy in the residence halls. Each year, the Green Living Guide is updated with the most relevant information for students. The guide is printed and distributed to dorms each year, and is not currently available online.

The website URL for the guide for green living and incorporating sustainability into the residential experience:

Does the institution produce other sustainability outreach materials or publications not covered above?:

A brief description of these materials or publications:

The Catawba Sustainability Center, a 377 acre property situated in the Catawba Valley, is located in the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay. It is 10 miles from the Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport, 22 miles from the Blacksburg campus, and directly adjacent to the internationally recognized Appalachian Trail. The Center falls under Virginia Tech Outreach and International Affairs in collaboration with Virginia Cooperative Extension and Roanoke County. The Center showcases innovative land-management practices that create environmental stewardship and advance economic development initiatives; and lends support to new agriculture and natural-resource businesses.
Faculty and students find this outdoor classroom beneficial to conducting research as well as demonstrating, teaching, and evaluating sustainable practices. Programs and classes address issues of water quality and quantity, green energy, food security, increased crop production, and green building design that will shape a sustainable future.

Outreach materials and publications include:

The website URL for these materials or publications:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The 2016-2017 Sustainability Annual Report was presented to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and accepted on November 5, 2017.

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.