Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.78
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
EN-1: Student Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.88 / 4.00 Nathan King
Sustainability Manager
Facilities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Number of students enrolled for credit:
36,882

Total number of students served by a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program:
36,882

Percentage of students served by a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program:
100

Name of the student educators program (1st program):
Student Sustainability Internship Program

A brief description of the student educators program (1st program):

The Office of Sustainability Internship Program blends real-world projects with practical skills-based professional development courses to prepare students for a career in the sustainability field.

By encouraging creativity, ownership, and collaboration, students will learn what it is like to enter a constantly changing world and work in a constantly changing field.

The primary goals of the program are to:

1. Cultivate the skills needed by young sustainability professionals.
2. Advance Virginia Tech’s sustainability goals through creative engagement.
3. Encourage peer-to-peer learning through communications, campaigns, events, and projects.

The Office of Sustainability is committed to providing a valuable experience by offering students the opportunity for rapid personal and professional growth. The projects the students take on, paired with professional development classes and other trainings, will allow students to both sharpen and expand their environmental professional skill sets.

The Student Sustainability Internship Program consists of 20 student interns serving on 4 different teams. Teams include:

1. Energy Outreach Team: The energy team works to reduce energy use on and off campus and decrease Virginia Tech's carbon footprint. The team will complete projects in partnership with the Office of Energy Management, Alternative Transportation, University Planning, as well as other campus departments and organizations. Members will also engage students, faculty, and staff to educate individuals on energy saving practices.

2. Waste Outreach Team: The waste team works to reduce the amount of waste that is produced at Virginia Tech, and to dispose, recycle, or reuse where appropriate. Waste is inclusive of trash, recycling, and compost material. The team will work with Sustainable Dining, the Office of University Planning, and other campus departments and organizations. Members will also engage the campus community to promote proper waste sorting and reuse of items to decrease Virginia Tech's environmental footprint.

3. Water Outreach Team: The water team works to improve a variety of site, infrastructure, and water issues on campus; including stormwater management, grounds maintenance & development, and water conservation practices. The team will work with the Office of University Planning, Site & Infrastructure Development, and other campus departments and organizations. Members will also engage the campus community to promote water conservation practices that can be applied in everyday life.

4. Food Outreach Team: The food team works to critically assess the sourcing, consumption, and disposal or food on Virginia Tech's campus and within the dining halls. The team will work with Sustainable Dining as well as other campus departments and organizations. Members will also promote locally sourced food and work to decrease food waste on campus through campaigns marketed toward the university community.

Each intern team has a communications representative. The communications representative team is responsible for supporting their team in their design, social media, and marketing needs. The main goal of the communications representative is to elevate the internship program’s work to all university and broader community audiences, and to promote student events on campus. The communications representatives also coordinate with sustainability student groups from other colleges and universities to share ideas and collaborate on events.

Programs include:
Clothing and Thrift Swaps
Ytoss support and programming
OZZI Reusable To-Go Campaigns
Waste Audits & food waste audits
Earth Week programming
Sustainability Week programming
World Water Day event planning and execution
Sustainably-focused outreach to local elementary and middle school children
Partnerships with town organizations (e.g. Wonder Universe Children's Museum)
Writing master plans for sustainable growth of VT

The student intern program was featured in the following article: https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2020/07/sustainability-2021interns.html?utm_source=cmpgn_news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=vtUnirelNewsStudentCMP_student-071520


A brief description of the student educators program’s target audience (1st program):

The student interns with the VT Office of Sustainability aim to reach fellow students, faculty, staff, and members of the Blacksburg and Christiansburg communities.


Number of trained student educators (1st program):
20

Number of weeks the student educators program is active annually (1st program):
32

Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per trained student educator (1st program):
10

Total number of hours worked annually by trained student educators (1st program):
6,400

Website URL where information about the student educators program is available (1st program):
Name of the student educators program (2nd program):
Office of Sustainability Game Day Green Team

A brief description of the student educators program (2nd program):

Football games bring thousands of fans onto campus, which means that tons of additional waste is created, especially during tailgates. As part of Virginia Tech’s commitment to sustainability, the Office of Sustainability's student Game Day Green Team game day recycling initiative encourages tailgaters to recycle their bottles and cans. The Game Day Green Team is led and managed by students, where they manage supplies, recruit volunteers, work with the Facilities department on waste collection, and execute the program on each home game day. The volunteers then complete the following:

- Gather at the YMCA at Virginia Tech's Lancaster House and spend one to two hours volunteering, which will end about a half an hour before game time
- Split into groups of five to ten people and assigned a parking lot
- Walk around the assigned lot and hand out blue recycling bags to tailgaters
- Educate tailgates on what to recycle and what to throw away and answer any questions tailgaters may have about recycling
- Receive a Game Day Green Team t-shirt to wear and keep
(Volunteering at every game is not required. Individuals can pick which game(s) they would like to volunteer for during sign up)

Volunteers follow this script when talking to tailgaters:
It is now easier than ever to recycle as a tailgater! There are recycling flags posted in the Coliseum, Stadium, Track/Field House, Chicken Hill, and Litton Reeves parking lots where you can obtain additional free blue recycling bags. Plastic bottles, glass bottles, aluminum cans, plastic cups (such as Solo cups), and clean cardboard can all be recycled. Filled recycling bags should be left at a recycling flag. Paper plates, napkins, styrofoam, and food waste are not recyclable and should not be included in the bag.


A brief description of the student educators program’s target audience (2nd program):

The target audience for the Game Day Green Team volunteers are the people tailgating at Virginia Tech football games. This includes VT students, family members, employees, alumni, fans, and members of opposing teams' communities as well.


Number of trained student educators (2nd program):
82

Number of weeks the student educators program is active annually (2nd program):
7

Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per trained student educator (2nd program):
2

Total number of hours worked annually by trained student educators (2nd program):
1,148

Website URL where information about the student educators program is available (2nd program):
Name of the student educators program (3rd program):
Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED)

A brief description of the student educators program (3rd program):

Since 1992, the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) has provided encouragement and support to engineering students, focusing on the under-represented population. The CEED office recognizes that Virginia Tech students are among the best and brightest, and assists them in achieving excellence.

CEED Objectives and Goals:
- To increase the diversity of students who apply to, enroll, and graduate from the College of Engineering
- To increase the awareness of engineering and other technical fields as an exciting and rewarding career path to a diverse population
- To provide academic, professional, and personal support programs
- To provide support to student organizations that support our mission, including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and Council for the Advancement of Minority Engineering Organizations
- To foster collaboration between CEED, the University, industry, and the local community

How the program works: This program is only possible because of the engineering students who participate in it. Engineering students are trained and assigned to groups of incoming freshman engineering students to provide support in all areas touched on in the above objectives and goals list. The trained students become experts on the above objectives and goals and use their expertise to educate their peers and promote success of underrepresented and underserved groups in the field of engineering, thus resulting in a more equitable, diverse, and socially sustainable environment for all students within the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

This program supports goals of enhanced social sustainability by encouraging and supporting diverse groups to pursue education and career paths that they have traditionally had limited access to or have been discouraged from pursuing either intentionally or unintentionally due to systemic faults such as economic divides.

This is a peer-to-peer program. Engineering students (sophomore and above) serve as mentors and educators to freshmen and transfer engineering students (of all academic levels). It is a common practice that the students who enter this program as mentees go on to serve as mentors in this program in their later years at Virginia Tech, resulting in a continued cycle of peer-to-peer education.


A brief description of the student educators program’s target audience (3rd program):

Incoming engineering students who are members of under-represented populations (both freshmen and transfer).


Number of trained student educators (3rd program):
54

Number of weeks the student educators program is active annually (3rd program):
32

Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per trained student educator (3rd program):
5

Total number of hours worked annually by trained student educators (3rd program):
8,640

Website URL where information about the student educators program is available (3rd program):
A brief description of all other student peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs:

The Virginia Tech Honors College provides honors students with the opportunity to teach reading seminars on books and topics chosen by those students to their peers. Honors Reading Seminars are small, active, collaborative, discussion-based classes in which students meet to read about and explore topics of common interest. Peer educators propose the topics for their individual reading seminars, create the reading lists and schedules, and facilitate the group's class meetings. Reading seminar participants earn one honors credit.

Honors College reading seminars help students explore topics they care about in a small, supportive community that fosters creativity, critical thinking, and the sharing of diverse perspectives. These courses allow honors students to examine these topics in great depth with a group of engaged colleagues. Moreover, these classes help students develop confidence in their ideas, interpretations, and public speaking abilities. Finally, reading seminars help students meet and learn about other honors students they might not otherwise get to know and gain a larger sense of what it means to be an honors student at Virginia Tech.

Each readings seminar takes the form of a 1 hour class, once a week, throughout the entire semester. The student educators teach classes of their peers ranging from 3 to 20 students. The student educators spend an average of two hours per week planning their course discussions and one hour meeting with their advisor, Paul Heilker.

The students who serve as student educators to their peers are trained by Paul Heilker, the Honors College Director of the Honors Laureate Program. Paul Heilker teaches the students educators on how to have inclusive and encouraging discussions in their classrooms and covers topics like how to address bias and create a safe space for their students. The student educators then share and teach their own peers in their classes about how to have productive and inclusive discussions on their topics.

In 2019, a reading seminar was taught on the subject of The Power and Meaning of Water with the following course description: "The global water crisis is here and now. Some places (like South Africa) are running out of water, while other places (like island nations) are drowning in it. Pollution and overuse are ravaging the dwindling supply of freshwater on the planet while corporations are monetizing what little clean water we have left. Rising sea levels and changing weather patterns are causing severe floods along the world’s coastlines. These aren’t issues in far off places: they exist right here, right now, in the United States, too. In this seminar, we will ask ourselves is access to water a human right, and if so, who is responsible for protecting that right?" https://honorscollege.vt.edu/content/dam/honorscollege_vt_edu/quickguides/hpacquickguide.readingseminars.pdf

We are reporting 1 student educator (the one who teaches The Power of Meaning and Water course), working 32 weeks (two semesters) and putting in four hours of work per week.


Number of trained student educators (all other programs):
1

Number of weeks, on average, the student educators programs are active annually (all other programs):
32

Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per student educator (all other programs) :
4

Total number of hours worked annually by trained student educators (all other programs):
128

Grand total number of hours worked annually by trained student sustainability educators (all programs):
16,316

Hours worked annually by trained student sustainability educators per student served by a peer-to-peer program:
0.44

Website URL where information about the student sustainability educators programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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2018-19 Calculations:

20 Student interns x 10 hours per week x 32 weeks per school year = 6,400
82 tailgate volunteers x 2 hours per shift x 7 home games = 1,148
54 CEED mentors x 5 hours per week x 32 weeks per school year = 8,640

TOTAL = 16,188

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.