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

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Nathan King
Sustainability Manager
Facilities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
Sustainability Week

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? :
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe?:
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership?:
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? :
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability:

The Sustainability Week Program. Virginia Tech, the Town of Blacksburg, and the local citizens group Sustainable Blacksburg collaborated to form a “Green Partnership” in 2007 with the goal to advance sustainability in our community. Sustainability Week was established as a way to provide students and community members with practical ways to live a more sustainability lifestyle through education, events and activities, tours, fairs, and workshops. It is currently held during the third week in September near the start of the fall semester.

Virginia Tech, the Town of Blacksburg, and the local citizens group Sustainable Blacksburg collaborated to form a “Green Partnership” in 2007 with the goal to advance sustainability in our community. Sustainability Week 2007 was launched in October with 30 events and activities. We had 6 featured speakers to include L. Preston Bryant, Jr., the Secretary of Natural Resources form the Commonwealth of Virginia and Rebecca Flora, the President Elect of the U.S. Green Building Council and Virginia Tech alum. Sustainability Week 2007 far exceed expectations and it was noted that it served as an ideal Town-Gown program to advance sustainability. The partnership’s mission is “Celebrate-Educate-Motivate” and is designed to guide events to highlight innovative ideas and practices while providing the community with practical steps to integrate sustainability into their everyday lives. They achieve this by establishing a core planning team that is composed of members from every part of the community, from university and high school students to professionals and professors. Drawing upon volunteers from different sectors such as local government, nonprofits, and local schools helps to provide a unique outlook on sustainability. The volunteers work together to create events that focus on fostering a sustainable future through energy, transportation, housing, consumption, disposal, food, and land use. Some examples of these events include home energy conservation workshops, environmental films, tours of homes that feature sustainable architecture, and presentations on recycling and incorporating sustainability into every aspect of one’s life. Over the course of the past decade, this program has featured over 200 events and it has become a tradition and an integral part of our community. The Sustainability Week Partnership believes they have succeeded in accelerating the University’s and Town’s commitment to pursuing sustainability.

http://facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/sustainability-programs/sustainability-week.html

Sustainability Week 2007 received a 2008 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award, and was recognized at the national level in 2013 with the Best of Green Schools Collaboration Award: http://centerforgreenschools.org/center-green-schools-usgbc-announces-best-green-schools-2013-list-118.

For demonstrating a culture of sustainability for a decade, the Sustainability Week Program received a 2018 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in the Sustainability Program Category.

The 2020 Sustainability Week featured a mix of virtual and in-person events during the week of Sept 20 - 26. The program has been expanded to include "sustainability throughout the seasons" as the new motto and framework. This will allow for more events to be held throughout the year that are more seasonal in nature, such as tree plantings or gardening.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
The Community Housing Partners

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (2nd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (2nd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (2nd partnership):
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? (2nd partnership):
Not Sure

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):

CHP is a successful non-profit organization dedicated to planning, developing and managing affordable housing with sustainability (people, planet, profit) as its principal objective. http://www.communityhousingpartners.org


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):
Warm Hearth Village

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (3rd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? (3rd partnership):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):

Teresa Sweeney, our Facilities Program Consultant who specializes in waste management at Virginia Tech has partnered with Warm Hearth Village retirement community in Blacksburg, VA. She has provided guidance and recycling materials to the Warm Hearth Village's Reduce Reuse Recycle (RRR) Committee for the past 2 years. This committee is resident-focus and seeks to meet the unique needs of this elderly community through providing proper recycling guidelines or training. These guidelines serve residents that may have visual, auditory, or cognitive impairments. Thus, Teresa partners with the RRR Committee to help develop, edit, advise, and finalize these guidelines and training sessions for residents.

With 45 years of experience caring for seniors, Warm Hearth Village is the New River Valley’s only comprehensive, nonprofit retirement community. Their woodland campus in Blacksburg is located within view of Virginia Tech and is just minutes from shopping, cultural events, recreational opportunities, restaurants, professional services and Lewis Gale Hospital at Montgomery. https://retire.org/


A brief description of the institution’s other community partnerships to advance sustainability:

Catawba Sustainability Center - The Catawba Sustainability Center strives on its local partnership with Virginia Tech, the County of Roanoke, as well as a close relationship with Virginia Cooperative Extension. The Catawba Sustainability Center offers a space for faculty, students of all ages, community members, and visitors just passing through to learn about sustainable agriculture production, agroforestry, water quality monitoring, wetland restoration, and much more.
https://www.vtrc.vt.edu/catawba.html


Website URL where information about the institution’s community partnerships to advance sustainability is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:

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