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

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 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 have at least one sustainability committee?:

The charter or mission statement of the committee(s) or a brief description of each committee's purview and activities:

Energy and Sustainability Committee (E&SC). It is part of University Governance.

E&SC CHARGE: To review and provide advice to the University Administration on broad policy issues relating to the university’s pursuit of environmental quality through action, education, and engagement to address current needs without compromising the capacity and needs of future generations.

The E&SC reports to the Commission on University Support which further reports to the University Council. Links are provided directly below to the E&SC, CUS and UC.

Energy and Sustainability Committee:

Commission on University Support:

University Council:

Members of each committee, including affiliations and role:

Energy and Sustainability Committee 2020-21 Membership:

Chair - President will appoint annually from among members of the E≻
Ex Officio Vice President for Administration;
Ex Officio Vice President for Finance and CFO;
Ex Officio Associate Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer;
Ex Officio Assistant Vice President for University Planning;
Ex Officio Chief of Operations and Deputy to the Associate VP, Student Affairs;
Ex Officio Sustainability Program Manager;
Two representatives from Facilities Services selected by the Vice President for
Administration: one from Transportation Planning & one from Power Plant Operations;
One representative from Virginia Tech Environmental Health & Safety Services selected by the Vice President for Administration;
Four representatives from the Faculty Senate nominated by the Faculty Senate;
Two representatives from the Staff Senate nominated by the Staff Senate;
One college dean selected by the Council of College Deans;
Two representatives from the Graduate Student Assembly nominated by the GSA;
Two representatives from the Student Government Association nominated by the SGA.

Energy and Sustainability Committee 2020-21 Members:

Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent employee?:

A brief description of each sustainability office:

The Office of Sustainability (Two FTEs) is the primary central clearing house for sustainability planning, programs, operations, events and activities on campus. This office is located within the Facilities Department and which reports to the Vice President for Administration. They will:
a. Coordinate programs for campus sustainability,
b. Oversee implementation of the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan (VTCAC&SP),
c. Monitor annual electricity and other energy use and GHG emissions, and
d. Working with faculty and departments, manage a campus-wide student internship and
undergraduate research program using the campus as a sustainability laboratory, and
e. Coordinate communication regarding campus sustainability initiatives and programs to the university community and external audiences.
(See Presidential Policy Memorandum No. 262 Revision 1, dated May 9, 2013, point #5)

Sustainability Manager (one FTE) is located in Dining Services within the Division of Student Affairs. Originally created as the Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator to plan and implement sustainability activities for our 11 on campus Dining Facilities, the position was recently expanded and retitled Sustainability Manager to provide advice and supervision on sustainability matters for on campus residence halls and Greek Housing. The Sustainability Manager is directly involved with the Dining Services 6 acre farm at Kentland Farm and supervises our food waste composting program. Dining Services is consistently recognized as having one of the best dining programs in higher education at the national level. The senior leadership is dedicated to having it be one of the best sustainable dining programs too.

Alternative Transportation Manager (one FTE). Located in the Department of Parking and Transportation within the Vice President for Administration, the Alternative Transportation Manager is responsible for planning and day to day operations for a variety of on campus sustainability programs to include: the Bike, Bus, and Walk Program (BBW), the Bicycle Master Plan, the Bike Parking Master Plan, and the "Heads Up Hokies" Program ( an initiative to promote safety for students and employees while driving a car, riding a bike, or walking around campus). In addition, the Alternative Transportation Manager plans and implements the "Active Commute Celebration" which is held the third week of September during Sustainability Week and provides education to all students on alternative transportation options at Virginia Tech and the surrounding community.

Full-time equivalent of people employed in the sustainability office(s):

Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:

Name and title of each sustainability officer:
Dennis Cochrane, Sustainability Program Manager,Office of Sustainability; Gwyneth Manser, Sustainability Manager, Dining Services & Housing & Residence Life; Jeri Baker, Director of Transportation & Parking Services.

Does the institution have a mechanism for broad sustainability coordination for the entire institution?:

A brief description of the activities and substantive accomplishments of the institution-wide coordinating body or officer during the previous three years:

Office of Sustainability, Facilities Department, Office of Vice President-Administration.

Dennis Cochrane, Sustainability Program Manager, Office of Sustainability is the primary campus liaison for all sustainability activities. Has the lead for gathering and inputting STARS data and information, the student Green RFP Program, Sustainability Week (fall semester) and Earth Week (spring semester) planning and implementation, outreach to the Town of Blacksburg and their Sustainability Office, preparing the annual recycling rate report, and preparing the Sustainability Annual Report to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. For building and maintaining a culture of sustainability both on campus and in the surrounding community, the Sustainability Week Program received the 2017 Governor's Environmental Excellence "Silver" Award in the Sustainability Program Category which was presented to the Mayor of Blacksburg and the Vice President for Administration at the Environment Virginia Symposium on April 4, 2017 during a formal ceremony at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.

Job title of the sustainability officer position:
Denny Cochrane, Director, Office of Sustainability

Job description for the sustainability officer position:

Job description for the sustainability officer position:

The Director oversees all functions of the Virginia Tech Office of Sustainability. He establishes procedures and monitors progress for sustainability actions and measures outlined in the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan (VTCAC&SP). He serves as the university’s primary contact to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and leads our participation in their Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) Program. He provides data and information for Virginia Tech’s Sustainability Annual Report. He plans and oversees all aspects of the popular “Student Initiatives by Student Organization (Green RFP) Program. He prepares Virginia Tech’s calendar year Recycling Rate Report. He serves as an ex-officio member of the Energy and Sustainability Committee (E&SC), a university governance committee. I provide sustainability information for national publications such as the Princeton Review and the local media.

Job title of the sustainability officer position (2nd position):
Nathan King , Sustainability Program Manager, Office of Sustainability

Job description for the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

The Sustainability Program Manager is responsible for providing leadership and management with the planning and implementation of high-profile sustainability programs and operations that directly contribute to Virginia Tech being a “leader” in campus sustainability. He serves as the university’s primary sustainability outreach coordinator. He also coordinates all student internship programming.

Job title of the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability coordination is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.