Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.17
Liaison Emily Vollmer
Submission Date May 16, 2024

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
EN-4: Outreach Materials and Publications

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Emily Vollmer
Sustainability Coordinator
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?:

Website URL for the central sustainability website:
Does the institution have a sustainability newsletter or social media platform that focuses specifically on campus sustainability?:

A brief description of the sustainability newsletter or social media platform:
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. https://sbio.vt.edu/about-us/news-publications/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. https://cligs.vt.edu/blog.html

4. Office of Sustainability Social Media:
Instagram: @vtsustainable
Twitter: @VTSustainable
Facebook: Virginia Tech Office of Sustainability

5. The Parking Spot Newsletter: This is a monthly email publication from Parking Services that provides alternative transportation information and various parking updates. https://parking.vt.edu/

Does the institution have signage that highlights sustainability features on campus?:

A brief description of the signage that highlights sustainability features on campus:
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.

We also have signage present in our pollinator habitats as part of our Bee Campus USA certification to educate people about the purpose of certain planting choices and importance of pollinators.

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

A brief description of the sustainability walking map or tour:
The Virginia Tech Housing, Residence Life, and Dining Services Sustainability Manager partners with the Transportation Network Manager to hold the Sustainable Eats Bike Tour annually. The bike ride/tour leads Virginia Tech students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding community around campus to learn about the university's effort to be more sustainable by using locally sourced foods. The tour includes stops where cyclists can talk with chefs, taste organic menu items, and meet Dining Service's on-staff farm manager. The event was designed to foster a direct connection in a physically active way between students and local food programs. This is an event where students can engage with who grows their food and prepares their meals. Students are welcome to bring their own bike. If they do not have a bike, they can use bikes from Virginia Tech's bike share program that have been unlocked free of charge for the tour.

Maps and other resources about the locations of different sustainable features on campus can be found at the following links:
A map of major landfill and recycling stations near Virginia Tech’s residence halls: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1MIyPOrRrJIUo74IuxzqU0A7G6E_lkSR5&ll=37.22730011696099%2C-80.42146649999994&z=16
Map of YToss year round donation bins: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1-i25LsYRs7E-4lizs0FGZa1PoTg73tmW&ll=37.225586000371415%2C-80.41981955&z=17
Campus tree inventory and map: https://www.facilities.vt.edu/buildings-space/facilities-treeinventory.html

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/or 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 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.

A brief description of other comprehensive sustainability outreach materials and publications not covered above:
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:

Virginia Tech also has a strong relationship with many of the writers for the Virginia Tech News. Members of our office partner with authors to release articles with sustainability tips on a regular basis. These articles are sent out in emails to the entire Virginia Tech community which can include students, parents, employees, alumni, and others. Here are a few links to some articles that have been released lately:
- Have a 'green' holiday with these eight simple sustainability tips: https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2020/12/sustainability-greenholidays.html?utm_source=cmpgn_news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=vtUnirelNewsDailyCMP_122120-fs
- Go maroon, orange, and green at your homegates with these 10 sustainability tips: https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2020/10/sustainability-greenhomegate.html
- Students advance sustainable change, new growth experiences in Climate Action Commitment update: https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2020/08/svpcbo-VTCACstudents.html

Not only does Virginia Tech focus on outreach geared towards students or people on campus, but there are also efforts to reach out to people all over the Commonwealth. An example of this is the Virginia Big Tree Program. This program celebrated its 50th year in 2020 and is coordinated by VT College of Natural Resources and Environment Associate Professor Eric Wiseman. The central purpose of the program is to promote the conversation and preservation of heritage trees and to raise the general public's knowledge and literacy about forests. More information about the program can be found at this link: https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2020/12/cnre-virginia-big-trees.html?utm_source=cmpgn_news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=vtUnirelNewsDailyCMP_12220-fs

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.