Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.57
Liaison Jeff Spoelstra
Submission Date July 22, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Western Michigan University
EN-10: Inter-Campus Collaboration

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jeff Spoelstra
Sustainability Coordinator
Office for Sustainability
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Does the institution collaborate with other colleges and universities to support and help build the campus sustainability community?:

A brief summary of papers, guides, presentations, and other resources the institution has developed to share their sustainability experience with other institutions:

When called upon by researchers at other higher education institutions to share our sustainability journey, we direct them to open source materials available on our website. We also frequently discover that our project work has been cited by students at other campuses when they document their best practice review efforts on campus sustainability topics.

The WMU Office for Sustainability publicly shares all research, technical, and progress reporting on our strategic sustainability initiatives on our website on four “Reports and Publications” web pages. We have just begun to arrange to use ScholarWorks to add our open source products to the university's growing open source database.

“Reports and Publications” webpages include:
1. Reporting - most recent university-wide sustainability reports
2. Office for Sustainability Publications - published literature and related technical reports, presentations, annual office and campus reports, surveys, and strategic plans
3. Academic Research - honors theses and Student Reports from a class entitled Environmental Studies 4100: Appropriate Technology and Ecological Design, Campus as a Living Learning Laboratory
4. Green Jobs Student Reports - progress and final reports from student-led sustainability initiatives

In addition, we maintain a record of meeting minutes from the President’s Universitywide Sustainability Committee on another webpage. Posted meeting minutes detail the development and evolution of WMU’s sustainability work from the year 2008 to the present.

The names of local, state/provincial, regional, national, or international campus sustainability organizations or consortia in which the institution participates and/or is a member:

-ACUPCC (Dunn Steering Committee Member)
-Billion Dollar Green Challenge
-Students in the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition
-College and University Recycling Coalition
-Michigan Recycling Coalition
-Alliance for Resilient Campuses

A brief summary of additional ways the institution collaborates with other campuses to advance sustainability :

WMU’s Executive Director for Campus Sustainability, Dr. Harold Glasser, Ph.D. regularly advises and collaborates with global leaders in higher education on sustainability strategy using a social learning model framework. Local higher education institutions include Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. We see our local institutions as lead partners working for transformative change and toward community sustainability. Our efforts in this arena are mission driven and consistent with our commitment to improve quality of life for all. One of the ten goals of the Office for Sustainability at WMU is to “serve as a resource and advocate for sustainability on campus and in the community, region, and state”.

The WMU OfS is working to create a Community Sustainability Incubator—a “do-tank for thinkers”—that will serve as a regional hub for reimagining and reinvigorating community and economic development. It will serve as a living, learning laboratory for building new forms of cross-institutional collaborations, design and evaluation of green products and social innovations, testing new technologies, rapid prototyping, policy testing, and training. We desperately need examples of tangible, inspiring spaces and collaborative relationships that buck conventional wisdom and demonstrate how we can catalyze large-scale transformative social change and leverage collective impact. By focusing on the root, systemic, and intertwined causes of problems the Community Sustainability Incubator will help to break down the disciplinary, organizational, cultural, and institutional silos that limit collaboration, foster bias, and sap our energy and creativity. The Community Sustainability Incubator is grounded in the belief that the solutions to our community’s problems lie in creating a safe and inspiring physical space where the right questions can be asked and we can create new partnerships that tap into the collective wisdom, creativity, and energy of our community.

WMU sustainability partners maintain regular contact with other higher education sustainability leaders and team members at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) and Kalamazoo College (K College), an ACUPCC signatory. Active participation in ongoing collaborations include:
-Southwest Michigan Regional Sustainability Covenant with KVCC and K College, detailed in STARS Credit EN 9
-Southwest Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, with KVCC and K College, detailed in STARS Credit EN9
-BikeShare research, with K College
-Stadium Drive Corridor re-envisioning, with KVCC and K College
-Greenhouse Gas Inventory best practice sharing, with K College

All of our events with a public component or discussion group involve special invitations to local institutions including student populations, including:
-“Sustainability Slam”, October 23, 2013
-“A Day on Race, Poverty, and Access to Food” with Dorceta Taylor, September 18, 2013

Our largest events, focused on higher education, also target regional higher education institutions in a 200 mile radius, including:
-“The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Culture and Campus” with Mitch Thomashow, February 7-8, 2013
-“Sustainability Leadership Summit” with David Hales, March 27, 2014

Next steps in our Incubator approach in 2014-15 and beyond will include gatherings of local leaders already working on transformative change. Participation by local higher education sustainability leaders and team members will be key to any long-term success. Guests will share a locally-sourced vegan meal and participate in activities designed to recognize, celebrate, strengthen, and enhance networks of change agents already working to advance community sustainability in areas such as:
-institution-scale climate action plan implementation and emissions tracking
-deep green building
-urban neighborhood design
-local food systems
-regional composting opportunities
-continued work toward a physical space to house the incubator

The website URL where information about cross-campus collaboration is available:

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.