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
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Jeff Spoelstra
Sustainability Coordinator
Office for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee, office, and/or officer that focuses on sustainability broadly and covers the entire institution?:

A brief description of the activities and substantive accomplishments of the committee(s), office(s), and/or officer(s) during the previous three years:

Recognition and Office for Sustainability (OfS) Transparency:
- Named a 2013 Michigan Green Leader in the public sector category by the Detroit Free Press.
- Named a top green college by Princeton Review and the US Green Building Council in the 2013 Green Guide.
- Named one of 80 National Campus Sustainability Leaders in the 2011 SEI College Sustainability Report Card.
- Became a Founding Circle member of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge (2011).
- Created communication, engagement, and transparency initiatives including: (1) a new website utilizing WMU CMS; (2) videos encompassing a campus sustainability overview, a short overview of the OfS created for and presented at Fall Welcome, and project specific videos; (3) an OfS brochure; (4) a campus sustainability features map; and, (5) an HTML e-mail service to complement our social media presence (Facebook and Twitter).
- Completed our first OfS Highlights Report (2012) and submitted for UI Green Metric World University Ranking.

Experiential Learning:
- Established an annual National Campus Sustainability Day, SustainabiliBASH, and Event Series; recent events included a Sustainability Roundtable and Slam and visiting scholars Mitchell Thomashow and Dorceta Taylor.
- Co-designed, built-out, initiated programming, and gave over 100 tours in a new OfS building and Studio including the Bike Stable, a student bicycle cooperative (over 340 campus and community members served).
- Provided extended experiential learning opportunities for 101 students (52 men and 49 women; 11 graduate students; 8 Seita Scholars; 14 Gibbs House Fellows; 53 Wesustain Interns; 3 Asian, 6 Hispanic, 13 African American, 79 White). Countries of origin include: China, Japan, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Poland, and the United States. Dozens of additional volunteers have worked on sustainability initiatives.
- Delivered experiential learning and research opportunities, through a video project, to 37 sections of FYS and engaged over 750 students to date; sponsored 7 CEAS Senior Design Projects (ME and EE).
- Supported 18 students attending two leading national campus sustainability conferences (13 gave presentations).
- Advanced and improved the nationally recognized Student Sustainability Grant Program (20 projects were awarded totaling $110,433); recent projects include aquaponics (fish and plants) and apiculture (bees).
- Increased annual 2012 - 2013 Student Sustainability Survey participation by 50% to 1,250 participants.
- Supervised 3 Lee Honors College theses, one MA, and one Ph.D. (ongoing).

Academic and Administrative Initiatives:
- Created a university-wide faculty Sustainability Across Research and Teaching (StART) Survey (with over 150 respondents) and a StART Initiative that included 42 faculty from all seven colleges. Prepared a report on the Initiative (in review) and advanced and broadened the Initiative with the StART II Faculty Learning Community (a 2-year collaboration with the Office of Faculty Development to advance this effort).
- Conducted foundational Learning for Sustainability research including core competencies, sustainability course and research definitions, and a best-practice review of sustainability graduate certificate programs (report in prep).
- Worked with the Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness to support AASHE STARS self-study.
- Led the President’s Universitywide Sustainability Committee and hosted a Faculty Learning Community.

Operational Initiatives:
- Fulfilled 2012 and 2013 ACUPCC requirements by creating an approved Climate Action Plan. Conducted and reported on a Greenhouse Gas Inventory, which revealed significant emissions reductions since 2009.
- Achieved a waste diversion rate of 77% and recycling rate of 62% in 2012 (includes construction/demolition).
- Added 15 filtered water hydration stations in campus buildings; distributed EcoMugs™ to over 12,600 students.
- Erected a 50 kW PV array and added 15 EV charging stations as part of a $700,000 Clean Energy Coalition / Department of Energy grant, making WMU one of the most “plugged in” universities in the nation.
- Created a Waste Reduction and Recycling Strategic Plan (in review); added 30 combined waste/recycling stations.

Research, Program, and Community Partnership Development:
- Garnered over $960,000 in external funding (summary: 4 grants; 4 rejections; $16,000 EcoMug™ sponsorships; over $12,000 donations).
- Completed White Papers and Project Reports (e.g., Tobacco Free Campus and Bikeshare).
- Conducted foundational efforts to build support for the creation of a facility that will inspire broad university / community collaboration and research on real-world sustainability and sustainable development issues.
- Designed Gibbs House property master plan with permaculture research, education, and leadership development features; produced 3,000 lbs. of produce in our student production garden and 35-member community garden.
- Delivered more than 60 presentations to diverse audiences (FYS, Fall Welcome, Faculty Senate, Provost's Council, HR, Office of Faculty Development, Michigan Radio’s Issues and Ale Program, Engineer’s Week, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, AASHE, Ball State, Taiwan EPA, Financing the Future of Energy Efficiency Summit, Association for Behavior Analysis, Michigan Association of Planners, and others).

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:

The President's Universitywide Sustainability Committee is the advisory body for the president and the Office for Sustainability. The Committee maintains strategic sustainability initiatives for the University, which have led to the numerous accomplishments listed herein.

Members of each committee, including affiliations and role (e.g. staff, student, or faculty):

Betsy Aller - Associate Professor, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Kate Binder - Graduate Student, Psychology
Chris Caprara - Energy Manager
Anne Copeland - Administrative Assistant, Office for Sustainability
Bill Davis - Associate Professor of Photography and Intermedia, College of Fine Arts
Mervyn Elliott - Master Faculty Specialist, College of Aviation
Paul Farber - Professor, Teaching, Learning, & Educational Studies
Judy Gipper - Director, Dining Services (Student Affairs)
Harold Glasser - Chair - Executive Director for Campus Sustainability & Professor
Jamie Hirsh - Office for Sustainability - Doctoral Graduate Student
Leah Omilion Hodges - Assistant Professor, Communications
Derek Kanwischer - Coordinator of Sustainability Projects, Office for Sustainability
Patricia Holton - Director of Environmental Safety and Emergency Management
Denise Keele - Assistant Professor, Political Science, ENVS
Carolyn Noack - Manager Solid Waste Reduction, Office for Sustainability
Timothy Palmer - Director, Center for Sustainable Business Practices; Haworth College of Business
Paul Pancella - Vice Chair, Professor, Physics
Mary Peterson - Clinical Faculty Specialist II, Audiology
Sarah Pratt - Office for the Vice President of Research, Research and Program Officer
David Reinhold- Assoc. Provost, Institutional Effectiveness
Jorge Rodriguez - Professor, Industrial Engineering
Anand Sankey - Director of Engineering and Maintenance Services
John Schmitt - Business Consultant, Michigan Small Business & Technology Center, Haworth College of Business
Kahler B. Schuemann - Assistant to the President
Jeffrey Spoelstra - Secretary - Sustainability Coordinator, Office for Sustainability
Andrew Targowski - Professor, College of Business
Lu Tavares - Environmental Specialist, Environmental Safety & Emergency Management
Paul Terzino - Alternate for Judy Gipper
Nicole Davenport - Western Student Association, Sustainability Chair
Caroline Webber - Associate Professor, Dietetics, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Joe Wilson - Extended University Programs
David Dakin, ex officio - Director, Campus Facility Planning
Dawn Gaymer, ex officio - Extended University Programs
John Greenhoe, ex officio - Director of Foundation Relations and Development Communications
Tim Holysz, ex officio - Manager, Landscape Services
John-Mark Cuarto, ex officio - President WSA
Janice Van Der Kley, ex officio - Vice President for Business & Finance
John Patten, ex officio - Professor & Chair, Manufacturing Engineering & Director, Manufacturing Research Center
Pete Strazdas, ex officio - Associate VP, Facilities Management

The website URL where information about the sustainability committee(s) is available:
Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee?:

A brief description of each sustainability office:

The Office for Sustainability

The mission of the Office for Sustainability is to guide and assist the Western Michigan University community in fulfilling and growing its sustainability commitments. Through building a diverse and flourishing learning community around sustainability, we will continually explore and develop new opportunities to create a culture of sustainability and improve quality of life for all.

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

The website URL where information about the sustainability office(s) is available:
Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:

Name and title of each sustainability officer:
Director of Campus Sustainability, Manager of Waste Reduction Services, Sustainability Coordinator, Sustainability Projects Coordinator

A brief description of each sustainability officer position:

Director of Campus Sustainability - Directs the Office for Sustainability including Waste Reduction and ongoing initiatives across operations, academics, research, and community.

Manager of Waste Reduction Services - Manages Waste Reduction programs and initiatives including waste minimization, recycling, and related student research.

Sustainability Coordinator - Office for Sustainability financial management, reporting, and development.

Coordinator of Sustainability Projects - Office for Sustainability program manager and student staff research/project coordinator.

The website URL where information about the sustainability officer(s) 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.