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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.20
Liaison Meghan Chapple
Submission Date May 14, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

George Washington University
ER-4: Sustainability Outreach and Publications

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Shannon Ross
Stakeholder Engagement 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?:
Yes

A brief description of the central sustainability website that consolidates information about the institution's sustainability efforts:

The GW Office of Sustainability maintains a central website with all of the information about the university's sustainability efforts.


The website URL for the central sustainability website that consolidates information about the institution's sustainability efforts:
Does the institution have a sustainability newsletter?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability newsletter:

During the school year, the Office of Sustainability sends out a regular newsletter called Eco-Beat, which features campus updates, profiles students, faculty and staff dedicated to sustainability and highlights upcoming events and internships. The Eco-Beat's distribution list is roughly 2500 people, and consists of members of the GW community and external partners.


The website URL for the sustainability newsletter:
Does the institution have a vehicle to publish and disseminate student research on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of the vehicle to publish and disseminate student research on sustainability:

Planet Forward is a multi-media platform for dissemination of student views and research. The George Washington Journal of Energy and Environmental Law Journal provides a forum for student voices and research. The Policy Perspectives Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Administration publishes student research, including on topics of sustainability.

Each spring, the Office of the Vice President for Research sponsors a two-day "Research Day". Faculty and graduate students in the School of Public Health are featured on the second day. On the second day, undergraduates and graduates from the other GW schools present their research in a day-long illustrated poster session. Winners are chosen from each school at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Many students who participate are engaged in sustainability research. In 2014, for example, 6 sustainability minors presented posters. Sustainability minor Jesse Schaeffer won the research prize for the Elliot School of International Affairs for his research on food sustainability among Syrian refugee populations in Jordan.


The website URL for the vehicle to publish and disseminate student research on sustainability:
Does the institution have building signage that highlights green building features?:
Yes

A brief description of building signage that highlights green building features :

For new LEED buildings on campus, GW incorporates signage and tours in the buildings to help educate the community about the relevant green features.


The website URL for building signage that highlights green building features :
Does the institution have food service area signage and/or brochures that include information about sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of food service area signage and/or brochures that include information about sustainable food systems:

Information is provided in the central dining facility (J Street) about the local sourcing of products. There is also on-site promotion of Meatless Mondays at J Street throughout the academic year.

In addition, information about GW's partnership with the primary food vendor, Sodexo, can be found on the sustainability website.


The website URL for food service area signage and/or brochures that include information about sustainable food systems:
Does the institution have signage on the grounds about sustainable grounds-keeping strategies employed?:
Yes

A brief description of signage on the grounds about sustainable grounds-keeping strategies employed:

GW's campus features a ground-breaking green space known as the Square 80 Plaza. Previously a parking lot, this 3/4 acre green space, in the midst of GW’s densely built downtown Washington, DC, campus, provides a green respite and uses water
reclamation technology to capture and reuse storm water on the site. Sustainable grounds-keeping strategies employed on this site include rain barrels, sunken tree beds, permeable pavers, rain gardens and a network of cisterns. The site features powerful and visually striking signage that helps communicate the university's sustainability vision and the techniques employed on the site.

As GW implements its Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy, one of the areas for expansion will be additional signage about other sustainable landscaping techniques employed. It is important to note that due to GW's unique location in the middle of downtown Washington, DC, at times additional signage placement is difficult due to zoning and public-space constraints and regulations.


The website URL for signage on the grounds about sustainable grounds-keeping strategies employed:
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Does the institution have a sustainability walking map or tour?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability walking map or tour:

The Office of Sustainability has a green tour that it offers to interested parties. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the GW campuses, there is no formal write-up of this tour, but students are trained in the script by Office of Sustainability staff. Additionally, the tour guides on campus incorporate sustainability into their year-round tours for prospective students.

GW created a map of sustainable features of campus, which is used for new student orientation in the summer. The features include Green Roofs, Solar Thermal displays, bikeshare stations on campus, and much more. The map is also posted on the Office of Sustainability's website, and is showcased through many channels on campus.


The website URL of the sustainability walking map or tour:
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Does the institution have a guide for commuters about how to use alternative methods of transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the guide for commuters about how to use alternative methods of transportation:

The guide for commuters features many of the alternative methods of transportation available to the GW community including Metro, bus routes, ZipCar, Capital Bikeshare, car2go, carpools and shuttle services.


The website URL for the guide for commuters about how to use alternative methods of transportation:
Does the institution have a guide for green living and incorporating sustainability into the residential experience?:
Yes

A brief description of the guide for green living and incorporating sustainability into the residential experience:

GW features guidelines for green living and incorporating sustainability into the residential experience on its sustainability website. Student Eco-Reps conduct peer-to-peer education in the residence halls helping to disseminate information to students. Training is also conducted with hall proctors (the equivalent of Resident Assistants) on campus to help them understand sustainable living and pass the information along to their students.

Sustainability is featured in the new student orientation in several ways. As one example, the Office of Sustainability includes information on the beds of all the students about recycling, water and electricity while they are on campus.


The website URL for the guide for green living and incorporating sustainability into the residential experience:
Does the institution have regular coverage of sustainability in the main student newspaper (either through a regular column or a reporter assigned to the sustainability beat)?:
Yes

A brief description of regular coverage of sustainability in the main student newspaper, either through a regular column or a reporter assigned to the sustainability beat:

The GW Hatchet regularly covers sustainability news on campus in its bi-weekly publications. The Office of Sustainability meets with the sustainability beat reporter once a month to discuss upcoming stories and news, which results in regular stories and blog posts in the student newspaper.


The website URL for regular coverage of sustainability in the main student newspaper, either through a regular column or a reporter assigned to the sustainability beat:
Does the institution produce another sustainability publication or outreach material not covered above? (1st material):
Yes

A brief description of this material:

GW publishes annual fact sheets that provide a comprehensive overview of activities and initiatives on campus pertaining to sustainability.


The website URL for this material:
Does the institution produce another sustainability publication or outreach material not covered above? (2nd material):
Yes

A brief description of this material:

In 2012 GW released its first sustainability report. This prospectus provides an overview of the university's sustainability progress to date, and updates on projects. The report features inserts highlighting GW's schools and their sustainability academic offerings.


The website URL for this material:
Does the institution produce another sustainability publication or outreach material not covered above? (3rd material):
Yes

A brief description of this material:

The university's internal news magazine, GWToday, profiles sustainability progress frequently. A sampling of past stories can be found in the link below. The university has a Twitter account, a Facebook page and a Green Alumni listserv and facebook page.


The website URL for this material:
Does the institution produce another sustainability publication or outreach material not covered above? (4th material):
Yes

A brief description of this material:

Planet Forward is where experts and engaged citizens come together to find solutions to our shared challenges, specifically in the areas of energy, climate and sustainability. Planet Forward creates a dynamic public square, curating the best ideas and innovations from scientists, business leaders, advocates, students and government leaders. Based at the Center for Innovative Media at the George Washington University, Planet Forward engages with students and faculty from our University as well as others across the country and the world. Planet Forward collaborates with a diverse group of organizations in order to bring the public the best ideas in the world.

GW highlighted its commitment to sustainability by hosting GW Moving the Planet Forward: Turning Innovation into Action in April 2012 – a stirring series of events that address the many dimensions of the threats and opportunities confronting a changing planet. The event featured world-renowned scholars and researchers, thought leaders, policymakers, and industry frontrunners to discuss green jobs, business and innovation, sustainable cities and the intersection of science and communication.


The website URL for this material:
Does the institution produce another sustainability publication or outreach material not covered above? (5th material):
Yes

A brief description of this material:

GW published its Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy in 2012 and it is available on the website. The plan incorporates input from stakeholders inside and outside of the university, and reflects their aspirations for sustainable development locally, regionally, and globally. The publication discloses the university's goals and targets for carbon, water, food, waste, and natural space, and proposed tactics to reach those goals and targets. The purpose of sharing the documents publicly is to increase transparency and accountability for the university with its stakeholders.


The website URL for this material:
Does the institution produce another sustainability publication or outreach material not covered above? (6th material):
Yes

A brief description of this material:

GW published its GWater Plan in 2011 and it is available on the website. The plan incorporates input from stakeholders inside and outside of the university, and reflects their aspirations for sustainable development locally, regionally, and globally. The publication discloses the university's goals and targets for water conservation, and proposed tactics to reach those goals and targets. The purpose of sharing the documents publicly is to increase transparency and accountability for the university with its stakeholders.


The website URL for this material:
Does the institution produce another sustainability publication or outreach material not covered above? (7th material):
Yes

A brief description of this material:

GW published its Climate Action Plan in 2010 and it is available on the website. The plan incorporates input from stakeholders inside and outside of the university, and reflects their aspirations for sustainable development locally, regionally, and globally. The publication discloses the university's goals and targets for greenhouse gas reductions, and proposed tactics to reach those goals and targets. The purpose of sharing the documents publicly is to increase transparency and accountability for the university with its stakeholders.


The website URL for this material:
Does the institution produce another sustainability publication or outreach material not covered above? (8th material):
Yes

A brief description of this material:

The Green Alumni Network was begun in 2009 and has over 700 members worldwide and 450+ in the D.C. Metropolitan area. The Network has a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2072112&home=
and a website (see website URL field).

Also, the @SustainableGW Twitter feed has 3,100 followers and provides regular communications about sustainability issues on campus as well as events.

The Alumni in Energy has 200+ members currently and has an Alumni in Energy Facebook group, as well as an Alumni in Energy LinkedIn group:
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&trk=my_groups-tile-grp&gid=4245509
and an Alumni in Energy website: http://alumni.gwu.edu/alumni-energy-association


The website URL for this material:

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.