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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 67.88
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date Sept. 14, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Pennsylvania State University
EN-7: Employee Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.99 / 3.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total number of employees (staff + faculty, headcount):
17,027

Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program (avoid double-counting):
5,600

Percentage of employees served by a peer-to-peer educator program:
32.89

Name of the employee educators program:
Green Teams Program

Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount):
4,000

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities:

Green Teams are groups of staff, faculty, and students who engage their peers and encourage them to take specific actions to help their organization (college, department, building, etc.) operate in a more efficient, innovative, and healthy way.
For example,
- The Smeal College of Business Green Team set out to promote health, as individual goals for You@PSU (the annual employee review process). The result was a lunchtime program by Penn State fitness instructors and personal trainers titled "Stand Up for Movement in Sedentary Careers."
- The HUB-Robeson Center Green Team created a going green "cheat sheet" for its members, describing what types of items can be recycled or composted.
- In order to save energy and reduce light pollution, which makes it more difficult to observe the nighttime sky, the Astromony Green Team replaced their parking lot lighting and reduced the amount of 24-hour lighting outside of the HUB-Robeson Center around their building.
- The Student Affairs Green Team sponsored four showings of the documentary Trashed during Spring Break, to raise awareness about the global waste problem.


A brief description of how the employee educators are selected:

In most cases, the Green Team members are self selected but, in a few cases, they are appointed by the head of a department or college. At the end of 2016 there are 89 Green Teams at University Park with about 746 members.


A brief description of the formal training that the employee educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach:

The Sustainability Institute offers Green Teams Orientation to all Green Team members. Through this orientation, the members get acquainted with the concept of sustainability, learn about different approaches to adopting sustainable practices into their unit, and the resources available to them. For example, they can easily adopt the Green Paws Office Certification program as a self-guided method to green their operations. Or, we also offer training and tools on how they can analyze their operations and programs through a "sustainability lens" and see opportunities for improvements that will lessen their economic, social and environmental impacts.

Furthermore, Green Team members are offered training at luncheons and through webinars that include presentations on specific sustainability topics. Webinars are posted online so they can be accessed at a future date. Every month, a newsletter is sent to all members with tips, events notices, and resources.


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or paid faculty/staff coordination):

The Sustainability Institute supports this program with one full-time staff member and one intern.


Name of the employee educators program (2nd program):
Green Paws Program

Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount) (2nd program):
1,600

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):

The Green Paws Program is a simple, yet effective way for faculty and staff to learn how to use resources efficiently. The program is organized into four levels of certification that signify an office's progression toward higher and higher levels of efficiency, health, and environmental sustainability. Several activities require discussions, benefiting from the group's experience and expertise. To earn a Green Paws Office Certification, 75 percent of all employees from an office or administrative unit must complete all the actions on the checklist. By going through the program as a group, participants create a community that is learning together about making sustainable decisions and creating habits that improve the quality of resources, fiscal stewardship and employee health.


A brief description of how the employee educators are selected (2nd program):

Participants self-select.


A brief description of the formal training that the employee educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (2nd program):

Monthly orientations are offered for this program to get participants started.


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or paid faculty/staff coordination) (2nd program):

The Sustainability Institute manages this program and it is coordinated by one full-time staff person and one intern.


A brief description of all other employee peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs, including the number of employees served and how employee educators are selected, trained, and supported by the institution:
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Total number of hours employee educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The number of employees served by the Green Teams program was estimated from an annual survey that asks each team how many people they have within their unit and/or building.

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.