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

Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Jenny McNamara
Submission Date Feb. 11, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Portland State University
ER-3: Sustainability in New Student Orientation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Heather Spalding
Sustainability Leadership and Outreach Coordinator
PSU
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Does the institution include sustainability prominently in new student orientation?:
Yes

A brief description of how sustainability is included prominently in new student orientation:

PSU's Sustainability in Orientation initiative was started by the Campus Sustainability Office (CSO). CSO Assistant Heather Spalding began contacting new student programs in June of 2008 to find out what outreach opportunities were available for participation.

The Sustainability Leadership Center now holds responsibility for providing a sustainability presence at orientations. We have expanded the project significantly.

PSU Sustainability attended all fourteen student resource fairs during the summers of 2008 and 2009. At these events, we provided sustainability and recycling information as well as an opportunity for new students to sign our Campus Sustainability Pledge and sign up for our weekly sustainability bulletin. We even provided a composting and recycling demonstration to students and parents during the info session lunch. In addition, we provide information about transportation options, student groups, and ways to find sustainability volunteer, intern and job opportunities on campus.

This project facilitated face-to-face interactions with students, many of whom have gone on to become involved in sustainability programs at PSU.

Each September,PSU Sustainability has a variety of tables at our annual Party in the Park. This event is held during new student week and exposes incoming students to student groups and departments on campus. We are able to provide similar resources to students as at orientations. This event is generally very effective for our offices.

We also provide composting at this event through PSU Recycles! The green bins make a great statement and expose new and returning students to our composting options. PSU's University Communications department launched our "Go Green" campaign at orientations. This project allowed students to submit videos. This year, the winners were the Take Back the Tap Campaign.

During New Student Week, Sustainability Manager Noelle Studer-Spevak and assistant Heather Spalding provide sustainability tours of the campus every day (5 total tours). Over one hundred students attended these tours over the week. We discuss the definition and meaning of sustainability, display student projects and resources, talk about green building and university planning, and provide resources for students to get involved. After New Student Week, sustainability tours are offered once a month (they will be offered weekly starting in spring 2010) through Campus Visits and Orientations. Information can be found here: http://www.pdx.edu/admissions/campus-visits.

The Sustainability Leadership Center also leads a variety of break-out sessions during Viking Visits (campus preview days for potential students). In these breakouts, we provide information about the PSU EcoWiki, our weekly bulletin, and discuss campus initiatives. We also take questions from the audience.

This year, the Sustainability Leadership Center organized the grand opening of our "GreenSpace". This event was published in the New Student Week brochure. The GreenSpace is a student resource hub for sustainability that is open from 10-2 every day. Four sustainability-related student groups keep the space open. The GreenSpace is located in the basement of our student union next to a student-run, sustainability-themed cafe. The space has couches, a library, resource table with information about student groups and events, computers, meeting tables, a mural, storage space for student groups, and a large wall (chalkboard) calendar of sustainability events. This event allowed our group to meet new students and plug them into projects and student groups from the start.

The Sustainability Leadership Center staff attended trainings for new orientation leaders prior to the start of fall term 2009. This allowed information to be dispersed accurately and concisely throughout the campus community. We also provided training and resources for all campus ambassadors and tour guides.

The Sustainability Leadership Center was also recently able to coordinate efforts with Mike Lane from The Center for Academic Excellence as he created the Miller-funded Sustainability Orientation video. The video is now shown at a variety of orientations for both staff and students. Around the same time, our staff edited the New Student Handbook and included information about recycling, sustainability and the PSU EcoWiki.

The Sustainability Leadership and Outreach Coordinator attends New Student Orientation each term to explain recycling and provide items such as "I only drink tap water" stickers, recycling magnets, "Careers in Sustainability" brochures, A "Student's Guide to Getting Involved" brochures, and a "Sustainability Volunteer Program" brochure.

We also host an open house for the Sustainability Suite during New Student Week. This allows new students to meet staff working in sustainability at PSU and find out about programs.

Finally, sustainability is incorporated into all campus tours given to potential and incoming students and families who visit campus.


The website URL where information about sustainability in new student orientation 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.