Log In
  • 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 Silver
Overall Score 57.22
Liaison Roxane Beigel-Coryell
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Southern Oregon University
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Roxane Beigel-Coryell
Sustainability & Recycling Coordinator
Facilities Management & Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

SOU is currently undergoing a new Strategic Planning process. This process includes specific focus groups working to integrate sustainability throughout the Strategic Plan. While the strategic plan is being updated, the university continues to operate under the 2009-2014 Strategic Plan.

Sustainability figures prominently in the commitments, goals and objectives stated in the university's overarching institutional strategic plan, “Building the New SOU: Strategic Plan for Distinction and Sustainability 2009-2014”, which has been developed to provide structure for decision-making, to strengthen thematic coherence for area plans, and to underscore the university’s goals, values, and commitments for the next five years.This is the institution's highest level plan and guiding document.

The second of the University’s three “Commitments” within the strategic plan states that SOU is committed to:

Engaged students, faculty, and staff committed to diversity, sustainable practices, and responsiveness to regional and global needs

Goal 1: Academic Distinctiveness and Quality, includes the following objective relating to sustainability:
H. Emphasize vibrant, sustainable, academic and residential/commuter communities.

Goal 2: Commitment to the Arts and the Bioregion, includes the following objectives relating to the environment and sustainability:
A. Expand and promote nationally and internationally known arts and environmental programs.
B. Strengthen partnerships with regional arts and environmental organizations.
E. Intentionally integrate the arts and sustainability throughout the curriculum and the university culture.

Goal 3: Community Catalyst, includes the following objectives relating to the environment, sustainability and the bioregion:
B. Position SOU as a leader in sustainability, diversity, creativity, and culture.


A copy of the strategic plan:
---

The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
No

A copy of the sustainability plan:
---

The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
---

Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):

Southern Oregon University's Campus Master Plan includes a sustainability section. The Campus Master Plan includes the adoption of sustainability policies including, but not limited to: green building guidelines, carbon-neutrality goals, development of renewable energy infrastructure, coordinated efforts to reduce water consumption, development of transportation demand management strategies, etc.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

SOU's Strategic Plan states:

Goal 2, Commitment to the Arts and the Bioregion, includes the following objectives relating to the environment and sustainability:
A. Expand and promote nationally and internationally known arts and environmental programs.
B. Strengthen partnerships with regional arts and environmental organizations.
E. Intentionally integrate the arts and sustainability throughout the curriculum and the university culture.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:
---

Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Campus Master Plan includes sustainability objectives that address transportation options for campus users. The plan calls for development of campus housing, providing bicycle parking and showering facilities, partnerships with the local transit district, participation in carpool, car share and rideshare programs, and other actions to shift the campus population commute away from single-occupancy driving. These objectives can be measured by comparing the commute modal split each year compared to the baseline identified in the Campus Master Plan.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:
---

Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

SOU's Climate Action Plan includes the following measurable objectives and timeframes:

 By 2010, arrest the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
 By 2015, achieve greenhouse gas levels that are 5 percent below 1990 levels.
 By 2020, achieve greenhouse gas levels that are 10 percent below 1990 levels.
 By 2050, achieve CLIMATE NEUTRALITY.

The plan also identifies benchmark targets:

Reduction Goal: SOU proposes to reduce its Scope 1 emissions from 4,470 t CO2e in FY2008 to 3,886 t CO2 e in 2015.
Reduction Goal: SOU proposes to reduce its Scope 2 emissions from 4,780 t CO2e in FY2008 to 4,360 t CO2 e in 2015.
Reduction Goal: SOU proposes to reduce its Scope 3 emissions from 3,997 t CO2e in FY2008 to 3,778 t CO2 e in 2015.

Please see the plan for specific emission reduction strategies at http://sou.edu/sustainable/action.html.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

SOU's Campus Master Plan states:

The University is adopting the following policies:
1. All major renovations and new construction will meet energy efficiency performance targets consistent with the Presidents Climate Commitment and the implementing Action Plan that will accompany that commitment.
2. All new construction and major renovations by the University will be designed and constructed to meet a minimum of Silver rating under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating System. The costs and benefits of certifying to a higher level will also be evaluated.
...
4. For projects serving the University but built and operated by private partners, the University will offer incentives as available to encourage the builder to meet the LEED® Silver minimum standard.

SOU's Green Purchasing Policy states:

8. Green Building
a. Green building concepts shall be integrated into architectural designs, construction documents, and the construction of and renovations to all SOU buildings.
b. All new buildings and major renovation projects shall achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver Certification, at a minimum. New buildings shall target LEED Gold or Platinum Certification.
c. When purchasing materials such as paint, carpeting, adhesives, furniture and casework for building maintenance,
products with the lowest amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the highest recycled content, and low or no
formaldehyde shall be used. Paint used on the campus shall meet the Green Seal GS-11 Standard for Low VOC content.
d. The distributors and/or manufacturers of all carpet installed at SOU shall have a carpet recycling plan.
e. The use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and halon-containing refrigerants, solvents, and other products shall be
phased out. New purchases of heating, ventilating, air conditioning, refrigeration, insulation, and fire suppression
systems shall not contain these chemicals.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

SOU's Green Purchasing Policy states:

1. Energy
a. All new purchases of desktop computers, notebooks and monitors must meet, at a minimum, all Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) environmental criteria designated as “required” (bronze registration) or higher as contained in the IEEE 1680 Standard for the Environmental Assessment of Personal Computer Products. Exceptions shall be approved by Information Technology (IT).
b. Additional consideration shall be provided for electronic products that have achieved EPEAT silver or EPEAT gold registration. The registration criteria and a list of all registered equipment are provided at: http://www.epeat.net
c. All copiers and printers purchased or leased shall be capable of double-sided copying/printing.
d. Copiers and printers shall be compatible with the use of recycled content products.
e. Purchase new printers or personal printers only when existing networked printers can’t be utilized to reduce the proliferation of printers on campus.
f. Use printing options that require confirmation to print to ensure that unneeded output is not printed.
g. All energy-using appliances purchased by the University shall meet the U. S. EPA Energy Star certification when available. When Energy Star labels are not available, all purchasing units shall choose energy products that are in the upper 25% of energy efficiency as designated by the Federal Energy Management Program.
h. Energy-efficient equipment shall be purchased with the most up-to-date energy efficiency functions. This includes, but is not limited to, heating and cooling systems.
i. University purchasing units replacing vehicles shall consider less-polluting alternatives to gas and diesel such as compressed natural gas, bio-based fuels, hybrids, electric batteries, and fuel cells, as available.
j. Facilities shall phase out inefficient interior lighting (incandescent and T-12 fluorescent light sources) and replace with energy-efficient equipment. Halogen torchiere lamps shall not be allowed.
k. Facilities shall phase out inefficient exterior lighting and replace with energy-efficient equipment. Exterior lighting shall be minimized where possible while providing adequate illumination for safety and accessibility.

The Campus Master Plan states:
5. The University will create an Energy Master Plan that will address energy consumption in a comprehensive way and identify the most cost effective means to comply the President’s Climate Commitment [see sidebar]. As part of energy master planning, the University will evaluate the potential to create an “eco-district”6 with the campus and surrounding neighbors.
6. In line with the energy master planning process, the University will continue to evaluate opportunities to develop renewable energy infrastructure. A review of potential capacity for photovolatic installations has been conducted for the campus, and is attached as an Appendix to the Master Plan Update.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

SOU's Green Purchasing Policy states:

10. Food
a. When purchasing agricultural products, all food contractors shall purchase Oregon-grown products if the products are available and if the vendor can meet the applicable quality standards and pricing requirements.
b. All food contractors shall work with their food distributors to purchase a minimum of 15% locally grown products and shall purchase as much local produce and product as possible.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:

SOU's Green Purchasing Policy states:

9. Landscaping
a. All landscape construction, renovations and maintenance performed by SOU Landscape Services staff or outside contractors shall employ sustainable management techniques. This includes, but is not limited to, integrated pest management, drip irrigation, composting, and use of mulch and compost. Preference shall be given to mulch and compost produced from regionally-generated plant debris and/or food waste.
b. Recycled content materials shall be used for landscape features.
c. Plants shall be selected that are appropriate to the microclimate. Native and drought-tolerant plants that require no or minimal watering once established shall be used.

SOU's Climate Action Plan states:

Agriculture Emissions Reduction Strategies
1. Minimize climate impact of landscape maintenance. Synthetic fertilizers have significant environmental and climate impacts.
Proposed Actions:
 Increase the utilization of compost or other low-emissions fertilizer.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

An example of strategies and objectives within the policy include:

3. Toxins and Pollutants
a. Cleaning solvents shall be biodegradable, phosphate-free, and citrus-based where their use will not compromise quality of service.
b. Industrial and institutional cleaning products that meet Green Seal certification standards shall be utilized by custodial staff and outside custodial contractors.
c. All surfactants and detergents shall be readily biodegradable and shall not contain phosphates.
d. Vacuum cleaners shall meet the requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute “Green Label” Testing Program.
e. Products and equipment shall not contain lead or mercury. For products that contain lead or mercury, preference shall be given to those products with lower quantities of these metals and to vendors with established lead and mercury recovery programs.
f. When maintaining buildings and landscapes, Facilities shall manage pest problems through prevention and the use of environmentally-friendly products. Facilities shall adopt and implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy and practices using the least toxic pest control as a last resort.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:

SOU's Climate Action Plan states:

Vehicle Fleet Emissions Reduction Strategies
1. Minimize climate impact of fleet vehicles through the use of fuel-efficient vehicles or vehicles which utilize alternative technologies and fuels. As fleet vehicles are replaced, purchase vehicles which get better gas mileage or utilize alternative technologies or fuels to reduce carbon emissions.
Proposed Actions:
 Replace existing fleet vehicles with vehicles that get better mileage, or with hybrid or electric vehicles.
2. Reduce miles traveled by the vehicle fleet. The most efficient way to reduce emissions produced by fleet vehicles is to reduce the miles traveled by those vehicles. Reducing miles traveled by fleet vehicles also reduces costs for fuel.
Proposed Actions:
 Reduce or eliminate unnecessary trips.
 Utilize “runners” to pick up materials and equipment from vendors for Facilities operations.
 Create separate Facilities shops on upper and lower campuses to reduce driving back and forth to FMP.
 Discourage employees from returning to FMP for breaks.

Air Travel Emissions Reduction Strategies
1. Encourage alternative transportation modes. Other modes of transportation compare well to flying in terms of speed and convenience but have a lower carbon impact.
Proposed Actions:
 Incentivize carpooling.
2. Restrict reimbursements for air travel. A restriction on travel may be necessary to reduce emissions from air travel.
Proposed Actions:
 Eliminate or reduce reimbursements for flights less than 150 miles from the point of origin.
3. Encourage alternatives to travel.
While in-person attendance at distant meetings is required in some cases, technologies such as teleconferencing offer opportunities to reduce air travel emissions. Travel time can be reduced while still allowing desired levels of interaction.
Proposed Actions:
 Expand teleconferencing opportunities to the entire campus community.

Commuting Emissions Reduction Strategies
1. Encourage alternative modes of transportation/commuting to reduce the number of vehicle miles driven. The most effective method for reducing emissions from commuting is to reduce the number of vehicle miles driven to and from by students, faculty and staff in single occupant vehicles.
Proposed Actions:
 Make free bus passes available to students, faculty and staff; and encourage the use of public transportation for commuting to campus.
 Work with the Rogue Valley Transportation District to expand their bus routes and schedules to meet the transportation needs of students, faculty and staff.
 Raise campus parking permit rates to encourage use of public transportation.
 Encourage students, faculty and staff to ride a bike or walk to campus, when feasible.
 Provide changing rooms with showers and covered/indoor bike parking opportunities for bicycle commuters.
2. Minimize climate impact of commuting. When the use of alternative modes of ground transportation is not feasible,
minimize the impact of commuting to campus by car.
Proposed Actions:
 Implement an “Eco Driving Program” to teach campus motorists how to drive in a more energy-efficient manner.
 Offer reduced cost or free carpool parking for student, faculty and staff.
 Expand the Ride-Share Program in the Commuting Resource Center.
 Collaborate with Ashland Ride Share to utilize their hybrid vehicles to augment Motor Pool vans.
 Offer reduced cost parking permits for hybrid vehicles and scooters.
 Provide charging stations for electric vehicles; encourage use of bio-fuel vehicles.

SOU's Green Purchasing Policy states:

c. Vehicle fuels made from non-wood, plant-based contents such as vegetable oils shall be encouraged.
i. University purchasing units replacing vehicles shall consider less-polluting alternatives to gas and diesel such as
compressed natural gas, bio-based fuels, hybrids, electric batteries, and fuel cells, as available.

SOU's Campus Master Plan states:
9. The University will continue to partner with other relevant agencies – including the City and RVTD – to develop appropriate Transportation Demand Management strategies. Strategies that will be assessed include:
• Development of campus housing to facilitate full-time students ability to live close to campus and reduce or eliminate dependence on automobiles for basic commuting;
• Review parking policies and parking facilities to create disincentives to single-occupancy driving;
• Cooperate with City staff to help ensure that campus parking policies do not create an excessive burden on surrounding streets;
• Provide bicycle parking, showers and other amenities to serve bicycle commuters;
• Continue to advocate for improved transit service to the University, and cooperate with RVTD on programs designed to encourage transit usage;
• Investigation of specialized transit options such as carpool matching programs, preferred parking incentives, vanpools and/or reservation-based shuttles to events at the Higher Education Center;
• A ‘guaranteed ride home’ program for staff that commute by bus but may occasionally miss the final bus home due to work demands;
• Appropriate partnerships with local car sharing programs.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:

SOU's Climate Action Plan states:

Solid Waste Emissions Reduction Strategies
1. Decrease the volume of the waste stream. While the solid waste generated by SOU produces relatively low levels of emissions, there are opportunities to reduce these emissions through diversion of solid waste.
Proposed Actions:
 Work with SOU Dining to reduce food waste from campus food service operations.
 Work with Recology to expand and enhance the campus recycling program.
 Promote recycling in the residence halls through competitions such as RecycleMania.
 Compost all compostable materials on the campus.
2. Minimize climate impact of solid waste. Since Rogue Disposal is already generating electricity from methane at the landfill, there may be few options to lessen climate impact in a cost-effective manner.
Proposed Actions:
 Work with the waste hauler to improve efficiency of the system.

SOU's Green Purchasing Policy states:

6. Recycling
a. Purchase recycled paper with 30% post-consumer waste composition for all applications.
b. Facilitate efficient collection of recycling in all SOU buildings. Separate stations shall be established for different categories of recycling; i.e., commingle, glass, etc. Guidelines for each category will be posted at the stations.
c. Recycled, reusable, or reground materials shall be used for parking or road construction projects.
d. Purchase durable, long lasting, reusable or refillable products.
e. All documents shall be printed and copied on both sides to reduce the use and purchase of paper, whenever practicable.
f. All surplus computers, monitors and televisions and other electronic devices are considered to be universal waste and shall be sent to IT for disposal.
g. All used printer toner cartridges shall be disposed of using a toner cartridge recycling service.

7. Packaging
a. Use packaging that is reusable, recyclable or compostable. Eliminate packaging or use the minimum amount of packaging necessary for product protection.

SOU's Campus Master Plan states:
8. The University will continue to manage solid waste streams to reduce waste sent to landfill. Recyclable material collection facilities will be accommodated in new construction and renovation projects.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:

SOU's Campus Master Plan states:

7. The University will make a coordinated effort to reduce water consumption through the following means:
• Review of landscape irrigation practices, including exploration of xeriscape landscapes where appropriate;
• Use of low-flow fixtures and other emerging technologies that demonstrate significant water savings;
• Future buildings projects will assess the feasibility of both greywater and rainwater reuse for appropriate purposes such as irrigation, toilet flushing, and cooling water; and
• Replace existing manual irrigation systems with automated irrigation system to increase efficiency and reduce consumption of TID water.

SOU's Green Purchasing Policy states:

2. Water
a. Purchase only the most water-efficient appliances available, including, but not limited to, high-efficiency toilets, low-flow faucets and aerators, and upgraded irrigation systems.
b. Discourage the sale on campus of water and other beverages in plastic bottles. Where water filtration units are used, centralize the location of the units to serve more of the campus community.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:
---

Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:
---

Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:
---

Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:

SOU's Strategic Plan addresses sustainability objectives related to the arts. SOU's overarching Strategic Plan states:

Goal 2, Commitment to the Arts and the Bioregion, includes the following objectives relating to the environment and sustainability:
A. Expand and promote nationally and internationally known arts and environmental programs.
B. Strengthen partnerships with regional arts and environmental organizations.
E. Intentionally integrate the arts and sustainability throughout the curriculum and the university culture.


Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
---

The formal statement in support of sustainability:
---

The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):

SOU broadly defines sustainability as achieving increased well-being for humanity over time through an equitable and sustained utilization of critical natural capital. The SOU definition includes sustainability goals set forth by 1) the U.N. World Commission on Environment and Development (1987 Brundtland Commission) which indicated that sustainable development will “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” and 2) the intertwined “economic, social and environmental elements” of sustainability, which AASHE incorporates into its definition of sustainability.


Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) No

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

Southern Oregon University is a charter signatory of Second Nature's Presidents' Climate Commitment.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

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.