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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 Gold
Overall Score 81.30
Liaison Sarah Munro
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
IN-27: Innovation D

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Sarah Munro
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Policy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
The Perennial Project

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In Spring 2017, UConn’s Spring Valley Student Farm began the Perennial Project, an ongoing entirely student-run program to redesign their gardens in a sustainable manner.

In March, the students educated themselves on the process of permaculture: accounting for topography, human traffic, and environmental factors. They also learned about implementing ethics, such as preserving and restoring natural systems, promoting mental wellbeing, and avoiding overconsumption.

The April meeting occurred at the EcoGarden site, where participants conducted a site assessment, which consisted of soil pH sampling, dimensional measurements, wind speed, and solar path finder use, to create basemap overlays.

A second April meeting began the process of in-depth site design. Students learned to implement the concepts of Permaculture Zones, the 12 Permaculture Design Principles, Webs of Connections, and Functions, Systems, and Elements.

The garden restructuring will be applied with student volunteers this Fall, and are incorporating many different permaculture design elements including:

Rainwater harvesting
Drip irrigation
Solar-powered compost tea
Sheet mulching
Starting an edible forest garden

The Perennial Project will also continue into the Spring and Fall of 2018, as students from EcoHouse work to implement permaculture into the Hillside Environmental Education Park (HEEP) as part of an edible landscape project.

The food grown at Spring Valley Student Farm is utilized in multiple restaurants throughout the UConn campus, including Chuck & Augie’s and Whitney Dining Hall. This allows for even greater community engagement with the projects.

Furthermore, students developed a website to educate the larger UConn community about the benefits of planting perennial gardens and to encourage other students to become actively engaged in the food growing process.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Research
Campus Engagement
Food & Dining

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.