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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 65.19
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date Feb. 13, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Louisville
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Justin Mog
Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives
Office of the Provost
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that fall into the following categories?:
Yes or No
Active student groups focused on sustainability Yes
Gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems Yes
Student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes Yes
Sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills No
Conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles Yes
Sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences Yes
Programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills Yes
Sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution Yes
Graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions Yes
Other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives Yes

The name and a brief description of each student group focused on sustainability:

UofL has several student groups focused on various aspects of sustainability.

1. Group Recycling and Sustainable Solutions (GRASS) was first recognized as a registered student organization (RSO) in February of 2009. GRASS has the goal of bringing issues of sustainability to public awareness and of enlarging the environmental movement by working with other groups. The members of GRASS participate in many events throughout the year that bring awareness to the community. Past activities included "dumpster dives," an environmental film series, and several volunteer opportunities throughout the community to provide students with both hands-on experience and a forum for discussion regarding sustainability. GRASS has a representative on UofL's Sustainability Council. More info: http://www.facebook.com/groups/25273129997/

2. The Green House Committee engages residential students at UofL in a variety of sustainability initiatives and awareness-raising campaigns, from Recyclemania and Ecolympics to a model green dorm room to end-of-semester "Lighten Your Load" campaigns for keeping unwanted items out of the landfill.

3. Engage.Lead.Serve. Board's Green Initiatives Committee is supported by SGA and engages students in service, social, educational, and networking events focused on sustainability. The committee is organizing the first-ever Student Sustainability Summit for UofL in February 2016. http://www.uoflelsb.org/green-initiatives.html

4. In the fall of 2010, UofL launched a student-chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council with a focus on expanding their LEED design and green building knowledge. More info: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Student-LEED-Group-University-of-Louisville/104199722986682

5. In the spring of 2010, a group of students interested in gardening and local food systems formed around the creation of the campus Garden Commons project at the Cultural Center and the group gained status as a Registered Student Organization in summer 2010. More info: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=113263822035351

6. UofL's Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter raised funds and organized students throughout 2015 to build the first-ever student-funded and student-built, LEED-designed home for a needy family in Louisville. http://orgsync.com/50196/chapter

7. The Cardinal Student/Farmworker Alliance formed in 2015 to advocate for the rights and fair treatment of farmworkers who help supply food for the campus and the country. https://www.facebook.com/CardinalSFA

8. Student Athletes Taking Action (SATA) formed during the 2013-14 year as a grassroots initiative of student athletes to help engage other students and Athletics staff in sustainability and social justice. They have helped launch composting and shoe-collection initiatives at Athletics facilities and organized the Cards Go Green home game promotions in April 2014. http://www.facebook.com/groups/421683291298792/

9. Cards United Against Sweatshops formed in 2014 to encourage the responsible sourcing of UofL apparel and to advocate for fair treatment and living wages for all workers, including those on campus. http://www.facebook.com/groups/1395717654022910/

10. The Louisville Student Cycling Coalition actively encourages students to ride bicycles for fun and transportation. They advocate for improved bike facilities on campus, provide bike repair assistance and training, and host the UofL Cycling Team. http://uoflcycling.com/


The website URL where information about student groups is available:
A brief description of gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems:

On March 3, 2010, volunteers from across the UofL community gathered at the Cultural Center to break ground on the Garden Commons - a hands-on effort to educate and involve students in organic local food production. The garden is student-managed, originally through an internship program and now by the Garden Commons Recognized Student Organization whose goal is: "Educating ourselves to become urban farmers." Though everyone in the UofL community is invited to participate, students have taken the lead role in making decisions about what to plant, how to care for the crops, and what to do with the harvest. The Garden Commons has hosted an on-going series of workshops about organic gardening, agriculture, and food justice.
In June 2011, the Garden Commons received a grant to significantly expand and install a greenhouse, rain barrels, signage, more growing beds, and an outdoor gathering space. Watch a video about the expansion at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkR3-3UD4vw&feature=player_embedded.

In May 2013, graduate students and staff in the Dept. of Urban & Public Affairs broke ground on a new "Horticulture Zone" designed by students to highlight sustainable permaculture principles. The garden was created by removing under-utilized lawn that had to be mowed with fossil fuels and now features four raised beds for vegetables, an historic apple tree and 14 newly planted fruit trees, a no-mow nitrogen-fixing clover plot, bird-feeders and native plants to attract wildlife, two compost bins, and three rain barrels. The garden is majority-funded by student government and managed by students in collaboration with staff.


The website URL where information about the organic agriculture and/or sustainable food systems projects and initiatives is available:
A brief description of student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes:

The CardShirt Company is run by students in UofL's College of Business. The non-profit company is dedicated to increasing interest in University of Louisville athletics and academics through the creation and sale of an annually themed t-shirt. During the 2011-12 year, CardShirt went 'green' by souring t-shirts from Edun Live, a company devoted to developing trade with Africa and sourcing materials from the Conservation Cotton Initiative Uganda (CCIU), to affect change at the start of the supply chain and Edun Live primarily uses CCIU cotton.
The CardShirt Company provides invaluable experience to students at the University of Louisville by allowing them the opportunity to run a real business while generating profits for student scholarships. The CardShirt Scholarship is a $2,000 scholarship awarded every April. The scholarship is awarded to a student with a junior or senior standing (for 2010-2011 year) in the College of Business with a 3.0 minimum GPA. Applicants must write an essay demonstrating commitment to building community and tradition for the CoB and UofL including volunteer work, membership to clubs at UofL/CoB, and attendance of sporting events around campus.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprise(s) is available:
A brief description of the sustainable investment or finance initiatives:

n/a


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment or finance initiatives is available:
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A brief description of conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

Throughout the year, UofL hosts a wide variety of sustainability events for students. Major sustainability related conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events at UofL include:
- EcoReps Monthly Sustainability Workshop Series
- Organic Gardening Workshop Series
- Bluegrass Bioneers Conference (October)
- Climate Change Teach-In (April)
- TEDxUofL conferences on “3Es for the Future: Education, Entrepreneurship & Environment" (March 2012) and "Interconnect" (February 2015) http://tedx.uofl.com/
- Campus Community Partnerships for Sustainability conference (organized and hosted by UofL in 2012)
- Conscious College Road Tour & Sustainability Town Hall (March 2014)


The website URL where information about the event(s) is available:
A brief description of cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

1. In April 2015, the Engage.Lead.Serve Board's Green Initiatives and Student Activities Board presented an unforgettable day of performers and action for sustainability dubbed "Ecochella" - Sustainability Fair, Speakers & Music Fest! A sustainability fair was be held outside the Red Barn during the afternoon, followed by an evening of speakers and live music. Our speakers, who shed light on the idea that "sustainability is more than recycling" included: 1. Dale Douthat, director of Habitat for Humanity ReStore of Metro Louisville; 2. John Krueger, co-founder of Falls City Community Bikeworks; and 3. Carmen Black, regional coordinator for the Real Food Challenge.

2. The student environmental group, GRASS, has organized sustainability film series for students in past years. The 2013-14 series, for example, included screenings of: " YERT - Your Environmental Road Trip;" "Chasing Ice;" "Gasland;" "Wonder: The Lives of Anna & Harlan Hubbard;" "Bringing it Home;" "Deep Down: A Story from the Heart of Coal Country;" and "The Ghosts in Our Machine."

2. The Sustainability Council organizes UofL's participation in PARK(ing) Day, an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks and creative spaces. In 2013, UofL's Urban Design Studio also organized a Tactical Urbanism Workshop, Block Party & Salon to transform an entire city block. Tactical Urbanism is a fast-growing, international movement to catalyze change in cities by utilizing highly creative, small-scale pilot projects and other actions to advance long-term change for urban sustainability.

4. April's Earth Week activities organized by the Student Activities Board has featured a Recyclable Sculpture Contest in which teams have 30 minutes to construct whatever they want out of the recyclables that their team has collected. The results are judged and prizes awarded.

5. In 2015, UofL's Cressman Center for Visual Arts featured an art installation entitled “Phytophilic: New works by Gabrielle Mayer and Gail Wisdom." Mayer’s pieces for “Phytophilic” are nature-oriented with hair twisted, braided and entwined into wreath-like patterns and floral motifs. The floral focus ties in with Wisdom’s images of weeds. Wisdom’s medium is camera-less photography, or photographic contact printing, and her subject is botanicals.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts event(s) is available:
A brief description of wilderness or outdoors programs for students that follow Leave No Trace principles:

UofL offers both for-credit and extracurricular outdoors programs for students that follow Leave No Trace principles:

1) HSS 133-90 BACKPACKING AND HIKING is a one-credit course offered each semester and meeting at various local parks. The course provides the knowledge of the physical activity and recreational components involved in backpacking and hiking. Emphasis is placed on planning, equipment, clothing, environmental impact and safety.

2) In December 2014, UofL students organized a new club with this focus. Expedition Cards is an outdoors club that brings together students that have an interest in the outdoors and outdoors recreation. Through the club, students organize regularly group opportunities to hike and camp among other things. https://www.facebook.com/Expeditioncards


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Through the Book-In-Common program, UofL students are encouraged to read and explore a common text throughout the academic year. The text is also incorporated into English 101 and other classrooms across disciplines.

In the 2013-2016 academic years, the text, "This I Believe" was selected to engage students in critical thinking and discussion about their fundamental beliefs and motivations. Themes vital to sustainability were included in many of the essays featured in the book and written by UofL students, faculty, and staff participating in the Book-in-Common program.

In the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years, the text, "The Other Wes Moore" by author Wes Moore highlighted a variety of social sustainability themes including urban poverty, racism, access to education, and justice. The book has been very well-received by UofL's diverse student population and has spurred a deep interest in service projects to empower under-served youth in Louisville.

In the 2010-11 academic year, the text, "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" (2005) by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner challenged students to consider the interconnectivity of major issues shaping our world and the sustainability implications of seemingly unrelated policy and design decisions.

The Office of First Year Initiatives partners with the Sustainability Council and other campus and local community organizations to provide a series of out-of-class activities revolving around sustainability themes and issues raised throughout the Book-In-Common. Related activities take place throughout the academic year, including a featured keynote speaker (brought to campus in 2010 and 2011 as a part of UofL Sustainability Week), out-of-class group discussions, essay contests, film screenings, and faculty lectures/panels.

The Book-in-Common program supports new students in their transition and acculturation to UofL and engages the campus community through a series of curricular and co-curricular activities related to a common text. Through cross-campus collaborations, Book-in-Common supports the university mission of intellectual and cultural development, the President’s Vision for Diversity, and the university’s goals of developing students’ critical thinking skills and community engagement.


The website URL where information about the theme is available:
A brief description of program(s) through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

UofL's model Green Dorm Room opened in Louisville Hall in Fall 2009, but was first developed as a challenge to 10 students in Jamie Horwitz's Spring 2009 Sustainable Architecture course. At the request of Russ Barnett, director of research and development for the Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development, these students gave their input to design the room as a model of sustainable living on campus.

Turning the students' conceptual design into an actual dorm room was made possible with a $5,000 grant from Arts and Sciences Dean Blaine Hudson.

Certain features distinguish this room from any other on campus. These differences are much more sustainable and aesthetically pleasing:
- The floors are made of bamboo, a faster-growing and more sustainable alternative than wood, synthetic flooring or carpet.
- One wall is covered in clay, a natural building material which has insulating properties, improves air quality by catching dust, and is easier to repair and maintain. Large windows let in plenty of natural light, eliminating the need to use electric lights during the day.
- A ceiling fan helps regulate temperatures more efficiently.
- A low-flow showerhead and toilet, as well as an aerator on the faucet, has cut water use by about 50 percent.
With high ceilings, large windows and the several distinctive "green" characteristics, the room is more like a modern, innovative, energy efficient living space than a typical dorm.

Residents of the model green dorm room participate actively in the Housing Green Committee, act as sustainability leaders within the community, and welcome tours to demonstrate sustainable living principles.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn7Fw3Kd3GM

Read more about the student design process at: http://php.louisville.edu/news/news.php?news=1374

Read more about the experience of living in UofL's model green dorm room: http://louisville.edu/uofltoday/campus-news/uofl-green-scene-living-green-and-loving-it


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-focused student employment opportunities:

Each year, the Sustainability Council hires students (work-study, interns, and/or graduate assistants) to help implement a wide variety campus sustainability initiatives. In 2014, the Council launched a new Sustainability Internship program to hire students on campus. Now the UofL Sustainability Council offers a limited number of paid internships each year for particularly passionate students who are interested in learning by doing. Internships are open to any qualified UofL student (undergraduate or graduate, full- or part-time). All interns are paid $10/hour (no benefits) for an average of 10 hours/week throughout the fall and spring semesters. Some positions may be extended into the summer or renewed in the following academic year. In 2015-16, positions included:
- Zero Waste Internship
- Sustainability Communication Internship
- UofL Community Composting Internship
- Bike Mechanic Internship
- STARS & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting / Gardening Internship


The website URL where information about the student employment opportuntities is available:
A brief description of graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions:

UofL's Student Government Association created the following voluntary Sustainability Graduation Pledge in 2011 in partnership with the national Graduation Pledge Alliance, and in collaboration with UofL's Sustainability Council. The goal is to encourage UofL students to take what they've learned about social and environmental responsibility into their future lives and careers. Those planning to graduate soon are encouraged to take the pledge:

University of Louisville Sustainability Graduation Pledge

"As a concerned, educated member of society, and as a Graduate of the University of Louisville, I believe it is my duty to be concerned about and respectful of both the environment and my fellow human beings.
As a Louisville Cardinal, I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider.
I will give careful thought to the environmental impact of the actions I choose, both in my personal life, and within any organizations for which I work or choose to affiliate."


The website URL where information about the graduation pledge program is available:
A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Throughout the year, UofL hosts a wide variety of sustainability events for students - from lectures to service activities to conferences to fairs to films and performances.

Major annual sustainability events at UofL include:
- Campus Sustainability Day / Week (October)
- Bluegrass Bioneers Conference (October)
- Climate Change Teach-In (April)
- Earth Week Celebrations (April)
- SOUL - Student Outreach Uniting Louisville service events (August-May)


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives 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.