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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 69.60
Liaison Shanna Eller
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of North Carolina, Greensboro
IN-1: Innovation 1

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Trey McDonald
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Peabody Park Soundscape Project

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :

The Peabody Park Soundscape Project centers around the concept of soundscapes. The term “soundscape” refers to the acoustic component of a landscape, unique to each and every place on Earth. Soundscape ecology is a new and developing area of research, especially with regards to campus soundscapes. In a way, the soundscape can be thought of as binding us to our environment. Engaging with soundscapes is therefore an important part of engaging with nature.

In February 2015, UNCG installed three interpretive signs in a natural area of its campus to raise awareness of soundscapes and call attention to issues of soundscape ecology. The signs were conceptualized and designed by UNCG student William Hueholt, and funded in part by a competitive grant from UNCG’s Office of Sustainability. The signs are made of high-quality aluminum and are a semi-permanent installation, serving to draw attention to a unique part of campus in an innovative context.

The purpose of these signs is threefold: first, to simply help inform students of the existence of Peabody Park and the Park’s prairie; second, to elucidate various details of the distinctive soundscape of the Park; and third, to encourage students to listen deeply within the Park and other environments they experience.

Peabody Park is an ideal location for experiencing soundscapes not only because it contains a wide variety of plant and animal life but also because this life is easily observed by university students and visitors alike. The Park is home to a carefully-maintained Piedmont prairie, a fragile and rare native habitat that was recreated on campus through a partnership among Biology students and faculty, Grounds staff, and the Peabody Park Preservation Committee. Beyond the prairie habitat, dense barriers of plants block significant amounts of traffic rumble, and the small size of the prairie keeps animal activity close to the path. Even the fragmented nature of the habitat within the Park lends itself well to sonic exploration, because very different soundscapes can be encountered within mere feet of each other. This underscores the importance of small habitat as well as provoking the question, “How would this sound if it were bigger?”

The primary outcome of this project is the installation of three 24”x30” informational signs throughout the western section of Peabody Park. The first sign, installed at the at the head of a path leading past a golf course, introduces and defines the term “soundscape,” gives an example of soundscape (via a visual graph), and touches on the ecological importance of soundscapes. The second sign, placed just before the prairie, near a stream culvert, includes a colorful map of Peabody Park Prairie’s soundscape and information relating to the prairie’s sounds. The third sign, placed just before the crest of a hill on the golf course, covers sustainability-related topics, including the developing concepts of sound equity and acoustic niches. Each sign also includes a trail map, giving the Peabody Park recreational area some badly-needed visibility.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):
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A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of 5):
Yes or No
Curriculum Yes
Research Yes
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Air & Climate ---
Buildings ---
Dining Services ---
Energy ---
Grounds Yes
Purchasing ---
Transportation ---
Waste ---
Water ---
Coordination, Planning & Governance ---
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
Sustainability and the arts

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
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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.