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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 Silver
Overall Score 60.07
Liaison Mark Klapatch
Submission Date Feb. 24, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Wisconsin-River Falls
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Mark Klapatch
Sustainability and Custodial Supervisor
Facilities Management
"---" 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:

Pathway to Distinction. This 8-year strategic plan, developed through a highly participatory process, was launched in 2012, signaling an important moment in the university's history. Pathway to Distinction builds upon the historic strengths and values of our campus, yet has at its core a commitment to advance the university and boldly define its distinctiveness.

Pathway to Distinction serves as our road map as we navigate challenges such as declining state support, increased reliance on student tuition and fees, a highly competitive marketplace, and transformational and global changes in technology, demography, and the environment. Having a strategic plan allows us to make hard choices, allocate scarce resources, continually measure and assess our progress, and celebrate our success.

The three Strategic Plans are:
Distinctive Academic Excellence - UW-River Falls will strategically enhance and build distinctive academic programs that support a community of diverse, talented, and highly-engaged learners and scholars. The university's highest aspiration will be to foster an inclusive, challenging, learner-centered environment that supports academic excellence. The university aspires to further differentiate itself in the state and region through its academic programs, and be among the national leaders in undergraduate and collaborative research, scholarship, and creative activity.

Global Education and Engagement - Global learning and comprehensive internationalization will serve as a distinctive feature of UW-River Falls. The university aspires to distinguish itself as being among the national leaders in internationalization among public comprehensive, master’s level institutions.

Innovation and Partnerships - UW-River Falls will incentivize and support innovation, often in collaboration with others, to support student learning, enhance the distinctiveness and stature of the university, and catalyze economic and sustainable community development. Our partnerships will reinforce the value of the university to the state and region.


A copy of the strategic plan:
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The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

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):
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:

Measurable Objectives currently includes trending metrics for
- Goal of new faculty in each annual Sustainability Across the Curriculum Workshop
- Sustainability Faculty Fellows membership numbers (now 50+)
- Undergraduate Research & Falcon Scholar projects w/ a sustainability-based focus
- New & redesigned sustainability-based courses


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

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

- Develop a definition of sustainability research.
- Develop conduits for sustainability research reporting for both individual faculty/student research and by department.
- Develop programs to encourage faculty and students to conduct research in sustainability; such incentives may include fellowships, financial support, workshops, and mentorships.
- Develop a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines/academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics.
- Formal documentation articulating collaboration and achievement of sustainability-based projects as part of URSCA and Falcon Scholars.


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:

- On-going funding of the Office of Sustainability
- Continued funding for 1/4 time releaseor more for the Sustainability Faculty Fellows Coordinator
- Progress on SWG's sustainability projects/efforts
- Increased collaboration with the City of River Falls


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

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

- Programs and project efforts, done jointly between the two bodies (Community Solar project was a notable 2015 project, but there are several other lesser projects that have been accomplished).
- Increased collaboration with the City of River Falls such as the Kinni Corridor Planning Project


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:

- Annual GHG footprint completion using the Clean Air Cool Planet calculator (1990-2015);
- Annual reporting on carbon footprint reduction since benchmark of 2006 (currently at ~20% reduction);


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:

- Measurable objectives are identified and tracked through the prioritized list of energy and water efficiency projects as maintained by Facilities Management and facilitated through the Energy Project Committee which meets monthly.
- Major effort in past two years with the hiring of Brittany Thill as a CAD Specialist to digitize all buildings plans, sort and file old buildings plans and project records, and provide further digital resources for staff in the field


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:

Measurable objectives are identified and tracked through the prioritized list of energy efficiency projects as maintained by Facilities Management and facilitated through the Energy Project Committee which meets monthly. As per above in Air & Climate, and in Buildings:
- Annual GHG footprint completion using the Clean Air Cool Planet calculator;
- Annual reporting on carbon footprint reduction since benchmark of 2006 (currently at ~20% reduction) *leads the UW System in energy consumption as defined by btu/gsf for the past four years; and

*Community Solar participation in 2016 which makes UWRF the largest community partner at approximately 10% of total project


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:

Priority Actions
- Work with Food Service provider to develop a purchase portfolio where 50% or more of food and beverage purchases are grown and processed within 250 miles of UWRF or are third-party certified (USDA Organic, Marine Stewardship Council Blue Ecolabel, Food Alliance, Fair Trade, Certified Humane Raised and Handled, etc.)
- Increase dining options to include diverse, complete-protein vegan dining options during every meal.
- Develop sustainability policies for food service franchisees operating on campus.
- Develop an official pre-and post-consumer waste program.
- Implement a program to donate leftover or surplus food to local food pantries, etc.
- Implement a reusable to-to food container program in which Dining Services provides reusable containers for to-go food that are returned for cleaning and re-use.
- Continue to update outdated equipment with Energy Star certified equipment.


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:

Primarily:
- Reduction in synthetic chemical applications (Integrated Pest Management practices);
- Increase in storm water management effectiveness (Falcon Center project the most notable recent project); and
- Utilization of native species vegetation whenever practical.


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:

Case by case 'green purchasing' of products and services whenever practical and achievable under state purchasing and contract guidelines. More emphasis is going to be put on purchasing and tracking green cleaning products. We still need to purchase from the mandatory state contract for paper, so the increase of post-consumer recycled paper content choice would have to come up from a State level. We will continue to work on developing a vendor code of conduct policy that sets expectations about social and environmental responsibility for our vendor database.


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:

- On-going support and utilization of the car pooling / ride share board in the University Center.
- On-going support and utilization of the Enterprise CarShare (formerly WeCar), program on campus, especially for International Student use;
- On-going support, funding, and participation in the We Bike River Falls campus and community organization for which we have received two annual grants from New Belgium Brewery;
- Participation and host of one community location for new Blue Bike program which was planned in 2015 and launched on Earth Day in 2016; and
- On-going planning, design, and implementation of pedestrian and bicycle corridors and pathways as part of the new Campus Master Plan.


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:

- On-going participation in annual RecycleMania contest
- On-going evaluation of campus refuse and recycling operations to adjust collection schedules to optimize space in dumpsters and reduce hauler trucks coming to and from campus.
- On-going development of new programs (Campus/Community Battery Recycling program)
- The Office of Sustainability hired a student intern for the Spring 2016 semester to complete an internship focused on waste minimization. They researched what other colleges and universities have done in terms of waste minimization, conducted a survey out to the UWRF students/faculty/staff to gain an understanding about the perceptions and behaviors around recycling, analyzed the survey as well as containers available through the state contracts, and ultimately presented a waste minimization proposal. This led to 2 pilot projects for the Fall 2016 semester and is being expanded to additional areas in 2017 as funds are available.


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:

- On-going completion of segregated water metering for individual buildings as water supply interruption and academic schedules allow;
- On-going tracking of campus-wide water use and utility bills as primary trend data; and
- On-going retrofit and new building installation of water efficiency technologies (e.g. campus wide program for water bottle fill stations). Every academic building now has at least one in a primary location and by the start of 2017, nearly every one in the Residence Halls will have been replaced.


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

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

- Fulfillment of the $20 million campaign for scholarships and student support (most notably Falcon Scholars)
- On-going activity around our Affirmative Action plan goals


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

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

The fund performance is monitored against the entire endowment portfolio and against industry benchmarks, as chosen by the Investment Committee of the UWRF Foundation.


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

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

- On-going utilization of companion animal / therapy dog presence in campus settings for student, faculty, and staff stress reduction;
- On-going enforcement of recently enacted 'tobacco free campus' policy, among other well-intended policies (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug committee and Health and Wellness Committee);
- On-going success in risk management and safety of all stakeholders on campus; and
- Health & Wellness Management Program utilization of the campus as a living-learning laboratory to the benefit of all.


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:

- Ongoing funding for expansion of sustainability curriculum, including the arts.
- Increase sustainability awareness and sustainability-minded culture as a result of cumulative projects and efforts


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)? :
Yes

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

Sustainability Proclamation
RESOLUTION DECLARING RIVER FALLS AN ASPIRING SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY
Whereas, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls acknowledges that the difficult
challenges facing the world represent great opportunities to support the deeply-rooted traditional values of our nation, state and community including self-sufficiency, economic vitality, opportunity for all to enjoy a high quality of life, deep respect for the land and environment, and strong commitment to democratic participation; and

Whereas, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls recognizes that it desires a prosperous,
sustainable future for current and coming generations; and

Whereas, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls wishes to strongly support its own
sustainability goals and those of the City of River Falls, the School District of River Falls, and the entire River Falls community, as well as those of federal and state governments, thus taking full advantage of opportunities including, but not limited to, program funding, support, and resources; and

Whereas, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls pledges to support the sustainability
goals of the St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity Eco-village; and

Whereas, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls wishes to share its knowledge and
encourage and reinforce partner and leadership roles already in the region, state and nation to pursue sustainability in community planning, design, education, health care, and social services; and

Whereas, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls recognizes that it will take the collective
good will and determined work of citizens, educators, students, businesses, civic organizations, households, and government to become a more sustainable community; and

Whereas, by endorsing sustainable community development, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is pledging to educate itself and its constituents further about sustainability principles and practices, and to expand educational initiatives, professional development, and entrepreneurship in support of this pledge; and

Whereas, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls strives to be part of a more sustainable
community through collaborative efforts to reduce pollution, limit the degradation or destruction of ecosystems; reduce “carbon footprint” produced by energy use, transportation, and other sources; and reduce conditions that undermine people’s capacity to lead productive, healthy, and civically-engaged lives,

Now, Therefore Be It Resolved, that the University of Wisconsin-River
Falls declares itself part of an Aspiring Sustainable Community by endorsing the values,
principles, and practices of sustainability described herein, and agrees to seek opportunities for collaboration, communication, and partnership with the City of River Falls, the School District of River Falls, and possibly other neighboring entities, in joint sustainability efforts.


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

UWRF ‘Sustainability Definition’
“UWRF defines sustainability as our local and global responsibility to meet the needs of present and future generations, as demonstrated by an integrated set of ecologic, social, and economic values, principles, and practices that frame how we think, choose, and act in personal, professional, and community life.”


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 No
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:

In addition to the strategic plan and the UWRF sustainability proclamation, UWRF engages with Second Nature. While UWRF is no longer a member due to financial limitations, UWRF continues to support Second Nature initiatives, most recently the letter to the incoming President.


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.