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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 Silver
Overall Score 51.95
Liaison Erin Stanforth
Submission Date July 24, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Virginia Commonwealth University
IN-1: Innovation 1

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Wyatt Carpenter
Sustainability Projects and Programs Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program

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

The wild Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica), also referred to as the Virginia Oyster, in the Chesapeake Bay is at critical population levels due to increased water pollution, loss of habitat, over-harvesting, and diseases that affect oysters. Historically, the Eastern Oyster was a significant part of the Chesapeake Bay economy and by the late 19th century the harvest was approximately 17 million bushels of oysters per year. Today, the population is estimated to be at only one to two percent of the peak number. The most recent harvest numbers of oysters was in excess of 400,000 bushels, which is a significant increase from the 2001 harvest of 23,000 bushels; however, this is still far from the historic sustainable population. The 400,000 bushels generated an estimated $42 million in revenue for the 2013 year and is a growing employer helping the local coastal economies.

VCU Rice Rivers Center piloted a successful Richmond regional effort to collect restaurant-generated oyster shells for the purpose of enhancing the Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration efforts at sanctuary sites, called the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program (VOSRP). Beginning in May, 2013, VCU partnered with the Virginia Green Travel Program, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, City of Richmond, Tidewater Fiber Corporation, Virginia Master Naturalist Program, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, and four Richmond-based restaurants (Rappahannock Restaurant, Lemaire at the Jefferson Hotel, Acacia Mid-Town, and Pearl Raw Bar) to collect used oyster shell that was being directed to the landfill. The purpose of this pilot was to demonstrate a proof of concept and feasibility analysis to determine if the necessary components could be developed to collect this restaurant-generated shell. The pilot project was essentially a zero-budget approach to coordinate partners around the single vision, to collect and return used oyster shell to the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay for the purpose of wild oyster restoration. The VCU Rice Rivers Center, partnering with the Virginia Green Travel Program, coordinated the initial efforts to obtain participation from the restaurants and the Virginia Master Naturalists.


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 ---
Research Yes
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Air & Climate ---
Buildings ---
Dining Services ---
Energy ---
Grounds ---
Purchasing ---
Transportation ---
Waste ---
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance ---
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
---

The website URL where information about the innovation 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.