Log In
  • 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 51.95
Liaison Erin Stanforth
Submission Date July 24, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Virginia Commonwealth University
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Wyatt Carpenter
Sustainability Projects and Programs Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have current and formal plans to advance sustainability in the following areas? Do the plans include measurable objectives?:
Current and Formal Plans (Yes or No) Measurable Objectives (Yes or No)
Curriculum Yes Yes
Research (or other scholarship) No No
Campus Engagement Yes No
Public Engagement No No
Air and Climate Yes No
Buildings Yes No
Dining Services/Food No No
Energy Yes No
Grounds Yes No
Purchasing No No
Transportation Yes Yes
Waste No No
Water Yes No
Diversity and Affordability Yes Yes
Health, Wellbeing and Work No No
Investment No No
Other No No

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Curriculum:

VCU is dedicated to infusing sustainability into its academic programs. This task is a primary focus of the Sustainability Academics Committee, a group of faculty, staff and students that work on gathering information about projects and courses that advance sustainability in curriculum as well as encourage faculty to include sustainability in their courses if they do not already.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Curriculum plan(s):

Measurable objectives include the number of courses offered by VCU that include sustainability in their curriculum, the number of degree programs and certificates with a sustainability focus, the number of faculty teaching sustainability principals in their courses, as well as the number of students enrolled in sustainability focused courses at VCU.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Curriculum plan(s):

The Sustainability Academics Committee and the VCU Office of Sustainability.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Research (or other scholarship):
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Research plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Research plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Campus Engagement around sustainability:

The expressed mission and vision of the university guide all its efforts, including physical development and the Master Site Plan. As the premier urban, public research university in Virginia, VCU’s mission is to advance knowledge and student success through its commitments to sustainable university-community partnerships that enhance the educational, economic, and cultural vitality of the communities VCU serves in Virginia and around the world.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Campus Engagement plan:
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Campus Engagement plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Public Engagement around sustainability:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Public Engagement plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Public Engagement plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Air and Climate:

As part of VCU's Climate Action Plan, the university will adhere to height and density guidelines articulated in VCU's Vision 2020 Master Site Plan and facilitate the creation of beneficial micro climates through building massing, landscape and street scape to help mitigate temperature and wind extremes and reduce energy loads on buildings. The university will also promote naturalization efforts and landscape enhancements that support carbon-reduction goals as well as maximize and consolidate existing and proposed green open spaces. In addition, VCU will take steps to reduce the university's commute carbon footprint.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Air and Climate plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Air and Climate plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Buildings:

As part of its commitment to sustainability, health, and safety the university will develop buildings that meet or exceed the Silver level for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, will address the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and will be designed to reflect the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). This information is from VCU's Master Site Plan, http://www.fmd.vcu.edu/docs/VCU_MasterSitePlan_FINAL.pdf.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 5, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Buildings plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Buildings plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Dining Services/Food:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Dining Services/Food plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Dining Services/Food plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Energy:

Initiatives towards sustainable, renewable energy have been taken, such as assessments for on-site solar PV and solar thermal systems along with studying the use of a renewable fuel (biomass) for its central steam plant. VCU is also a partner with the Dominion Green Power program which uniquely supports regional renewable energy resources. As such, it provides a co-benefit of achieving economic development goals within the region, as well as perhaps addressing localized air quality and related environmental impacts from conventional generation. This information is from the VCU Climate Action Plan, http://www.vcugoesgreen.vcu.edu/pdf/climate_plan_technical.pdf.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 5, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Energy plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Energy plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Grounds:

VCU is committed to providing leadership in addressing sustainability challenges through green facilities and operations. In the context of campus planning, the open space network is one of the greatest opportunities to enhance the sustainability of the campuses. A variety of elements make up the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses open space network, including:
• Greens – monumental open spaces typically planted with turf grass and canopy trees.
• Plazas – open spaces predominantly composed of hardscape.
• Courtyards and Gardens – well-defined, human-scale open spaces often planted with a rich palette of hardy perennials, shrubs, and canopy trees.
• Pedestrian Spines – campus paths that prioritize pedestrian movement through the campus; these routes also often provide strategic service and emergency access to campus facilities.
• Building Entries – common points of building ingress and egress.
• Green Skirts – areas of buffers or setbacks between a building and sidewalk or streetscape.
• Playing Fields – recreation fields for intramural, club, and athletic events.
This information is from VCU's Master Site Plan, http://www.fmd.vcu.edu/docs/VCU_MasterSitePlan_FINAL.pdf.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 5, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Grounds plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Grounds plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Purchasing:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Purchasing plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Purchasing plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Transportation:

The primary strategy is to reduce the percentage of single occupant vehicles (SOVs) across the cross section of VCU’s commuter population of faculty, students and staff.
This information is from VCU's Climate Action Plan, http://www.vcugoesgreen.vcu.edu/pdf/climate_summary_2010.pdf.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 5, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Transportation plan(s):

Reduce staff SOV by a minimum of 6% annually by a combination of converting 3% to transit ridership and another 3% to carpool.
Reduce commuting population to no greater than 50% of student body
Reduce faculty SOV by a minimum of 6% annually by a combination of converting 3% to transit ridership and another 3% to carpool.
Carefully analyze SOV costs to ensure that transit options maintain a price advantage.
Purchase offsets for air travel for 50-100% of all air travel miles.
Introduce car-sharing organizations like Zipcar to operate on campus.
Complement SOV restrictions with a guaranteed ride home program.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Transportation plan(s):

VCU Parking and Transportation
VCU Sustainable Operations Sub-Committee


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Waste:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Waste plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Waste plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Water:

Where possible, new and rejuvenated open space and streetscapes should include low-maintenance plantings to reduce maintenance and reduce use of limited resources. Strategic incorporation of additional stormwater management capacity within the campus open space network and areas between buildings and the street will make an additive and measurable impact on campus sustainability.
This information is from VCU's Master Site Plan, http://www.fmd.vcu.edu/docs/VCU_MasterSitePlan_FINAL.pdf.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 5, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Water plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Water plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Diversity and Affordability:

Summaries of the Six Strategic Goals of the University Diversity Plan
GOAL 1: VCU will create a working and learning environment where differences are
welcomed and valued to ensure a climate that offers opportunity for, and
support of, the success of all faculty and staff.
GOAL 2: VCU will increase the diversity of faculty and staff in university leadership
and decision-making roles.
GOAL 3: VCU will increase the presence of diverse faculty members at all ranks
and levels.
GOAL 4: VCU will increase the presence of diverse staff members in the higher pay
bands.
GOAL 5: VCU will maintain a student body reflective of the diversity in college
bound students in the Commonwealth of Virginia by ensuring a climate
that offers access, opportunity and support for the success of all students.
GOAL 6: VCU will strengthen the capacity of university and community partners to
engage in mutually beneficial partnerships that respect diversity, and
include groups with diverse backgrounds.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):

Goal 1 Measures (Timeline Feb. 2009-Feb. 2014)
Completion and approval of a Five Year Diversity Plan.
Resources expended for plan implementation.
Creation of Diversity Review Commissions that assist with development of unit diversity plans.
Dissemination of model diversity plans.
Creation of a highly visible diversity website on the University Homepage that assists in dissemination of information related to diversity and that provides a central location for announcements and promotion of events that celebrate diversity.

Goal 2 Measures (Timeline year 2)
Increase in diversity of institutional leadership.

Goal 3 Measures (Timeline year 1)
Reward innovative strategies that include monetary and nonmonetary benefits for advancing inclusive
excellence.

Goal 4 Measures (Timeline year 3)
Increase in diversity of staff in higher pay bands.

Goal 5 Measures (Timeline year 1 ongoing)
Utilize enrollment and recruitment reports to track progress in recruiting and increasing historically underrepresented students.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):

Division of Community Engagement
Equity and Diversity Committee
Office of Diversity


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Health, Wellbeing and Work:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Investment:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Investment plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Investment plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in other areas:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the other plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the other plan(s):
---

The institution’s definition of sustainability:
---

Does the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document include sustainability at a high level?:
---

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:
---

The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning is available:

This plan is included in as the Climate Plan and as the Sustainability Plan because it does not focus solely on climate change and green house gas reductions, but also focuses on educational opportunities, sustainability research, and sustainability related community engagement opportunities.

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.