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Stanford University Becomes Second Institution to Earn AASHE STARS Platinum Rating

AASHE

2017.08.29-NewsFeed-Stanford AASHE STARS-IMAGE

Stanford University earned a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Platinum rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements, making it one of only two higher education institutions in the world to reach this milestone. Stanford’s report is publicly available on the STARS website.

STARS measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education and is a signature program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

“This accomplishment highlights all the great sustainability work happening at Stanford University,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “We are proud to recognize this substantial commitment to advance sustainability at Stanford and in the surrounding community.”

This STARS Platinum-rated report is the institution’s fourth submission and represents Stanford’s strong foundation as an institution with a comprehensive and collaborative approach to sustainability. Recent advancements that helped propel Stanford to STARS Platinum include the installation of solar panels at 15 sites on campus in March 2017 and the launch of the 67 MW off-campus Stanford Solar Generating Station (SSGS) in December 2016. In the last year, Stanford has also expanded student, staff, and faculty engagement opportunities in sustainability through the My Cardinal Green Platform, which launched in May 2017 to encourage individual action in environmental conservation. The university has seen continual increases in the number of sustainability courses and sustainable living opportunities offered on campus.

Launched in 2009, STARS was developed by the higher education community through a transparent and inclusive process. With over 800 participants spanning six continents, STARS is the most widely recognized framework for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to higher education sustainability performance. Participating institutions report achievements in academics, campus & community engagement, operations and planning & administration.

In line with AASHE’s rigorous review protocol for STARS Platinum-rated reports, AASHE staff reviewed the entire contents of Stanford University’s submission prior to publication to ensure that credit criteria and intent were met. Stanford’s STARS report is coordinated and submitted by the Office of Sustainability, with support from over 70 campus partners.

Read more here.

Penn State University Researcher Helps Beaver Stadium & Other Sports Venues Reduce Waste

The University Network
By Susan Chu

2017.08.02-NewsFeed-Penn State-IMAGE

Penn State University’s Beaver Stadium, home to the Nittany Lions football team, is the second largest university stadium in the U.S. It hosts seven home games each year with attendance for each game reaching anywhere from 110,000 to 150,000. Imagine the waste generated in the stadium and the surrounding parking lots, which together occupy 110 acres of land! Fortunately, Judd Michael, professor of business management for natural resources industry at Penn State, has been helping Beaver Stadium reduce waste on game days. He is also using his expertise to help other sports venues, such as Pocono International Raceway and NASCAR Green, find “green” solutions.

The University Network (TUN) spoke with Michael about his efforts to make sports venues more environmentally friendly.

Zero Waste Showcase at Beaver Stadium

Michael’s efforts to reduce waste at Beaver Stadium started in 2013 when he partnered with Green Sports Alliance and NatureWorks to make the President’s and Governmental Affairs suites section of Beaver Stadium a zero waste showcase. The initiative resulted in 95 percent diversion of landfill waste at the first home game in 2013 and 100 percent diversion by the last game. Diversion in 2014 was also 100 percent at each game. If the same initiative were applied to the whole stadium, over 50 tons of waste would be diverted after each game.

Michael also collaborated with various departments at Penn State, including the President’s Office, Office of Donor Relations, Office of Governmental Affairs, Hospitality Services, Intercollegiate Athletics, and Office of Physical Plant, to make the initiative a success.

He relied on more than 30 Penn State students as his zero-waste ambassadors at each game to educate and engage fans on the zero-waste goals. “I have had multiple undergrad and graduate classes working on the campus zero waste projects,” Michael told TUN. “This has been good experience for the students and they have made a tangible impact on operations while gaining valuable skills.”

The initiative introduced the use of eco-friendly cups, utensils, plates, and straws from Ingeo. “Packaging and foodservice items were the first step in achieving our zero waste goals,” said Michael in a statement. “Having Ingeo’s ASTM-certified products allowed us to have confidence that the materials we collected would be compatible with our university composting system. We were also confident that the suites clientele would not be disappointed in the performance of the foodservice items provided by StalkMarket.”

Compostable materials from each game were taken to Penn State’s own composting facility and converted into mulch over time, so it could be used on campus or sold to others. “We are lucky to have our own state-of-the-art composting facility where we can test various materials and send compostables with a very small transportation footprint,” Michael said. He credits NatureWorks and PepsiCo for their contribution to the university’s composting efforts.

Read the full story here.

Guest Blog: Zero Waste Initiative at the IU Natatorium at IUPUI

2017 Environmental Innovator of the Year: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Office of Sustainability

Guest Blog by IUPUI

Photo: J.D. Gray

Photo: J.D. Gray

The Zero Waste Initiative at the IU Natatorium at IUPUI started with an email from the IU Natatorium staff to the IUPUI Office of Sustainability: “We would like discuss ideas to bring sustainability to the forefront of our customer’s minds [in the ProShop].  One idea was to was to get recycled or environmentally-friendly bags to take their purchases home.”  Upon meeting, the conversation quickly morphed from which bag type was best suited for the venue to how the IU Natatorium could work towards something bigger – zero waste.  The idea was initially met with some incredulity.  It seemed like a big change, and a bit risky, for the “fastest pool in the world.”

Despite the unknown that accompanies all change, the timing could not have been more perfect.  The Natatorium was undergoing a $20 million renovation, and there was an amazing sustainability story to tell.  Lighting upgrades to the facility would result in 43% less energy usage than prior to renovation.  The filtration system for the competition and diving pools were replaced, which would reduce water usage by 65% and filtration energy by 25%.  All traditional water fountains were to be replaced with water bottle filling stations that allow users to refill their reusable bottles.  All agreed that working towards zero waste seemed like a natural fit for a world-class pool, especially since the newly-renovated facility would debut at the 2016 Olympic Dive Trials from June 18-26.  With national television coverage, as well as fans and athletes from across the country, this event was a phenomenal platform for telling the IU Natatorium’s sustainability story.

Working with ten campus and community partners, the IUPUI Office of Sustainability galvanized efforts to make the Olympic Dive Trials the first zero waste athletic event in Indiana and the first zero waste Olympic event in the world. Operational changes in the facility included altering in-venue food and product offerings to minimize trash, an innovative re-design of the concessions menu to reflect end use of items purchased, installing new waste infrastructure and signage, altering back-of-house waste management processes, developing a communications and social media campaign in collaboration with USA Diving and the Olympics Local Organizing Committee, creating print material, and recruiting volunteers to assist with the effort.

Engagement programming included a waterway restoration project the day before the Dive Trials, attended by over 30 individuals. The fan engagement area – the “H2O Zone” – included opportunities for fans to learn about zero waste, play interactive games, and take zero waste selfies. Additionally, volunteers walked the facility during the event to engage with fans around topics of recycling and compost. As a result of these operational and engagement efforts, the IU Natatorium achieved its zero waste goal with a 93% waste diversion rate. Over 10,00 fans and athletes learned about and participated in the zero waste effort.

With 10 community partners involved – IUPUI Sustainability, IUPUI Food Services/Chartwells, IUPUI Campus Facility Services, IU Herron School of Art + Design, IU Natatorium, Indiana Sports Corp, USA Diving, Olympic Local Organizing Committee, Ray’s Trash, and GreenCycle of Indiana – the impact of this program was felt across the Indianapolis athletic community, as well as the Olympic community.

As a result of this program’s success, future athletic events hosted in Indianapolis are now considering sustainability early on in the process. The Zero Waste Initiative at the IU Natatorium is an exemplary example of the positive impact collaborative efforts can have on sustainability, and we are looking forward to working with our community to grow sustainability in athletics in Indianapolis in the future.

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