A clear, common definition of sustainability is necessary for effective communication and coordination around learning and action across campus. This Target invokes a campus-wide definition and standardized reporting of existing sustainability courses. To successfully facilitate this goal and others, an Academic Sustainability Manager will be hired.

The 2021 Action Plan will also lay foundations for the development of a UW-wide sustainability course or other general requirement, and begin work toward a common, minimum sustainability learning outcome by 2025.

Target actions for 2021

Sustainability plan guiding principles

  •  Ensure students achieve sustainability literacy
  •  Choose our research conscientiously
  •  Keep equity and inclusion at the center
  •  Use resources responsibly
  •  Decarbonize

AASHE STARS categories:

  • AC 1

    Academic Courses

  • AC 2

    Learning Outcomes


Identify and agree to a shared vision and definition of sustainability, recognizing the importance of integrating economic, social, cultural, and ecological domains as a mean to address climate change and associated social injustices within local, regional, and global contexts. This action will require engagement with UW community members across all three campuses to form a working group that develops a sustainability definition and framework. A clear framework around sustainability is necessary for effective communication and coordination in the design of courses and research opportunities across campuses.

Steps we will take in FY 2021

  1. UW community members will participate in a multi-phased engagement process facilitated by UW Sustainability staff in partnership with Population Health Initiative staff to create an inclusive vision and definition of sustainability. Through this work, a task force group will be identified composed of interested members of the different colleges, schools, and units across the three campuses, who will work on socializing and creating this framework.

     

  2. After the UW Environmental Stewardship Committee approves this shared framework, it will be published together with a set of tools and resources to guide its implementation.

     

  3. Seek funding for a .50 or 1.0 FTE Sustainability Academic Coordinator manager position to help in the advancement and implementation of academic and research goals contained in this plan.

     

Responsible party

UW Sustainability, Population Health Initiative, EarthLab, faculty

Statuses and linkages

Financing

No additional financing needed in FY 2021.

Metrics

The first year will develop a process for gathering input to assess how we are engaging across our campuses. Quantitative and qualitative data will assess the potential impacts of the following:

  • Representation of faculty from Seattle, Bothell, Tacoma campuses.

  • Representation of diversity, co-curricular groups and RSOs.

  • Representation of staff input.

This action enables changes that can affect STARS credit AC-2 Learning Outcomes where UW shows a point gap of 5.86.


Catalogue and identify all existing sustainability-oriented courses through the design of a standardized reporting system that incorporates a shared sustainability framework.

Steps we will take in FY 2021

  1. Using the shared sustainability framework as a reference, build a centralized reporting platform to collect information across campuses and assess the degree to which sustainability is incorporated in existing courses. Developing and implementing common metrics for tracking progress towards the attainment of this goal set forth in this plan are essential to realizing the goals of tri-campus coordination and accountability.

     

  2. To ensure the proper entry of data, design a set of instructions on how to use the reporting system that will be displayed online.

     

  3. Create communication material that will be offered to administrators, personnel in charge of academic affairs and students in each College and School across the campuses. It may also be available to students.

     

Responsible party

UW Sustainability, Population Health Initiative, EarthLab, Faculty

Statuses and linkages

This will be overseen by the UW Sustainability Project Manager who coordinates STARS reporting in partnership with Population Health and cataloging of academic research. Tied to Target I – Expand Professional Development Opportunities for Faculty and Staff.

Financing

No additional financing needed in FY 2021.

Metrics

This Action enables changes that can affect STARS credit AC-1 Academic Courses where UW shows a point gap of 1.85.

  • Number of new courses added / 2018 STARS data for academic courses.
  • Yes/No completion of inventory.

Initiate a consultative process to identify core sustainability skills and competencies for all UW students as an initial step to develop a university-wide set of learning outcomes that can incorporated in existing and new courses, regardless the discipline or concentration, in order to address a full range of ecological, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability. This target could open the space to considering a university- wide sustainability credit in the future.

Steps we will take in FY 2021

  1. Identify inclusive sustainability academic objectives that can be incorporated in existing and new courses.

  2. Benchmark from ASU and other universities that have undertaken similar efforts to integrate sustainability core competencies in curriculum.

  3. Facilitate professional development opportunities for faculty and other instructors to foster the creation of innovative and interdisciplinary pedagogical strategies around inclusive sustainability.

  4. Create a digital space where instructors can find tools and resources to better incorporate inclusive sustainability academic objectives in their courses.

Responsible party

UW Sustainability, Population Health Initiative, EarthLab, Faculty

Statuses and linkages

This is tied to the UW-Wide Sustainability Definition.

Financing

No additional financing needed in FY 2021.

Metrics

The first year we will develop baseline data to determine where inclusive sustainability objectives can be incorporated and how those objectives will impact course outcomes.

This action can gain points in STARS credit AC-2 Learning Outcomes where UW shows a point gap of 5.86.


Determine the feasibility of establishing a Student Sustainability Hub; including the need, use cases, funding, potential locations and staffing. The goal is to develop a tri- campus model for ongoing student engagement through the UW-Wide Sustainability Framework and implementation of the Sustainability Plan. The Hub will focus on student engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and interdisciplinary research using the campus, community and region as a living lab; from the undergraduate to the post-doctoral levels. The feasibility study will be managed by the UW Sustainability office in collaboration with the Campus Sustainability Fund, the College of the Environment, the College of Built Environments, the Population Health Initiative, ASUW, GPSS and student RSOs.

Steps we will take in FY 2021

  1. Establish a project team to be sponsored by the UW Sustainability Office that includes the Student Outreach Coordinator for SAP, CSF Program Manager, and students from ASUW, GPSS, Student Life, and RSOs.

  2. Work with campus stakeholders to determine the scope, opportunities, and barriers through interviews, research into existing UW Centers/Initiatives and case studies of other universities. Review and present to ASUW, GPSS, Student Life and administrative stakeholders.

  3. Publish a final feasibility study which details the need for the Student Sustainability Hub, use cases, funding model, partnerships with other departments, potential locations and staffing to begin in FY22 or FY23.

Responsible party

Campus Sustainability Fund

Statuses and linkages

These could be coordinated with the positions suggested for the UW-Wide Sustainability Definition Task Force.

The UW Sustainability Office, Campus Sustainability Fund, ASUW, GPSS and student RSOs have begun to explore this idea though current limitations are space/location and on-going funding resources.

This Action is closely linked with other UW Sustainability Plan Actions: One UW Wide Sustainability Framework by 2022; Double Student, Staff and Faculty Sustainability Impressions by 2024; Double Sustainability Research Projects by 2025.

Financing

For FY21, UW Sustainability office hired a .50 FTE graduate student Student Outreach Coordinator dedicated to student engagement for the Sustainability Plan. This position will continue towards this Action.

Future financing for implementation and staffing of the Student Sustainability Hub could come from multiple sources including a resource pooling of departments/units including Campus Sustainability Fund, Student Life, Central Provost Office (for academics), and student government bodies GPSS and ASUW. A student fee could also be a potential funding option.

Metrics

The first year is dedicated to determining the feasibility of establishing a Student Sustainability Hub, and we will therefore achieve the following:

  • Mapping student-centered services and support from all campuses that are related to sustainability.

  • Perform a benefit cost analysis of the potential impacts and outcomes of a Sustainability Hub.

  • Benchmark with peer institutions and gap analysis.

Student efforts, through the Campus Sustainability Fund mechanism, have historically worked to advance many of UW STARS targets and actions listed in this plan: Local Food; Divert compostable waste from recycle, landfill; Solar Photovoltaic Expansion.