What is new, though, is the university’s Office of Sustainability, which was launched this semester to provide a centralized, campuswide resource for those longstanding efforts.

“The importance of this office can’t be overstated,” says Richard Lemoine, director of environmental and emergency management and co-chair of the Committee for Sustainability. “This gives the university the opportunity to centralize all of its sustainability services and to provide support and access to our curriculum, to our research, to our building operations, to our infrastructure. It allows us to share best practices for sustainable efforts throughout the fiber of the university.”

The Committee for Sustainability was recently established as a committee for the university’s 2020 Strategic Plan.

“The recognition of the 2020 Plan is big,” says committee member and Director of Administrative and Office Services Tom Miliano, who credits Chancellor Marty Meehan for continuing to make sustainability a priority. “It’s his leadership, his desire to bring us there, that is a really important aspect of our success.”

The STARS align

While the Office of Sustainability settles into its new space at University Crossing (Suite 140), it already has been busy.

For the first time, the university is signing up for the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a self-reporting framework that measures the sustainability performance of colleges and universities. Managed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), it awards bronze, silver, gold or platinum status. In February the university also submitted data to the Princeton Review as it seeks to be designated as a “Green Campus.”

To help compile all the required data for those reviews, the university hired two consultants last fall, Mary House and Kelley Begin, from the firm of Woodard & Curran. Thanks to her close work analyzing the university’s existing sustainability efforts, House will now serve as the first-year director of the Office of Sustainability.

“This is a continuum of building upon the great work that’s been happening here for a long time,” says House, who adds that she has been continually impressed with the tremendous progress the university has made in its sustainability efforts over the past five years.

“It’s really been a natural progression. All the pieces fell into place wonderfully,” Miliano says of the partnership with Woodard & Curran. “They’ve helped guide us to where we need to be.”