Skip to main content

Strategic Plan for Campus Sustainability

Context For Planning

The GVSU Campus Sustainability Advisory Council (CSAC) was formed in 2014, and is made up of 25 faculty and staff members including representatives from all eight colleges and a wide variety of units and divisions. The CSAC focuses on planning and advancing sustainability as a campus-wide goal and value at GVSU.

The preliminary charter of the CSAC is to provide support and direction for:

The CSAC is made up of 10 specific workgroup areas, which meet throughout the year. The full Council meets on a quarterly basis for updates and reports.  The workgroup areas include building/landscaping, community engagement, energy/water management, education for sustainable development, finance/purchasing, food systems, health/wellness, student affairs, transportation, and waste management.

Mission

To provide GVSU administration, faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders with the required skills and capabilities to become better stewards and responsible global citizens in the workforce, communities, and family life.

Vision

Sustainability is accepted and valued as having an integral role in fulfilling the mission of the university. This system integration of sustainability builds the capacity to positively impact sustainability issues across complex and interrelated economic, environmental, and social frameworks.

Value Statement

"Grand Valley State University values the guiding principles of sustainability in helping to meet the current needs of our faculty, staff, and students without compromising the needs and resources of future generations. We are committed to working with our community partners to create a sustainable future for our university, our community, and our region. We will model applied sustainability best practices in our campus operations and administration, education for sustainable development, student involvement, and community engagement by promoting social responsibility, encouraging environmental stewardship, and creating efficiencies and value for the work we perform. We will provide our students with excellence in education for sustainable development by imbedding theory, systems- oriented thinking, and service learning into our curricular and extracurricular programs."

Strategic Priorities, outcomes, and key objectives

Strategic Priority Area 1: Actively engage learners at all levels.

Outcome A: Grand Valley's learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities.

Objective 1.A.1

Provide high impact experiential learning through the Sustainable Agriculture Project by hosting 15+ classes at the farm each year.

Baseline

As of April 2016, we have hosted 10 classes at the farm with several already scheduled for next year.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
In 2016, we hosted 14 classes at the farm.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

Annually increase the number of faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders engaged with the Seeds of Promise (www.seedsofpromise.net) sustainable neighborhood initiative by greater than or equal to 5%, as well as the amount of shared resources.

Baseline

32 GVSU senior nursing students participated in various community activities including the Health Care Fair, Feeding America food truck, and the after school Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) program at Dickinson Academy. Each student worked ~40 hours per semester. 4 GVSU faculty/staff are involved in planning efforts to create a community garden in the Seeds Community 1 GVSU faculty member is on the Educational Impact Team 2 GVSU students helped to produce a video of background information on the Seeds Community 1 GVSU faculty led a class to help plan community dialog

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Eight nursing capstone students are working on a project for improved community healthcare within the Seeds of Promise neighborhood to be completed April 2017 Five to seven nursing students now practice at the Browning Claytor Health Clinic in the Seeds of promise neighborhood A course was conducted on Wicked Problems of Sustainability and engagement with urban gardening project with Seeds of Promise during the winter semester 2016 Three master level geography students completed an independent study research project for the GIS and GPS mapping methodology for the Southtown Corridor Improvement District (CID) during the winter semester 2016. A presentation was made at Seeds of Promise during April 2016 and this project work will continue on during the summer of 2016

Outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 1.D.1

Demonstrate Design Thinking through educational opportunities and programs and incorporate the Design Thinking process at Seeds of Promise through at least one project per year.

Baseline

As of April 2016, we have had two classes engage in Design Thinking at Seeds of Promise.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
A course was conducted on Wicked Problems of Sustainability and engagement with urban gardening project with Seeds of Promise during the winter semester 2016

Objective 1.D.2

Identify at least 3 classes (new or existing) that use the Consumers Energy Solar Garden as a teaching tool.

Baseline

The Solar Garden began operation on April 15, 2016, so no classes have had an opportunity to integrate it as a case study yet.

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 1.E.1

Develop a more robust e-Waste and scrap metal recycling program.

Baseline

Measure against previous FY reporting.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome A: Grand Valley's learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities.

Objective 2.A.1

Follow and maintain Healthy Campus 2020 guidelines for faculty, staff, and students.

Baseline

Faculty and Staff annual Health Assessment and medical claims data (2014,2015) and the American Health Association Student National College Health Assessment survey (2014).

Outcome C: Grand Valley has mutually beneficial relationships, partnerships, collaborations, and connections with local, state, national, and world communities.

Objective 2.C.1

Maintain gold status of American Heart Association Fit Friendly Worksite.

Baseline

Currently have platinum status. Cannot continue to obtain platinum status unless GVSU is a smoke free campus. Aiming to maintain gold status

Outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 2.D.1

Increase the number of faculty engaging in sustainability research to 100

Baseline

AASHE STARS 2015 report - 86 sustainability researchers

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 2.E.1

Increase awareness throughout the campus of the GVSU Surplus Store.

Baseline

Measure against previous years FY sales.

Strategic Priority Area 3: Ensure the alignment of institutional structures and functions.

Outcome C: Grand Valley has mutually beneficial relationships, partnerships, collaborations, and connections with local, state, national, and world communities.

Objective 3.C.1

Recognized as a partner with Partnership for a Healthier America-Healthy Campus Initiative.

Baseline

GVSU is not a partner with the Partnership for a Healthier America-Campus Initiative.

Objective 3.C.2

Get registered for Exercise is Medicine initiative and earn recognition for gold status

Baseline

Obtained silver level status, March 2016

Objective 3.C.3

3. Identify, pursue and beta test new clean technologies for energy conservation and efficiency applications. This includes looking for long term energy contracts in the way of fixed pricing and renewables.

Baseline

For all practical purposes we have zero renewables representing clean energy.

Objective 3.C.4

Increase local food purchases through food supplier over last year

Baseline

Previous year's numbers

Objective 3.C.5

Reduce food waste at dining venues

Baseline

previous year's results

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 3.E.1

Identify and implement campus energy projects with less than eight year paybacks based on energy alone and not taking credit for maintenance or operational savings. Utility rebates are also not included in the payback calculation either.

Baseline

Previous Fiscal Years

Objective 3.E.3

Pursue long term energy contracts and look for renewable energy options.

Baseline

NA

Objective 3.E.4

Reduce water consumption.

Baseline

Previous fiscal years

Objective 3.E.5

Develop/expand walking and biking specific routes around campus by at least 50% to promote safety, sustainability and health & wellness.

Baseline

There is approximately 1/2 mile of designated walking/biking routes on campus running along the south end of campus drive.

Objective 3.E.6

Reduce overall paper consumption and increase use of recycled products such as paper and ink print cartridges.

Baseline

Measure against previous FY usage.

Strategic Priority Area 4: Enhance the institution's image and reputation.

Outcome A: Grand Valley's learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities.

Objective 4.A.1

Maintain or improve upon GVSU's "gold" rating in the AASHE STARS sustainability reporting system.

Baseline

Total score = 66.05 Curriculum subscore = 21.46/40.00

Progress

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
As of April 2017, we have a gold rating pending final review.

Outcome C: Grand Valley has mutually beneficial relationships, partnerships, collaborations, and connections with local, state, national, and world communities.

Objective 4.C.1

Achieve the Bicycle Friendly University recognition from League of American Bicyclists

Baseline

As of 2015, GVSU is not recognized as a bicycle friendly university.

Progress

2016 Status
Achieved
Grand Valley State University has been named a Bicycle Friendly University by The League of American Bicyclists, a national organization that encourages the use of bicycles for health and well-being. The University received a silver award and joined 164 colleges and universities across the country that are designated as Bicycle Friendly Universities.

Objective 4.C.2

Achieve capacity improvements on Route 50

Baseline

As of 12/1/2015, there were 12 40 passenger GILLIG busses during peak times on Route 50.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
The Laker Line is still waiting on the Federal budget to be approved for funding. This is hoped to be achieved once the new administration takes office. This will take our current system of 14 40 passenger busses and increase it to 14 90 passenger busses up from 13 40 passenger busses last year.

Objective 4.C.3

Reduce Scope 3 emissions to help meet the goals of the Climate Action Plan

Baseline

35,000 MT eCO2

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
We are continuing to promote and encourage the use of the bus system. However, our ridership this fall is down. As of the end of December, we had just over 1,347,289 rides, 605,524 of them on route 50. Last year at this time we had 1,386,543 of which 647,913 were on route 50. Once the Laker Line is approved, we hope the improved capacity with route 50 on the 6-8 minute interval will encourage students, faculty, and staff to ride and not drive to campus.

Objective 4.C.4

Ensure the ongoing execution of a successful "Sustainable Development Best Practices" service agreement annually between GVSU and the City of Grand Rapids, including the City Executive Office, the Office of Energy and Sustainability, and the Grand Rapids Information Network, and accommodate new requests from the City.

Baseline

As of April 2016, we have completed 6 months of the service agreement.

Progress

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
The service agreement is in progress.

Objective 4.C.5

Assist with the development and inventory of "Education for Sustainable Development" curriculum, programs, and activities in support of the United Nations University Regional Center of Expertise designation for Grand Rapids.

Baseline

The first report has been submitted as of January 25, 2016.

Objective 4.C.7

Reduce amount of non-recyclable and non-compostable materials in dining program

Baseline

Unknown

Objective 4.C.8

Resource and reward university/community engagement initiatives through awards for outstanding initiatives.

Baseline

No internal engagement awards were given in 2015.

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 4.E.1

Increase AASHE STARS transportation score by 25%

Baseline

3.4/7 in 2015

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Information is being inputted into the AASHE STARS system. There are several factors which could impact our score in either direction. Factors that may increase our score are the addition of Electric vehicles and the Bicycle Friendly Certification. Route 50/51 being combined and the sale of the B20 biodiesel vehicles may lower our score.

Objective 4.E.2

2. Continue to increase avoided costs in utility energy applications which has totaled $14 M since FY03

Baseline

FY03

Objective 4.E.3

3. Identify and pursue new energy conservation and efficiency applications for the 2030 District.

Baseline

FY03

Objective 4.E.4

Successfully implement zero waste events such as home football games Create awareness and understanding of waste minimization and composting best practices through resources such as GVL, banners in Kirkhof Center, student affairs, student senate and web ads. Obtain volunteers to help make the challenge a success and use this as a teaching tool to show student volunteers first hand the struggles we have with waste minimization. Goal - reduce waste by 1-2% per year, reach 82% waste diversion rate within the next 5 years.

Baseline

Currently working on securing volunteers/groups to monitor 2016 Game Day Challenge Zero Waste football games. 2015 results - 76% waste diversion, GVSU was #6 in conference diversion rate, #3 in composting and #8 in recycling

Objective 4.E.5

Maintain or improve annual Recyclemania national competition among colleges and universities 2016 Recyclemania results - Grand champion category - rank 47; waste minimization - rank 55; composting - rank 15

Baseline

2016 Recyclemania results - Grand champion category - rank 47; waste minimization - rank 55; composting - rank 15

Objective 4.E.6

Successfully implement new cigarette butt recycling program

Baseline

Since no cigarette butt recycling program exists currently, we will need to generate student and staff awareness about the program, what benefits will come from recycling cigarette butts and how it will be done. Use custodial and grounds department staff to help monitor and gather butts, use Lanthorn, Housing, flyers, tabling to get information out to students about this new program. Each cigarette waste container will be labeled with recycle stickers. Also since this is new, would like to start, as a goal, 100 lbs of butts collected the first year and keep increasing each year

Back to list