University of Massachusetts System Sustainability Council
Continuing the collaboration established through the Leading By Example Council, the sustainability staff at the five campuses in the UMass System met with staff in the Office of the President to share ideas and collaborate. This led to the establishment of the UMass Sustainability Council, the UMass System Sustainability Policy and an annual System Sustainability Reporting process.
The UMass Sustainability Council meets regularly and works with various system-level committees to share ideas and collaborate on the areas of capital planning, energy and greenhouse gas reductions, and strategic procurement, among others.
The UMass System Sustainability Policy was developed through an eighteen-month collaborative process with all five campuses.
The policy outlines a set of ten high-level principles. Through supporting documents the campuses developed a set of specific goals under each principle and established a set of metrics that can be utilized to qualitatively assess progress. The metrics are currently already required for reporting by several a third-parties including Second Nature, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and/or the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE’s) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), which is the standard for measuring sustainability in higher education. Utilizing key STARS credits provides all campuses with a shared language on which to benchmark themselves. In addition, it provides a clear framework for peer comparison and managing the progress towards the University of Massachusetts sustainability goals.