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UTSA earns recognition for campus sustainability efforts

UTSA earns recognition for campus sustainability efforts

DECEMBER 8, 2020 — UTSA has received a prestigious honor for its sustainability efforts in higher education.

The university earned a silver rating on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, known as STARS, from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for advancing sustainability in the Roadrunner community.

“The Office of Sustainability focuses on increasing the narrative of campus sustainability. We provide a conduit—and financial support—to empower UTSA students to realize their passion through sustainable action,” said Lani May, director of UTSA’s Office of Sustainability. “UTSA’s silver rating is recognition of the outstanding efforts by students, staff and faculty to create a more sustainable campus, which has tremendous positive impact in our community.”

“UTSA’s silver rating is recognition of the outstanding efforts by students, staff and faculty.”

The STARS system recognizes higher education institutions, from community colleges to research universities, on long-term sustainability goals to goals that are being taken for the first steps toward sustainability.

The STARS rating system looks at and evaluates curriculum, research, campus engagement, public engagement, air and climate, buildings, energy, food and dining, grounds, purchasing, transportation, waste, water, coordination and planning, diversity and affordability, investment and finance, well-being and work, and innovation and leadership.

Over the past few years UTSA has established a culture of sustainability through academic research, operation of university business, the president’s strategic plan and the implemented Campus Master Plan.

In 2019 the UTSA reestablished the Office of Sustainability through a fund—Supporting University Sustainability through Action, Initiatives and Narratives—to be allocated toward university-wide sustainability initiatives. The university’s Sustainability Council, made up of university staff and student representatives, focuses on their core responsibility, to lead the narrative on UTSA’s campuswide sustainability while increasing impact in our community. Students on the Sustainability Council also represent the student body as members of the Student Initiatives Review Committee and are responsible for approving Office of Sustainability funding.


In its latest initiatives the university has designed and will implement a water quality treatment for the new Downtown Campus extension adjacent to the San Pedro Creek Culture Park to treat storm water from the new School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center building. Additionally, UTSA developed a low-impact development bio swale, completed in November, on Main Campus. This bio swale treats about 9.5 acres of untreated storm water runoff.

Valerie Bustamante

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UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.