About the Illinois Campus Sustainability
Compact Awards Program
The Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact is a program separate from the Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award that is specifically for colleges and universities. A college or university may apply for recognition in both awards, within the guidelines of each program. Detailed information about the Compact, enrollment application, and recognition application may be found at http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/green/Pages/HigherEducation.aspx.
The goal of the Compact is to encourage universities and colleges within the state to incorporate sustainability into their campus operations, academic and research programs, student activities and community outreach. An institution may pledge at any level provided it has implemented a sustainability program that meets the preceding requirements. The institution may remain at a participation level as long as it continues to make progress toward its commitments. If the institution achieves each of the goals for a given level, it may apply for higher recognition level at any time.
The Compact outlines environmental goals including objectives such as purchasing renewable energy, implementing green building practices, developing sustainable transportation options, improving water conservation, and incorporating sustainable dining practices. As a university or college makes progress on its sustainability goals, the campus can apply for recognition when they have achieved bronze, silver, and/or gold levels.
Bronze level institutions have committed to creating a sustainability program and engaging the campus community. To qualify for this designation, the institution pledges to achieve three of the following goals by 2015:
- Endorse a written statement, declaration or policy acknowledging support for sustainability.
- Designate a focal point to lead and/or coordinate sustainability efforts across the campus:
- Steering committee, task force, sustainability office or dedicated staff.
- Create a web site that highlights the institution’s sustainability programs with the purpose of increasing awareness and generating interest.
- Create opportunities for students and faculty to provide suggestions for advancing sustainability on campus.
Silver level institutions are ready to make targeted commitments to greening their operations and monitoring performance. Once Bronze level is attained, greater recognition can be achieved by pledging to achieve the following goals by 2015:
- Foster student involvement on steering committees or advisory councils that guide administration on issues of campus sustainability.
- Set measurable sustainability objectives or targets and include a timeframe for meeting the objectives. The sustainability objectives must address the generation of waste and at least three (3) other significant environmental impacts from buildings or operations. The environmental impacts that are addressed may include, but are not limited to energy consumption, water use, stormwater runoff, vehicle use, local food purchases, paper use, habitat preservation and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Establish a system to monitor and assess the progress of campus sustainability projects and goals.
- Implement at least three (3) of the following sustainability best practices. New initiatives are encouraged for fulfilling these measures, though institutions will be credited for recent or existing initiatives.
- Target at least three (3) products and/or services for a green purchasing initiative.
- Adopt a policy or guidelines that commit to a specific green building rating system for new construction and major renovation (e.g., LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System).
- At least once a year, hold an event on campus that encourages students to adopt or try a sustainability practice(s).
- Partner with at least one local entity (e.g. K-12 school, government agency, civic organization, business association) on a project that promotes sustainability at the community level.
- Establish mechanisms and incentives that encourage integration of sustainability themes and topics into existing curricula through learning outcomes, course objectives and student assignments.
Gold institutions are those universities and colleges that are integrating sustainability throughout their campus and working towards measured improvement. Once Silver level is attained, the highest level of recognition can be achieved by pledging to achieve two of the following goals by 2015:
- Endorse or participate in at least one national or international program that recognizes and encourages progress towards sustainability in higher education, such as the American College and University President's Climate Commitment, AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, or an equivalent program that provides a framework for continual improvement towards sustainability.
- Integrate sustainability broadly into campus operations and management by adopting one or more of the following actions:
- Develop a sustainability plan that covers multiple topics and issues;
- Incorporate sustainability at a high level in the institution's strategic plan;
- Include sustainability as a key principle in the campus master plan.
- On an annual basis, notify the campus community of progress toward achieving the institution's sustainability goals.