Planning, Policy & Assessment

Committees | Planning | Policies

Committees and Advisory Groups

Sustainability Advisory Council

Formed in fall 2011, the Sustainability Advisory Council advises the Vice President for Finance and Administration and the OSU Sustainability Office on a number of sustainability issues.  Committee members represent the major divisions of the institution including academics, student engagement, operations and outreach/engagement.

Alternative Transportation Advisory Committee

ATAC advises Oregon State University on expanding the use of alternative transportation. It also assists with safety education, and addresses other alternative transportation issues. The goals of the committee include promoting biking, walking, carpooling and public transit as means to get to and from campus.  ATAC has developed the OSU Bike Plan

Campus Planning Committee

The CPC reviews proposals for new construction, significant remodeling, and renovation projects that visually alter the exterior appearance of the campus. The CPC is comprised of members from OSU, the City of Corvallis and the Corvallis community.

Faculty Senate

At its November 11, 2004 meeting, the OSU Faculty Senate adopted the following statement:

Sustainability at Oregon State University
Oregon State University (OSU) honors the commitments made by the Governor of the State of Oregon, state agencies, and many of Oregon’s companies and communities to develop sustainable solutions that balance economic, environmental, and community needs while building opportunities for future generations to meet their own needs. As the state’s land, sea, and space-grant university, OSU is ready to support and lead both public and private sector organizations to find sustainable approaches, educate future leaders and citizens who understand and practice sustainability, and demonstrate sustainable practices in the University’s day-to-day operations. OSU is committed to incorporating sustainability in its education, research, outreach, and operations as a critical component to its goal of becoming a top-ten land grant university.

Provost's Sustainability Council

OSU Provost Sabah Randhawa has formed a group of faculty, staff and students to recommend what action the university needs to take to become a leader in sustainability teaching and research. The group meets periodically and represents most academic areas of campus. Members of the Council: Gail, Achterman, Carol Caughey, Robert Collier, Jesse Ford, Denise Lach, Bill Lunch, Mark Pagell, Steve Radosevich, John Selker, Brandon Trelstad, Anthony Veltri, Ken Williamson.  View the 2005 Report.

Sustainable Facilities Committee

Formed in November, 2004 and comprised of operations employees, this task force created a strategic direction to operational sustainability for the OSU campus. The committee developed a sustainability strategic plan for operations. After completion of the plan, the SFC was absorbed into two other existing campus committees because of significant membership and mission overlap, and the potential to expand the sustainability conversation beyond the usual interested parties.

Oregon Department of Energy

ODOE aims to ensure Oregon has an adequate supply of reliable and affordable energy and is safe from nuclear contamination, by helping Oregonians save energy, develop clean energy resources, promote renewable energy and clean up nuclear waste.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality 

DEQ is a regulatory agency whose job is to protect the quality of Oregon's Environment. DEQ is responsible for protecting and enhancing Oregon's water and air quality, for cleaning up spills and releases of hazardous materials, and for managing the proper disposal of hazardous and solid wastes.

Sustainable Oregon

The State of Oregon's sustainability website communicates developments in Oregon state government and connects with local agencies, organizations and businesses taking leadership roles in sustainable development.


OSU Strategic Plan

OSU's mission is to promote “economic, social, cultural and environmental progress for people across Oregon, the nation and the world."  As such, the OSU Strategic Plan has recently been updated to emphasize OSU's strengths and services areas around sustainability outlines the following Signature Areas of Distinction:
• Advancing the Science of Sustainable Earth Ecosystems
• Improving Human Health and Wellness
• Promoting Economic Growth and Social Progress.

The Strategic Plan also commits OSU to substantially reducing OSU's carbon footprint. 

Campus Master Plan

OSU's 2004 Master Plan, prepared by Facilities Services Campus Planning, guides physical development of the 570 acre Corvallis campus. Specifically, it identifies guiding principles and policies for long-range planning that will direct development over the approximate 10- to 12-year planning horizon. It also establishes a conceptual framework for the campus through program development, land use determinations, intensity of development, and parking and circulation initiatives and enhances the relationship and connectivity with the surrounding community.

The Master Plan addresses sprawl through a sector-based approach to growth. Standards for green and open space vary from sector to sector, emphasizing appropriate density levels and growth boundaries. Walking is emphasized as a primary mode of transportation via a "10 minute walk principle" and a campus shuttle is provided for more distant areas of campus.

President's Climate Commitment

OSU is a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The commitment requires outlining within two years a path toward climate neutrality.

In addition to planning for climate neutrality, the Commitment requires greenhouse gas inventories and interim measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Read more on climate planning.

Strategic Plan for Operations

OSU's Sustainable Facilities Committee (SFC) was established in November, 2004 by the Facilities Services Department to develop guiding principles, policies and procedures that move campus infrastructure and operations toward sustainability. Additionally, the group served as a discussion forum for the various operations groups on the OSU campus. In February, 2006, the group was absorbed into two other existing campus groups.

The SFC's task was to collaboratively create the strategic and goal setting first part of a two part plan. Development of the second part has begun, and is comprised of more detailed implementation and guidance documents, including a campus-wide Environmental Management System.

The SFC has developed Part I of the plan in accordance with its vision to ultimately transform OSU into a sustainable institute of higher education. This includes becoming more environmentally responsible and economically stable as it strives to become one of America's top 10 land grant universities. At the heart of this movement is a transformation of OSU into an institution guided by sustainable practices.

Read the Sustainability Strategic Plan for operations (Word document).


OSU's 1994 Recycled Paper Policy

Annual Reports

The Sustainability Office creates OSU's sustainability reports every year or two years.  The reports are based on key performance indicators, activity highlights plus other key aspects of OSU’s sustainability work. 

Fiscal Year 2016 OSU Sustainability Report

OSU's reports are in part built on data from OSU's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) data.  STARS is a comprehensive measure of sustainability in higher education.  STARS ratings are good for three years, so some numeric scores below may not show within the STARS reporting tool.

Fiscal Year Submission Date STARS Version STARS Score
2010 Jan. 31, 2011 1.0 69.74
2012 May 11, 2013 1.2 68.95
2013 Apr. 30, 2014 2.0 70.94
2014 Apr. 30, 2015 2.0 72.78
2015 Mar. 4, 2016 2.0 73.24
2016 Feb. 28, 2017 2.1 72.21

Fiscal Year 2014 OSU Sustainability Report 

OSU’s FY14 sustainability performance by STARS subcategories

Positive trending indicator categories, FY13-FY14
• Curriculum
• Energy
• Grounds
• Water

Negative trending indicator categories, FY13-FY14
• Buildings
• Dining Services
• Research

High performing indicator categories, FY14
• Campus Engagement
• Coordination, Planning & Governance
• Diversity & Affordability
• Grounds
• Research

Low performing indicator categories, FY14
• Air and Climate
• Buildings
• Dining Services
• Energy
• Investment
• Waste

Fiscal Year 2013 OSU Sustainability Report

In 2013, the STARS assessment tool underwent a major upgrade and consolidation of credits, temporarily making precise year-to-year comparisons difficult. Where possible, this report both attempts and examines the limitations of comparisons. The following figure summarizes OSU’s sustainability performance indicator categories for FY13.

OSU’s FY13 sustainability performance by STARS subcategories

Positive trending indicator categories, FY12-FY13
• Curriculum
• Air and Climate
• Transportation
• Investment
• Public Engagement

Negative trending indicator categories, FY12-FY13
• Dining Services
• Energy
• Purchasing
• Water
• Health, Wellbeing and Work

High performing indicator categories, FY13
• Campus Engagement
• Research
• Grounds
• Coordination, Planning & Governance
• Diversity & Affordability

Low performing indicator categories, FY13
• Air and Climate
• Buildings
• Dining Services
• Energy
• Purchasing
• Waste
• Water
• Investment

Fiscal Year 2012 OSU Sustainability Report

Steady progress was made toward key sustainability initiatives in FY12 and Oregon State University is maintaining its vision to be among the Top 10 land grant institutions in America, and a sustainability leader. One key progress indicator is a 4.2% decrease since FY11 in greenhouse gas emissions, in alignment with Strategic Plan Phase II’s initiative to substantially reduce OSU’s carbon footprint and President Ray’s signature to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Read the full report.

2009 OSU Sustainability Inventory

Institute for Natural Resources

In spring 2008 the Institute for Natural Resources (INR) was asked to conduct an inventory of OSU’s sustainability capabilities. To produce this inventory, INR used a variety of sources of information, including the OSU on-line course catalogue, the OSU website, documents from units, and the Research Office’s grants and contracts data. Since the term “sustainability” lacks a precise definition and is interpreted differently by different audiences, inclusion of particular activities is not exact.

The 2009 INR report is a snapshot of the depth and breadth of research, education, outreach, and operations activities as they relate to sustainability at Oregon State University. Most of the work at OSU contributes to one or more of the dimensions of sustainability but trying to balance and link these dimensions challenges how we think and do our teaching and scholarship. As such, particular emphasis was given to: (1) activities that identify their intent or self-describe “sustainability”; (2) the areas in which OSU sustainability activities appear to link the four dimensions of sustainability—environmental, economic, institutional, and social; and (3) the identification and categorization of OSU sustainability strengths.

Institutional Carbon Neutrality

On April 11, 2007 OSU President Ed Ray signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), now known as the Carbon Commitment, requiring OSU to do three things:

  1. Take immediate interim steps to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions
  2. Measure the institution's emissions every two years
  3. Identify a target date to achieve climate neutrality and create a plan to get there, the most involved and important step in meeting the requirements of the Commitment.

Because OSU signed before June 30, 2007 it is a charter signatory.

OSU Carbon Plan: Targeting Neutrality by 2025

In 2008 and 2009, the OSU Sustainability Office facilitated a community process to develop the first OSU Climate Plan, a strategic plan for climate neutrality that is based on the OSU Strategic Plan. Community input and a review of goals set by the State of Oregon and the Oregon University System helped shape OSU's aggressive goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

In 2016, the Sustainability Office kicked off an extensive update process to rewrite the plan and advance processes that distribute ownership and implementation responsibilities more broadly across the campus.

OSU's Interim Steps

Commitment signatories were within two months of signing required to take at least two of seven tangible actions while developing comprehensive climate plans. At the time, OSU selected the following three actions:

  • Constructing all new facilities, including major remodels, to LEED Silver equivalent or higher
  • Providing transit passes to all students, staff and faculty on four regional transit systems
  • Purchasing renewable energy certificates to offset 75% of OSU's electrical consumption

Measuring Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Commitment requires inventorying greenhouse gasses every two years. Inventory reports provide important baselines for action to reduce OSU's greenhouse gas emissions. For enhanced reporting, OSU completes greenhouse gas inventory reports every fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30.

OSU Carbon Planning Process

Unit Level Carbon Planning

The OSU Sustainability Office will work with academic colleges and administrative divisions to create college and division (unit) level carbon plans that reduce carbon emissions and integrate sustainability and climate change education across curriculum and research efforts. The goal is to increase and standardize practices that help reach OSU's aggressive carbon emissions reduction goals and support OSU's Strategic Plan

Unit level carbon planning is adaptive to unit needs, and guidance is available. Recognizing the need for a tailored approach, and after extensive benchmarking and development, the Sustainability Office and our partners adapted the toolkit below from similar work at Penn State University.

Carbon Planning Toolkit Introduction

Our goal is to inspire individual actions at the unit level related to operations, curriculum and research that reduce global carbon emissions. One method successful at other leading institutions is unit level education, assessment and conversation. At OSU, this process will be supported by the Sustainability Office every step of the way.

With their permission, we have adapted and supplemented Penn State University's Sustainability Planning Guidebook and process; you will see frequent references to that institution rather than OSU. Please keep in mind that although Penn State's Guidebook is constructed around sustainability planning, our core work focuses on climate and carbon impacts. The process and tools for carbon planning are largely the same. We appreciate our Penn State colleagues' willingness to share, and anticipate releasing an OSU-specific version of these tools in the future.

To get started: Form the Team

We will work with you and/or your college or division leadership to designate a primary contact person and establish a group of stakeholders from within your unit.  This group will share responsibility for moving your planning process forward.

Step 1: Educate

What does carbon planning look like, why is it important, and how does it fit with OSU's mission and climate protection goals? We will provide a variety of resources to help get your team up to speed.

Step 2: Assess

Your college or division is probably already doing great things related to climate protection and sustainability. We will help you create a portfolio of these activities and highlight linkages to your college or division strategic plan. We can also help illustrate your unit's direct carbon emissions.

Step 3: Prioritize

Based on your portfolio, your team will identify points of convergence around your unit's climate protection expertise.

Step 4: Vision

To clearly and concisely articulate your strategic destination, your team will develop a short vision statement.

Step 5: Set Goals, Draft Plan

Using a combination of adaptive and prescriptive planning tools, we'll create the first draft of your plan. The outcome is to have goals that include both big wins and quick wins - a mix of actions and strategies for your unit - that are specific, measureable, actionable, realistic and time bound (SMART strategies).

Step 6: Implement

A few final tools help assure plan adoption and implementation. Your Implementation Summary Table will be a concise document where your goals, actions, key personnel and other details can all be seen in one place. We will help create a checkup calendar that aligns with the strategic plan update cycle for your college or division.

You've been introduced, start using the Toolkit!


If you cannot identify your highest level organizational unit below, please contact us for help.

Academic Colleges

Administrative Divisions
(many with academic focus)

Agricultural Sciences Academic Affairs
Business Alumni Relations
Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Enrollment Management
Education Finance & Administration
Engineering Graduate School
Forestry Information Services
Liberal Arts Intercollegiate Athletics
Pharmacy International Programs
Public Health and Human Sciences INTO OSU
Science Hatfield Marine Science Center
Veterinary Medicine OSU Cascades Campus
  President's Office*
  Student Affairs
  Undergraduate Studies
  University Honors College
  University Relations & Marketing
  University Outreach & Engagement

* For the sake of this carbon planning process, President's Office includes the following units: General Counsel, Audit Services, Institutional Diversity, Equal Opportunity & Access, Government Relations, Community Diversity Relations, and University Ombuds.

The Sustainability Office is here to support you! Get started or learn more by contacting us.


In fall 2015, the OSU Sustainability Office convened discussions regarding updating OSU's 2009 Climate Plan.  Much has changed since 2009 when OSU created its first strategic planning documents to address institutional carbon emissions and the education and research activities around climate issues.  Recognizing that more urgent action is imperative, OSU is currently reworking its carbon plan and creating a new, distributed framework for action that more closely mirrors the culture and decision making processes within the university.

This extensive update will reflect the decentralized nature of the institution, as well as the process differences that exist across campus units.  One major goal is to inspire action through process ownership at the college and division level. 

Led by the Sustainability Office and the OSU Policy Analysis Laboratory, a working group of stakeholders emerged and began meeting regularly in early 2016 with a goal of producing documents for OSU leadership review in summer 2016.

The Carbon Planning Steering Committee
  • Brandon Trelstad, OSU Sustainability Officer*
  • Erika Allen Wolters, Director, OSU Policy Analysis Laboratory (OPAL), School of Public Policy*
  • Sally Duncan, Director (retired), OSU Policy Analysis Laboratory (OPAL)*
  • Rick Colwell, Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences*
  • Ann Scheerer, PhD, Sustainability Double Degree*
  • Court Smith, Emeritus Professor, School of Language, Culture, and Society*
  • Sarah Boege, Graduate Student, Master of Public Policy
  • Stephen Naimoli, Graduate Student, Master of Public Policy, OPAL project liaison
  • Shawn Williams, Undergraduate Student, College of Agricultural Sciences, Sustainability Double Degree
  • Logan Adams, Undergraduate Student, Civil Engineering and International Studies, University Honors College
  • Carter Frantz-Geddes, Undergraduate Student, Environmental Science and Student Sutainability Initiative staff

*Carbon Planning Core Team members

Current subcommittees include Plan Narrative; Strategy and Action Selection; and Engagement and Outreach

Additional contributors

  • Saul Boulanger, Senior, College of Liberal Arts
  • Carly Curin, Graduate Student, Master of Public Policy
  • Nathan Davis, Graduate Student, Master of Public Policy
  • Jynwaye Foo, Media Coordinator, Student Sustainability Initiative and Student, Environmental Science
  • Rima Reves, Library Technician, Circulation/LEAD, OSU Libraries and Press
  • Amanda Rhodes, Senior, Family and Community Health
  • Inara K. Scott, Assistant Professor, College of Business
  • Graham Shaw, Transportation Coordinator, Student Sustainability Initiative
  • Chloe Stewart, Sophomore, Environmental Science, French minor, Freelance Writer

To get involved, please contact Brandon.

Carbon Planning Toolkit

To get started: Form the Team

There are several ways to form your college or division (unit) carbon action team (UCAT), and the approach will vary depending on the culture of your unit. College or division leadership may designate a committee or task force. Alternatively, an informal group can form on its own, and the Sustainability Office can take responsibility for involving unit leadership. Since resources are limited, we may not be able to fully support teams formed at the subunit (school or department) level unless specifically requested by college or division leadership. 

It's a good idea to have a mix of people on your UCAT, particularly those familiar with the core mission and operational elements of the unit. Main stakeholder interests should be represented. Depending on your unit, these could be students, instructors, researchers, Extension agents, staff and/or advisory board members. If your unit needs help to form a UCAT, contact the Sustainability Office to discuss a timeline and process for team formation. Penn State also has guidance on team formation. Please keep in mind that although Penn State's Planning Guidebook is constructed around sustainability planning, our core work is climate protection and carbon emissions reduction. The process and tools for carbon planning are largely the same.

After your team forms, we'll join you for this first of several UCAT meetings. We are available to join any of the key meetings bolded below, but our attendance may not be needed at every one. As teams form, we will post more information here to help connect stakeholders with the appropriate UCAT.

Step 1: Educate

The following resources are intended to help get UCAT members up to speed and conversant about the Toolkit and relevant subject matter. After team review of these materials we will address questions and requests for additional information, and during meeting two introduce you to the assessment process. More resources will be posted below as they become available.

Toolkit and planning process:

OSU material:

Additional material:

Step 2: Assess

Before starting the planning process, it's critical to take a snapshot of where you are today.  The Sustainability Office has created assessment tools to inventory carbon and climate related activities and impacts within your unit. Your UCAT should enlist the help of others in the unit to complete your assessment survey. After you submit the survey, we will create a summary of findings and other relevant information.  We will meet with you to present the summary and recommendations for your consideration, to give you a head start on the planning process. This will typically be meeting three. After this meeting, we recommend your group convene again to run the Maturity Model, which helps a unit understand its stage of engagement around climate issues. 

To give units a head start on gathering information for the assessment surveys, the following PDFs show the survey fields. When you are ready to begin your survey, please contact us for a link.

Step 3: Prioritize

Based on the portfolio of information from your assessment survey and your unit's Maturity Model results, your UCAT will step through a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT) analysis and identify the convergence of your unit's expertise around climate and sustainability. During meeting four, we'll provide an overview of the following tools from the Penn State process we are following:

Step 4: Vision

With the knowledge gained during assessment and prioritization, your team will create a short vision statement for the carbon and climate related work of the unit. Creating a clear and inspirational vision can be one of the most powerful steps you take. A vision tells us where we want to go. A good vision keeps people focused and leads to efficiency and high levels of collaboration because everyone knows the destination. Penn State provides guidance and a worksheet for this step.

Step 5: Set Goals, Draft Plan

The goal setting stage involves two primary activities: UCAT brainstorming and completion of a plan builder survey. Both of these activities will follow general guidance, but not the same planning path, as step 5 of Penn State's Planning Guidebook. We highly encourage teams to perform the open brainstorming process first and use the more prescriptive OSU plan builder second.

The Sustainability Office will take information gathered from earlier steps, as well as the brainstorming session, and create a custom plan builder survey for you. Your UCAT will complete the survey with feedback from unit stakeholders and others. Based on these inputs, the Sustainability Office will sketch out a rough carbon plan draft for your review at meeting five. On a timeline chosen by your UCAT, a more refined draft will be presented to college or division leadership. The Sustainability Office will facilitate, as needed, input from college and division leadership into the final version(s) of the plan.

Goals should include both big wins and quick wins, or a mix of actions and strategies for your unit. They should be specific, measureable, actionable, realistic and time bound (SMART strategies).

Step 6: Implement

Now the hardest planning is over, but the real work is yet to begin! With the rough draft plan created at the end of step 5, the final work to help assure its successful adoption and implementation includes two primary elements: an Implementation Summary Table and the Support System Checklist. The Summary Table will serve as a concise single document where your goals, actions, key personnel and other details are captured. The Support System Checklist is an internal tool for your UCAT to ensure forward movement on your plan. We will also help create a checkup calendar that aligns with the strategic plan update cycle for your college or division.

Additional resources

Flying Less: Reducing Academia's Carbon Footprint

TEDx Stanley Park (University of British Columbia) - Sustainability: Are We The Monsters?

Additional background

The 2016 OSU Carbon Action Planning Guide

This guide evolved out of a collaboration between the OSU Sustainability Office and the OSU Policy Analysis Laboratory (OPAL). The document is the result of a committed group of faculty, staff and students working together to create guidance that enables OSU to engage in strategic and tactical steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net carbon neutrality by 2025.

Supporting documents that accompany the Guide.

Additional background from the 2016 plan/guide development process.

Emissions Measurement and Reporting

The OSU Sustainability Office measures OSU's greenhouse gas emissions annually through a very detailed inventory process and issues a public report that illustrates emissions by source. FY17 emissions from major sources and updated trends since FY07 are shown below.

Updated net emissions since FY07 are shown below. Net emissions include purchases of carbon offsets or renewable energy certificates (RECs), and can vary greatly from year to year since offsets and RECs can be purchased sporatically and in very small or very large amounts. Gross emissions above, on the other hand, are more stable and more accurately reflect on-site emissions from university activities.

A Goal of Climate Neutrality

A central tenet of the American College and University President's Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is the "pursuit of climate neutrality."  Climate neutrality is defined as having no net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  This is to be achieved by minimizing emissions as much as possible, and using carbon offsets or other measures to mitigate the remaining emissions. This applies to all Scope 1 and 2 emissions (defined below), as well as those Scope 3 emissions from commuting and from air travel paid for by or through the institution.

  • Scope 1: direct GHG emissions from sources owned or controlled by the institution such as combustion of natural gas, gasoline, propane and diesel, and other sources
  • Scope 2: indirect emissions from purchased electricity

Measuring GHG Emissions

Scope and Boundaries

Identifying scope and boundaries issues is a critical step in emissions reporting.  In an effort to measure all emissions resulting from OSU activity, the boundaries were drawn to be fairly broad: any emissions from an entity over which OSU has financial and/or operational control were included.

Some emissions sources are intentionally omitted due to unavailable data, poor data quality or the inability to properly calculate emissions, mainly as a result of uncertain emissions calculation methodology.  Omitted sources include

  • Miscellaneous directly-financed travel
  • Water treatment and distribution
  • Long-distance student travel
  • Lifecycle/embodied emissions
  • Off-campus vehicle use and solid waste

Peer institution comparison

For context, OSU emissions are compared with that of peer institutions in the figure below. All ACUPCC signatories are required to submit emissions reports to the ACUPCC Reporting System.

Emissions Reports

Report Period Report Title Author or Source Notes
FY17 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed February 2017
FY16 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed March 2017
FY15 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed March 2016
FY14 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed April 2015
FY13 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed June 2014
FY12 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed April 2013
FY11 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed January 2012
FY10 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed March 2011. More comprehensive than past reports, includes for the first time emissions from non-contract car rentals, non-TRES reimbursed travel, and more. This is also the first year of operations for the the new Energy Center cogeneration facililty.
FY09 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed March 2010
FY08 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed March 2009. The Sustainability Office implemented major changes relative to FY07 in the FY08 scope and boundaries, and updated processes based on internationally-recognized updates in greenhouse gas reporting.
FY08 Lifecycle and Embodied Emissions Analysis Good Company In summer 2009, the Oregon University System (OUS) contracted with Good Company to provide an analysis of the embodied emissions (emissions produced during the lifecycle of a product) of goods and services purchased by the seven OUS institutions.  These emissions, which include emissions from construction, food, paper, equipment and furniture, were calculated based on expenditures incurred during FY08 and totaled nearly 85,000 t CO2e for OSU.
FY07 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed June 2008. This was the first comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory completed by OSU. It attempts apples-to-apples comparisons with the CY04 report and elaborates about methodology and its then new, radically expanded scope.
CY04 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report Good Company In 2006 and 2007, OUS hired Good Company to create the first greenhouse gas inventory for the seven OUS campuses. As part of that work, Good Company created profiles for each institution based on available data, which varied from campus to campus.
CY90 Greenhouse Gas Baseline for Building Energy Use Good Company In 2009, OUS hired Good Company to estimate 1990 emissions from buildings for all seven OUS campuses. The emissions estimate was calculated using campus building square footage and a study on average building energy use for the western United States.

2009 Climate Plan

As a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, OSU created a plan to become climate neutral - by 2025.

On September 15, 2009, OSU submitted its Climate Plan to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.  Key elements of the Plan include:

  • the relationship between the OSU Strategic Plan and climate neutrality
  • emissions trajectories and goals
  • targeted reductions by emissions category
  • climate change related education and community engagement
  • climate change related research

Planning Process

In summer 2008, a team of graduate students reviewed documents and collected benchmark information to begin the plan development process. The next steps included a public process whereby the Sustainability Office facilitated volunteer groups of OSU students, faculty and staff in drafting specific parts of OSU's climate plan.

On Tuesday, February 10, 2009, OSU hosted a forum where the campus community was asked to help set the direction for university climate goals. Participants were asked to weigh in on priorities and focus areas.

During spring and summer 2009, the Sustainability Office issued several drafts of the Climate Plan and requested feedback from the OSU community through an online survey.

Climate Plan Archives

Version 1.2. A second major revision issued September 9.
Version 1.1. The first major revision was released August 26.
Version 1.0. On Aug.17, 2009, the Sustainability Office completed the first draft of the OSU Climate Plan.

Feedback on the OSU Climate Plan is still welcome.


State greenhouse gas emission reduction goals (page 2 of the pdf)
Climate Commitment Implementation Guide (pdf)
Env. Health and Engineering's Seven Steps to Developing a Climate Action Plan (pdf)
How to Account for Carbon Sinks in Campus Forests or Lands
Subscribe to Climate Commitment Implementer monthly newsletter
Climate Commitment Reporting System
Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science (pdf)

Also check out the OSU climate planning Google groups page, which archives the work from 2008.


The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a set of peer reviewed, standardized indicators that help measure, and therefore manage, sustainability efforts within higher education.  It is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability, developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) with broad participation from the higher education community.

Five times since January 2011, OSU has attained a Gold rating in STARS.  It was the first school in Oregon to submit its report. 

Fiscal Year Submission Date STARS Version STARS Score
2010 Jan. 31, 2011 1.0 69.74
2012 May 11, 2013 1.2 68.95
2013 Apr. 30, 2014 2.0 70.94
2014 Apr. 30, 2015 2.0 72.78
2015 Mar. 4, 2016 2.0 73.24
2016 Feb. 28, 2017 2.1 72.21

STARS is designed to:

  • provide a framework for understanding sustainability in all sectors of higher education
  • enable meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements developed with broad participation from the campus sustainability community
  • create incentives for continual improvement
  • facilitate information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance
  • build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.

The STARS framework is intended to engage and recognize the full spectrum of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada – from community colleges to research universities, and from institutions just starting their sustainability programs to long-time campus sustainability leaders.  STARS encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability.

OSU is a charter participant in the STARS program and performs a campus wide assessment every one to two years.  STARS allows OSU to gauge progress towards sustainability and also put us on a path to become a more sustainable campus over time.  These goals and assessment process align with guidance and directives from President Ray and Provost Randhawa and also are in line with OSU's climate initatives and the OSU Strategic Plan.

OSU's STARS Timeline and History

  • January 2017: target timeframe for next STARS submission.
  • March 4, 2016: The Sustainability Office submitted OSU's FY15 STARS report receiving a Gold rating and 73.24 points.
  • April 30, 2015: The Sustainability Office submitted OSU's FY14 STARS report receiving a Gold rating and 72.78 points.
  • April 30, 2014: The Sustainability Office submitted OSU's FY13 STARS report receiving a Gold rating and 70.94 points.
  • May 11, 2013: For its FY12 STARS report, Oregon University scored 68.95 points and received STARS Gold certification.
  • January 31, 2011: OSU submits its first report (for FY10) and was the first and only school in Oregon to submit its STARS report on time, by the January 31 deadline.  This first deadline was the first round of STARS participants.
  • Fall 2010: During fall term, data collection continued and followup from summer data requests were made.   Recommendations for feasible, immediate institutional changes to achieve additional STARS LogoSTARS points were made throughout the fall and winter.  Some of the most challenging aspects of STARS included defining sustainability research and sustainability related and sustainabiltiy focused courses.  The Sustainability Office convened teams of researchers and teaching faculty to help create and refine these definitions.  With these definitions, Sustainability Office staff reviewed thousands of courses and hundreds of research projects to determine what aspects of the research or teaching activity included sustainability. 
  • Summer 2010: The Sustainability Office began the data gathering process.  This included the identification of stakeholders throughout campus that have access to information needed to complete STARS reporting.  Data collection from most sources occurred during July, August and September.

Green Office Certification


The Green Office Certification is a simple yet effective way for OSU faculty and staff to further their sustainability efforts and get recognition for their work. It is also intended to provide new ideas for easy steps your office can take to reduce your environmental footprint and carbon emissions.


The Certification utilizes an online Qualtrics survey to assess existing office practices in areas like energy, water, waste management, purchasing, transportation and outreach.

The survey can be saved and continued at any time, allowing you to complete it at your own pace.  Once you start a survey, you can access it from the same computer on which you started, using the same link. Within the survey you will find resources and links to aid your certification submittal.

Once data entry and analysis are complete, we will send your score and certification level, as well as recommendations for possible improvement.


For this program, "office" is user-defined with a flexible definition that may be synonymous with department. An office may be a small group or a larger organizational unit, but note that some Certification questions require broad engagement of unit personnel. In some cases, smaller offices may be good places to start, and can encourage others within a larger unit to become certified. Initially, Certification will be limited to offices on the Corvallis campus.

To get started TAKE SURVEY HERE!

If you have any questions, please e-mail us



Point values are displayed within the survey in order to give a sense of value for each item. After the Sustainability Office has reviewed your submission and scored it, we will provide a manually calculated report showing your office’s current certification level. 

Certification levels:        



Unit Certification Date  Certification Level
School of Psychological Science December 13, 2016 Silver

Student Sustainability Initiative

and Center for Civic Engagement

April 13, 2017 Bronze


West Dining Center Office


 April 18, 2017


Procurement, Contracts and Materials Management

May 3, 2017

Department of Recreational Sports

June 5, 2017

Oak Creek Bee Farm

June 5, 2017



The Resources and Tips page supports - and is linked from - the survey itself and contains information and definitions used in the Certification.

If you are interested in carbon emissions reduction planning or sustainability strategic planning, please see our Unit Level Carbon Planning page.

The Green Office Certification was created through a partnership between the Sustainability Office, Campus Recycling and Transportation Services.

For questions or comments about the Green Office Certification, please contact the Sustainability Office.