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Projects Updates for Topic: metrics


  1. archived info - previous project description

    Associated Project(s): 

    Facilities & Services Waste Management handles trash and recycling pick-up for the majority of campus facilities.  The exterior garbage and recycling dumpsters are emptied on a regular schedule, by campus drivers working for the Waste Transfer Station.  As of Fall 2014, there was no tracking for the waste volumes within individual trash or recycling dumpsters. 

    This pilot program will install wireless sensors in the dumpsters for a certain area on campus.  The depth of the trash in the dumpsters will be shared online with the F&S personnel, which will allow data analysis of waste generation sites for the first time on campus at the large scale level.  The pilot area is the land bordered by Goodwin Avenue, Illinois Street, Lincoln Avenue, and Oregon Street.  This area includes 8 dumpsters. 

  2. Google Drive metrics spreadsheet developed

    Associated Project(s): 

    Dear all, Happy Friday! A couple of updates: 

    • Partner Spreadsheet: Based on your feedback, I've created a google spreadsheet where you can share your notes, questions, progress, and metric selections with each other. I'll be including my notes from meetings with each of you as well.
    • Check-in Call: We received another great suggestion to hold a call part-way through the process to support collaboration and communication among partners. We're shooting for the week of April 18th.
    • Executive Leadership Summary: Next week, look for a 2-page executive summary of our progress on the Prospectus. We hope this document will help you initiate conversations with executive leadership allies at your institutions. More soon!

    Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about the process. 


    Emilie (and Denice and Michael)

  3. Prospectus Data Request and Timeline

    Associated Project(s): 

    Dear Partners,  We hope this finds you well. After several conversations with the Metrics Working Group (see below for previous email detailing this process), we’ve developed a list of metrics aimed at measuring sustainability’s contribution to identified executive leadership priorities. We have framed the data request below with the following in mind:

    • Time and resources are scarce: In every conversation regarding data collection, regardless of the forum (e.g., Metrics Working Group meetings, conversations with partner institutions, pre-AASHE meetings), we’ve heard concerns about the time and resources a data request might require. With this in mind, we’ve worked very hard to develop: 1) a request that is reasonable in size and customizable based on the unique context of each of our schools, and 2) a collection window that is reasonable given how busy the spring is for all of us.
    • Process is more important than products: This request reflects the same investment in process and experimentation that has characterized the Prospectus to date. We have framed the data request to help us collectively explore the feasibility of collecting new metrics, the availability of data, and our preferences when offered choice. Instead of mandating a common set of metrics, we have prioritized a process that can provide us with strong examples of how/what data might be collected.  We believe this approach will best prepare us for conversations with executive leadership about how to move forward together.

    With these conditions in mind, we are asking each partner institution to do the following:

    • Based on the collection window (now-May 27, 2016), pick one metric for data collection within each priority area—six in total—from the attached spreadsheet. For each area, please choose between the following types of metrics:
      • Foundational quantitative: These are quantitative metrics most schools can reasonably collect in the window provided based on our estimates. These metrics may be new or they may rely on existing STARS data.
      • Aspirational quantitative: These are quantitative metrics we expect only a few schools will be able to collect in the window provided based on our estimates. We hope the innovators among us will already have started collecting (based on previous needs or projects), or will be willing to begin collecting data for these challenging, but potentially powerful metrics.
      • Create your own quantitative metric: Here we’re encouraging those of you who have not had the chance to provide input through the MWG or pre-AASHE meetings to develop or contribute innovative metrics for collection. We ask that you only use this option for strong, well-developed, outcome-oriented metrics.
      • Qualitative prompts: Here we have provided several prompts suggesting features or profiles on relevant figures, programs, or initiatives that help make an anecdotal case for sustainability’s contribution to mission level priorities. We encourage you to tell strong, bold, innovative stories here.
    • Ensure your overall metric set includes the following:
    • At least three quantitative metrics,
    • At least one quantitative metric developed during the Prospectus process (outlined in the spreadsheet), and
    • As many qualitative metrics as you like.
    • Define sustainability (i.e., sustainability-related) broadly and based on your best judgment. Use existing definitions (e.g., STARS) where they make sense or create new ones. For example, you may find it necessary to define sustainability-related disciplines differently than sustainability-related co-curricular activities.   .
    • Define your collection window for each metric based on your data availability. We’re not worried about comparability, so the period over which data was collected can vary from metric to metric.  
    • Document how and why you’ve made each collection decision.
    • Be creative and document your process:

    Again, you will find the metrics options attached. (The second tab lists definitions of all important terms.) Tomorrow, we’ll be holding a call from 2-3 PM EST to field initial questions. RSVP here to join. Emilie will be reaching out to each institution individually beginning next week. You will also find a calendar below roughly outlining the remainder of the project.

    We look forward to hearing your questions and feedback about this evolving process. And, please remember to RSVP for the Big Ten and Friends Sustainability Group Meet-up at the Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference on April 3, 2016.


    Denice, Michael, and Emilie


    • March 10: Data collection begins
    • March 16-27: First partner institution check-ins with Emilie
    • March 23: Optional: Begin preliminary conversations with executive leadership allies (more information to come)
    • April 3: Pre-SSCC Big Ten and Friends Sustainability Group semi-annual meeting
    • April 18-29: Second partner institution check-ins with Emilie, Denice, and Michael
    • May 20: Preliminary Prospectus draft from Planning Team due to partners for feedback on structure/format
    • May 27: Data request due
    • June 1-July 1: Collaborate with partners on plans to utilize Prospectus findings at each institution (more information to come)
    • June 17: Second Prospectus draft due to partners for feedback
    • July 8: Final Prospectus draft due to partners
    • (TBD): Convene Big Ten executive leadership gathering through CIC
  4. Progress on governance structure, and BT Prospectus update

    Associated Project(s): 

    Dear Partner Institutions, We hope this email finds you well. We’re writing with updates about several ongoing/upcoming projects:

    1. RSVP for the Smart and Sustainable Conferences Meet-up: On Sunday, April 3rd from 5-7 PM we’ll hold our semi-annual Big Ten and Friends Sustainability Group (BTFSG) meeting at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore to discuss our governance structure and the Big Ten Prospectus, among other topics. As in Minneapolis, we plan to meet for dinner afterward as well. Please RSVP here. If you have a topic for discussion, please email Michael (
    2. Progress Toward Governance Structure: Michael, Erik Foley, and Leanne Bilodeau are reengaging the Governance Working Group to discuss potential structures and the development of a BTFSG charter. They will be reaching out this spring to collect feedback from BTFSG partner institutions. If you’re interested in participating in this discussion, email Michael (
    3. Big Ten Prospectus Update: The Planning Team has synthesized the feedback from the pre-AASHE meeting in Minneapolis and significantly narrowed down the outcome/metrics set for each priority area. On Monday, February 15th we met with the MWG to discuss their feedback on the outcomes and metrics, and this week the Planning Team is pulling together a final set of metrics for data collection. After considering the potential burden on partners, we hope to limit the request to no more than one metric per priority area (six total). Please look for a detailed project completion schedule with the data/feedback request next Wednesday, March 9th. No action is required at this time. For those of you interested, we’re sharing the draft resources compiled for the MWG to aid them in reviewing the narrowed outcome/metric sets. Please keep in mind that the draft resources presented here ask the MWG to narrow the bundle to a set of metrics for collection—again, since our conversation with the MWG, we have decided that only a few of these will be sent out for collection.
      • Process background and instructions: This two-pager explains the steps the Planning Team followed in synthesizing feedback and narrowing down the metrics set after the pre-AASHE meeting. It also provides review guidelines for the MWG. This (very roughly produced!) video also provides instructions. 
      • Priority area narratives: These six draft narratives provide: 1) rough background summarizing feedback collected during the pre-AASHE meeting, and 2) informal explanations of the narrowed set of outcomes and metrics, including areas where the Planning Team expressed reservations about a selection and needs specific feedback. Links to the each narrative can be found here:
      • Narrowed outcome and metric set: These two figures illustrate the outcomes and metrics for all priority areas:
      •  All outcomes selected for MWG review (download and zoom-in for increased visibility)
      • All outcomes and metrics selected for MWG review (download and zoom-in for increased visibility)

    Please let us know if you have any comments, questions, or concerns about the above. We hope to see you in Baltimore this April!

    Denice and Michael (and Emilie)

  5. Shared metrics - UIUC FY14 data

    Associated Project(s): 

    In order to collaborate for sustainability improvements, it is helpful to have a shared baseline data set.  the Sustainability Practitioners developed a list of potential shared metrics for our region, and the attached file shows the UIUC data from FY14 for these metrics.

    These primarily came from the STARS report put together by Stephanie Lage at the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.  There are also several data points taken from the Facilities & Services Utilities & Energy Services website.

    Attached Files: