9.43  Sustainability Proposed updates to HOP 9.43


The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), is committed to the development of programs, projects, and practices that incorporate the three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social.  These efforts are consistent with the University of Texas System Policy, UTS169 and further incorporate the President’s Strategic Initiatives, and University Academic, Research, and Operational Excellence, Initiatives.


UTSA has identified the sustainability area as one of its five areas of excellence, and therefore, through this policy, proposes to establish its organizational framework to strengthen the university’s efforts. This policy was also established in response to UT System Policy on Sustainability Practices which requires each institution to establish a sustainability policy. This policy outlines the creation of the UTSA Sustainability Council (The Council), its role, responsibilities and membership. The Council will function as a university standing committee.  It will work with the Office of Sustainability to outline a framework for organizing UTSA’s sustainability efforts that serve the needs of the regional community as well as those of the university.


This policy applies to sustainability programs, initiatives and practices conducted at the Main Campus, the Downtown Campus, HemisFair Park Campus (ITC), and Park West Campus and other sites as appropriate; and that are designed to engage UTSA, faculty, staff, students, alumni, vendors, family members, contractors and other community partners.


UT System Policy on Sustainability Practices

UTSA Standing Committees


If you have any questions about HOP policy 9.43, Sustainability, contact the Office of Sustainability


Office of Sustainability



For the purpose of this policy, sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This can be accomplished by seeking a balanced approach between the economic, social and environmental needs of the community and university operations. Understanding that sustainability can be viewed in a very broad context, this policy is initially directed towards the environmental and energy aspects as they relate to the UTSA community. Further evolutions of this policy may include the social and historical aspects that are often associated with broader sustainability efforts.

University Standing Committee is a permanent committee that is appointed by the President and that serves in an advisory capacity to the President. The Committee is intended to consider all matters pertaining to a designated subject.


UTSA Sustainability Council
The Council will consist of faculty, staff and students from the three campuses and include representatives from the offices of the President and each of the Vice Presidents. The Council will function as a university standing committee and its chair and members will be appointed by the President and/or his/her designee.

The Council will advise the President, Provost and other senior administrators regarding strategies for enhancing the university’s sustainability performance. The Council will make recommendations on sustainability programs, initiatives, and practices, and on the allocation of resources; will help monitor the development and progress of the campus sustainability efforts; and will provide guidance and assistance in fostering alliances with community partners.

The Council will be responsible for reviewing applications requesting funding from the Office of Sustainability, assisting the soliciting party in preparation of meaningful and well thought out proposals, and making recommendations in support of proposals that meet the guidelines for funding.

SLT (Senior Leadership Team)
This Senior Leadership Team is responsible for providing direction and support to The Council.  SLT will provide comment, feedback, and/or implementation, of recommendations made in the annual report.  The SLT will recommend allocation of necessary resources in support of the projects that meet the University’s sustainability goals.  The SLT will advise the President on sustainability related initiatives and progress on the 5-year plan.



When evaluating sustainability efforts and facilitating sustainable projects within the university, The Council shall advise the senior leadership on how best to advance the seven collaborative policy areas of emphasis described below. The policy areas include broad-sweeping goals, and establish a general direction and framework for the university’s sustainability efforts.

UTSA plays a leadership role in the community by setting a standard for responsible environmental stewardship. UTSA will integrate a culture of sustainability throughout its academic, research, operations and community outreach programs. UTSA will engage its students, faculty, staff and community partners in promoting broad community participation, and in developing and implementing innovative, environmentally sustainable practices. UTSA will foster a campus culture of reduced consumption and improved efficiency in the use of natural and manufactured resources, resulting in significant environmental and economic impact.

UTSA integrates sustainability principles and green service learning experiences into its academic offerings to ensure that every UTSA student graduates with a strong understanding and sense of environmental stewardship. Through its degree and certificate programs, UTSA will endeavor to produce a workforce capable of addressing regional environmental and energy challenges and implementing innovative sustainable solutions.

UTSA fosters a sustainability research environment that engages faculty and students from across all colleges in a collaborative manner in pursuit of innovative solutions for addressing our society’s environmental challenges.  UTSA will engage its community partners in applying this research knowledge to address our region’s environmental and energy needs, and in creating sustainability policies and practices.

UTSA’s student body can serve as a catalyst in fostering a regional culture of sustainability, conservation and environmental responsibility in partnership with the San Antonio community. UTSA will encourage its students to participate in programs and training focused on sustainability and to adopt an environmentally-friendly culture and way of working and living, both on and off campus.

The university will be proactive in sharing the knowledge gained from its research programs and campus initiatives with the greater community to help bring awareness to the environmental challenges and opportunities facing our region. UTSA will actively share information with its community partners on its environmental activities and programs through the use of electronic and printed media.

UTSA will help promote environmental awareness and natural resource conservation by engaging with the community through on-campus and off-campus activities, and by developing educational programs that generate interest in conservation. Also, UTSA will help strengthen the regional economic engine by engaging with the community to foster new green industries and businesses as well as by providing a trained green workforce.
Campus Operations encompasses the daily business and student support activities necessary to assure the success of the institution’s academic and research missions. The Campus Operations policy area includes university goals in each of the following categories:

  1. Energy & Water – to improve efficiency of building systems and infrastructure to reduce energy and water consumption through efficient operation of building systems and effective and environmentally sustainable maintenance practices.
  2. Transportation – to expand development of infrastructure that encourages the reduction of fuel consumption through expansion of bicycle and pedestrian transportation opportunities, increased mass transit, carpooling,fuel efficiency, and greater use of alternative fuels.
  3. Construction and Renovation – to construct high performing, energy efficient buildings that minimize impact on the natural environment and strive to develop to LEED designation for all projects. New buildings and renovations for existing buildings will be designed in accordance with state and nationally recognized energy conservation standards, the institution will include additional energy and water saving alternatives.
  4. Waste – to reduce the amount of generated waste, and to increase there-use of materials and equipment, and the amount of recycled material.
  5. Dining, Housing & On-Campus Vendors – to minimize the environmental impact of its Dining, Housing and On-Campus vendor operations through the use of local and organic products, waste minimization, and recycling of waste products,where reasonable. Operations will maximize energy efficiency and support efforts to increase student awareness of environmentally sustainable practices.
  6. Grounds – to manage growth to limit disturbance of sensitive and endangered species, and to increase conservation through the use of native and drought tolerant plants and xeric landscaping practices.
  7. Purchasing – to minimize the environmental impact of its purchasing practices. Suppliers will be encouraged to demonstrate environmental stewardship. Life cycle costs will be considered when making purchasing decisions.