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The University of Texas at Dallas

Sustainability Newsletter

September 2023

Welcome Back, Comets!

The gold AASHE STARS award floating above the south end of McDermott Mall on the UT Dallas Campus.

UT Dallas Recertified as STARS Gold!

UT Dallas has renewed our Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Ratings System (STARS) Report and received a Gold Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)! The STARS report is used by over 1,000 universities to drive and assess sustainability programs and measures sustainability effort across operations, curriculum, research, campus engagement, public leadership, and administration.

A solar panel.

UT Dallas Campus as Use Case for Solar District Cup

The U.S. Department of Energy hosts the Solar District Cup Competition each academic year, challenging student teams to design and model solar-plus-storage systems to meet the energy needs and decarbonization goals of campus, Tribal, and urban mixed-use districts. Throughout the competition, cross-disciplinary students design proposals that reimagine how electric energy is generated, managed, and used in these various environments, while gaining industry experience and connections. This year, UT Dallas is excited to announce that the campus has been selected as a district use case, providing practical experience to student teams while highlighting our sustainability commitments.

A homemade sign with a drawing of the earth which reads “Love Your Home” is placed among wildflowers.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2023: Special Edition

The United Nations recently released the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report 2023: Special Edition which provided a global update on the progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs. Halfway to the 2030 Agenda, the goals are in peril with work towards 50% of the goals being inefficient or weak and 30% have stalled or gone in reverse. The climate crisis is worsening, the number of people in extreme poverty rose for the first time in a generation, and developing countries and the world’s most vulnerable are bearing the brunt of the consequences.

The challenges we face are significant, but they are not impossible. We still can change our future, starting now. No matter who you are, you are the right person to make a difference. Learn how you can take action and make sure to talk about it!

Read the report or watch the video overviewing the findings of the report.

Students walking and sitting around the reflecting pools at the south end of McDermott Mall on the UT Dallas Campus.

Sustainability Resources for New Comets

If you are a student, staff, or faculty member on campus, here are some ways you can be more sustainable this academic year. Take the brief Comet Composting training to receive a composting caddy and access to compost bins across campus. Recycle with UTD’s single-stream recycling program and special recycling streams to reduce your environmental impact. Ditch single-use water bottles this semester and refill your reusable water bottle at any of the water bottle refilling stations across campus. Want to learn about zero waste, renewable energy, climate change, environmental justice, sustainability on campus? Register for the Fall 2023 Sustainability Stewards Training by September 29.


The Greenhouse

Updates to the UT Dallas Eco Rep Blog

A flowering native Texas tree.

The Benefits of Xeriscaping in Texas

Carolina overviews xeriscaping and recommends plants for Texas landscapes.

Head to the Greenhouse! >

A Swiss flag mounted off the back of a boat on a mountain lake.

What Makes Switzerland so Sustainable?

Curious about sustainability in other countries? Alisa shares her experiences in Switzerland.

Head to the Greenhouse! >

A pile of tomatoes.

What To Do With So Many Tomatoes

Anna shares her favorite recipes and what she does with an abundance of tomatoes.

Head to the Greenhouse! >

Fruits and vegetables in cloth grocery bags and nets laid out on a tablecloth.

A Guide to Eating More Sustainably & Ethically

Ida shares about how the food you buy and eat impacts the environment.

Head to the Greenhouse! >


Sustainability Service Honors Highlight

Each month, we highlight Comets who give back to their communities through service. You can register for Sustainability Service Honors to be recognized for your service on the Sustainability website.

Volunteer of the Month. Nimra Ali Shah, standing with three other people. The image text reads “Second from Left: Dr. Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil. Second from Right: Nimra Ali Shah”.

Volunteer of the Month: Nimra Ali Shah

Degree Program: Psychology and Child Learning and Development

Graduation Date: Spring 2026

Why she volunteers: Volunteering gives people the opportunity to contribute with more than just their time and skills; it allows them to contribute their passion, expertise, and a piece of their heart to a cause that matters to them. I also volunteer because it gives the opportunity to personally grow and be able to help a community that needs an extra hand.

Favorite volunteering experience: My favorite volunteering experience has been mentoring middle and high school students in STEM and Robotics competitions alongside my family. It’s incredibly fulfilling to inspire and guide the younger generation, and throughout, I’ve had the privilege of networking with remarkable individuals like Dr. Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil, a renowned astrophysicist and TED Senior Fellow who discovered a unique galaxy.


Important Dates

UTD Campus Clean Up

September 6

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Eco Hub Workday

September 9

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

New Volunteer Training - Comet Cupboard

September 11

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

SAFE ZONE Ally Training

September 15

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Eco Hub Workday

September 16

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

UTD Campus Clean Up

September 21

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Eco Hub Workday

September 23

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Volunteer Event at Hope’s Door Resale Store

September 23

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Eco Hub Workday

September 30

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.



Office of Sustainability

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The University of Texas at Dallas, 800 W Campbell Rd, Richardson, TX 75080-3021

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