Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 46.39
Liaison Laura Draucker
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Amherst College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Laura Draucker
Director of Sustainability
Office of Environmental Sustainability
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Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

Eco-rep Program
The eco-reps are a group of first-year students that focuses on sustainable living. The Eco-reps host an annual eco-fair, clothing swap, and the green games - a spring competition between dorms to save energy, reduce waste, and learn about sustainability through events on campus.

Food Justice Alliance
The mission of the FJA is to contribute to the struggle for a more just American food system by acknowledging and fighting against the exploitation and inequality that exists at all levels of the food system. This includes advocating for policy change and working within the Amherst community to address barriers to equal access and choice for low-income communities and communities of color. Students have hosted a phone bank to encourage students to call their representatives to protect SNAP benefits, organized a fundraiser to subsidize vegetable shares from the campus farm for lower income members of the community, and meeting with the dining hall to discuss ways to promote reducing meat intake and buying food from producers that treat the workers and land well.

Green Amherst Project
The GAP is a student-run group that advocates for environmental protection, awareness, and appreciation on campus, in the community, and on a national level. Recent campaigns include coal divestment, plastic water bottle reduction, creating a bike share, and a dorm energy competition. After two years of campaigning, the Green Amherst Project helped to secure a statement from the Board of Trustees pledging to pursue sustainability in regards to on-campus operations as well as investments in 2015. In 2016, GAP was able to campaign the dining facility to go trayless.

The Green Athletics group focuses on engaging athletics on sustainability and making athletics more sustainable. They have worked on installing shower timers and running team competitions to reduce shower times, getting recycling on team buses, and reducing food waste in issue food ( food sent with the players to matches).


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
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Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

In 2013, after much campaigning by students and with substantial administrative support, Amherst College began a unique relationship with two local farmers to establish the Book and Plow farm. In addition to providing local, organic produce to the dining hall, Book and Plow farm hires students to help with their work, sponsors classes on organic agriculture, and engages with the college community in a variety of ways. In 2016, the farm became part of the college.


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
No

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
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The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

We often have speakers and events that focus on sustainability. Here are two more recent examples:

In 2017 Professor Dorceta Taylor came to campus for a talk and several workshops on Race, Space, and Environmental Inequalities

In 2019 Ysanet Batista came to speak on Food Justice and Sovereignty as a part of Food Justice Week, which was hosted by the Book and Plow campus farm.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
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Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

The Beneski Museum of Natural History and the Mead Art Museum both host art and/or performances that are related to sustainability.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
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Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The First-year Outdoor Orientation Trip (FOOT) program runs backpacking, canoeing, and camping trips for incoming first years. Student leaders are all trained in Leave No Trace principles and are required to pass on those techniques to all first years on the trip. Additionally, the student-run Outing Club which organizes outdoors activities throughout the school year is led by students familiar with Leave No Trace.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Each incoming first-year class is given a book to read over the summer and the chance to hear the author lecture during orientation. The incoming class in 2013 read "Field Notes from a Catastrophe" by Elizabeth Kolbert, a book about climate change. The incoming class in 2015 read "This Changes Everything" by Naomi Klein which again focuses on climate change and other sociopolitical issues. Additionally, first-years are required to take a first-year seminar during their first semester to prepare them for the type of coursework they should expect at Amherst. A few of these courses, such as "Encounters with Nature" have a sustainability focus.

For the 2016-2017 school year, the theme of the Center for Humanistic Inquiry was Conservation. The CHI hosts researchers who study the theme and has many events open to faculty, staff, and interested students


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The eco-rep program incorporates life skills such as cooking demos focused on cheap and vegetarian meals.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
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Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Office of Environmental Sustainability has employed several student interns each semester and over the summer to assist with a variety of projects and to take on work of their own. Additionally, the Book and Plow farm is a consistent employer of students both during the school year and over the summer. Students get the opportunity to learn what it takes to run an organic farm and why these farming practices are so valuable.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
No

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:
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The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
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Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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