Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.78
Liaison Jessica Bowen
Submission Date March 4, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Aquinas College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jessica Eimer Bowen
Director of Sustainability
Center for 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:

1. Students Striving for Sustainability: Provides an avenue for Sustainable Business students to take a more proactive role in business, social and environmental progress. This group led the initiative to change the college's zero waste goal and even secured presidential support and approval. Among other initiatives, the club is actively working on a Take Back the Tap Campaign to encourage the use of reusable water bottles on campus. Student-Governed.
3. The student zero waste advocates are in charge of promoting the zero waste initiative in their perspective residential area.
4. Keeping Bees The purpose of this student organization is to teach students, faculty, and staff the role of honeybees and their socio-economical functions and purposes. Students will have the opportunity to study and interact with a bee colony (Apiary) on campus. Interactions with the Apiary range from simple observation and wireless data acquisition, to hands-on honey extraction. There will also be a focus on botanical restoration and ecological interactions on campus. Student Governed.


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:

The campus community garden is a volunteer-run program, with representatives from the student body, staff, and faculty. Not only does the community garden provide opportunities for growing local, organic food, but also opportunities for community outreach. The garden was started by a student group, but it is currently coordinated by the campus Infrastructure Sustainability Committee. There is a standing time each week for the community to volunteer at the garden and learn more about gardening from our master gardener.


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
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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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

Aquinas College's Green Revolving Fund began in December of 2014 with $200,000 seed money from the Wege Foundation. The Fund is supported by the Community Sustainability Committee, made up of students, faculty, and staff, and overseen by the Director of the Green Revolving Fund. In addition, representatives from the Business Office, Physical Plant, as well as Administration will take part in project review and approval.


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:

1. The annual Refresh Yourself is organized by Student Leadership and Engagement each Spring. This campus tradition is a night full of fun, food, and entertainment. Student-Governed Event and students are the intended audience. The event is also a zero waste event.
2. The annual Saint Stock event is organized by Student Leadership and Engagement and Campus Ministry each fall. Saint Stock is the combination of multiple resource fairs as well as Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) into one exciting Welcome Week event. Participants are able to peruse the merchandise of local businesses, locate a faith community, explore volunteer opportunities in the area, join a campus club, and much, much more. Saint Stock is a wonderful networking opportunity as it allows for participants to explore the abundant options within the community. With nearly 500 incoming students signed up for the new school year, the event is a chance for the College and local businesses to showcase what they offer Aquinas students. Student-Governed Event and students are the intended audience. The event is also a zero waste event.
3. Students are the primary audience for Aquinas' celebration of Earth Day called We All Live Here. The service day brings together faculty, staff, and students to engage in indoor and outdoor beautification projects on campus. The event is also a zero waste event.


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?:
No

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

1. Nature Trail/Tree Guide: The Aquinas College campus provides access to a wide diversity of native trees and shrubs on our 100+ acre site. Walks along campus trails allow you to see examples of all native Michigan species, as well as a number of introduced types. It is a favorite fall stop for teachers, students, and nature lovers. The college also has a digital nature app for campus.
2. The Biology program offers field-based classes. BY 123 Environmental Biology is an intro to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems with emphasis on human influences. The classes include weekly field experiences, which is based in on-campus and off-campus labs.
3. One of our student clubs called the Outdoor Adventure and Recreation club engages in outdoor activities and follows the Leave no Trace principles.


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:

One of the practices included in our general education curriculum is a first year experience required by all incoming freshmen. Our First Year Seminar, beginning in Fall Semester 2014, includes a series of six lectures for first semester students, each followed by small group discussion and reflection assignments led by full-time faculty members from across the disciplines. The vision of Economicology and sustainability is introduced to Aquinas students in their First Year Seminar.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
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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:

1. Aquinas has several Living Learning Communities (LLC's) on campus, offering upperclassmen students the chance to have an independent living style with the comfort of living in a house on campus. Each house has its own theme (Academic Leadership, Environmental Leadership, Campus Leadership, etc...) and is fully furnished with storage and laundry facilities. Each home also has a RA to help build community. One of the LLC's is generally focused on sustainability.
2. As a part of Aquinas College's orientation, all incoming students participate in Project Unite. During Project Unite new students, orientation leaders, faculty and staff provide assistance to various local organizations. We have done everything from interact and visit with residents of the nearby Clark Retirement Community to decorating bags for the Kids Food Basket. Project Unite is great tradition that celebrates Saints doing service - a value here at Aquinas.
3. Numerous programs are offered as a part of Aquinas' sustainable living series. These include a social media campaign to motivate the switch from disposable products to reusable products. We also organize an annual Saint Swap event where students donate 2 apparel items and can take home one item. The event feature educations about refining your closet and the impact of the fashion industry.


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 Center for Sustainability employs 3 student interns. All 3 students work 10 hours per week on dedicated sustainability activities.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
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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?:
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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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