Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 47.37
Liaison Holly Andersen
Submission Date Jan. 26, 2021

STARS v2.2

Bennington College
EN-12: Continuing Education

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.76 / 5.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total number of continuing education courses offered:

Number of continuing education courses that are sustainability course offerings:

Percentage of continuing education courses that are sustainability course offerings:

A copy of the institution’s inventory of its continuing education sustainability course offerings and descriptions:
Institution’s inventory of its continuing education sustainability course offerings and descriptions:

"Plastic Pollution and What You Can Do About It (APA2176.01)":

Plastic pollution has emerged as a major environmental, health and economic issue with direct links to climate change. 9 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year. In the next decade, there will be 1 lb of plastic in the ocean for every 3 lbs of fish. Plastics are made from chemicals and a by-product of fracking. And we can’t recycle our way out of this problem. This is a cutting edge public policy class that will delve into the details of this issue, while teaching students how to take political action to stem the tide of plastic pollution. Taught by Judith Enck, a seasoned environmental leader who served in the Obama Administration, the work is also linked to Beyond Plastics, a nationwide grassroots organizing campaign committed to reducing plastic pollution, based at Bennington College. At the end of the class, you will be very well informed about plastic pollution and emerge with new organizing skills that will help you be a leader on a range of issues that you care about.

Speaking of Earth: Environmental Speeches that Moved the World (MOD2163.01):

In this course, based on the book Speaking of Earth, edited by Alon Tal, we will read twenty inspiring speeches by leading environmentalists around the world that examine a broad range of environmental issues. Included in the course is Rachel Carson’s defense of her ground breaking book Silent Spring, Prince Charles’s passionate call for sustainable agriculture, and the Dalai Lama’s explanation of a path to ecological harmony. The module will include participants in the class writing their own speech.

Future Studio (VA4207.01):

"Future Studio is a creative incubator for the development and articulation of new non-profit or for-profit enterprises which can be launched with powerful economic potential and socially responsible missions. The studio emphasizes creativity, innovation, place-centered economies, worker-centered ownership, environmental sustainability, social justice and financial viability.

During the course, we explore the history of artists and innovative entrepreneurs who have developed organizations and enterprises that break from traditional business models and, instead, integrate creativity, arts & culture, sustainable economic development, and creative placemaking with business competencies. We investigate topics such as self-organization, self-management, and evolutionary non-extractive organizational structures that emphasize collaboration from Frederic Laloux’s seminal book Reinventing Organizations (2014) and Ensprial’s book Better work together: How the power of community can transform your business (2019).

Future Studio engages organization building as a generative and artistic space that marries inquiry-based idea development, artistic social and civic practice, iterative design, and new business models to create constructive social outcomes. We examine organizations not as machines to be optimized, with static parts and cogs aligned for a binary purpose, but rather as a living organism or ecosystem of support.

Students who are interested in rethinking what it means to create a business or organization today, possess an interest in the promise of creative enterprise and have skills and knowledge from diverse discipline areas are strongly encouraged to enroll. You do not need to be a visual arts student to meaningfully participate in this course."

Resilience and Food Access in Bennington, VT (APA2241.01):

What is a resilient community food system? How is community health impacted by food access and quality? This class will explore these questions through community engagement and research with a focus on sustainable food system interventions in Bennington, Vermont. Resilience is the ability for a system to adapt to changing circumstances, including poverty, climate change, and health crises. This class will look particularly at the food access supplied by neighborhood corner stores and community gardens. The class will research case studies of food relocalization and public health initiatives to learn best practices in community food security. Working with the local community in Bennington (including the town, local public health district, local organizations, and small business owners), this class will explore the accessibility of food to residents in town and engage in projects that increase access to local, nutritious food in downtown neighborhoods.

Understanding Food Insecurity in Bennington 2 (APA2253.01):

As part of the Mellon Foundation grant addressing Food Insecurity in Bennington County, this class will engage with last year’s overview of the programs currently being offered in Bennington, the best practices in our area and afar, and new projects that have been developed moving forward. Understanding Food Insecurity in Bennington County 2 will develop and sustain current coordinated engagement structures and plan new strategies in response to the research and outreach that we have accomplished. In addition to Bennington College students, the course will be advertised and open (free of charge) to members of the larger community who wish to enroll, enriching discussions on food insecurity and promoting the practice of the socially-engaged humanities. This course includes a basic introduction to the food system. The class will also examine case studies and theory that addresses how to shift the food system to be more ecologically sound and just. Through reading, writing, and discussion, as well as engagement with the local community, students will gain an understanding of the complexity and the promise of food as a locus for human and environmental flourishing.

"Multi-Species Lab (APA2302.02)":

The Multi-Species Lab is an art and research class focused on creative practices and strategies that decenter the human being in a world of ecological uncertainty and recalibration. Through collaborative and creative activities and assignments, we will research and question ideas of how to understand life—including human life—as a plural and ecologically enmeshed phenomenon. The Lab will be structured as a series of activities and studies that are indebted to scholars, artists, practitioners, and researchers engaged in developing “arts of living on a damaged planet.” Drawing our conceptual frameworks and key ideas from recent work in ecotheory, new materialism, posthumanism, and multi-species ethnography, we will dedicate ourselves to creating actions, rituals, habits, ceremonies, practices, and art works—in many mediums—that work to disrupt unthinking anthropocentrism and to replace it with ecospheric consciousness. The lab is an experimentally-oriented contribution to the rapidly emerging field of Environmental Humanities, with intellectual foundations drawn from such fields as animal studies, environmental philosophy, science studies, and ecocriticism. The lab also recognizes the veritable explosion of artistic engagement whereby artists, art collectives, curators and other practitioners are addressing the social and emotional complexities of our physically changing world.

Make Kitchen Communal Again: Culinary Participation and Storytelling (APA4245.02):

Building strong community support infrastructure is essential in the age of global pandemics as it has been during past emergencies and disasters. At this pivotal moment, communal kitchens can be reframed as vital, alternative social spaces to foster democratic learning. In this space we can regain the importance of cross-generational skillsharing and reclaiming community knowledge about food and commensality. We will examine how civic movements such as Comedores Populares in Peru and Mexico and The Young Lords in New York City understood food security as a core issue in creating community stability. This class will explore possibilities of developing effective relationship between Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Community Supported “Kitchen” (CSK) so that community members can collectively learn and teach how to prepare, preserve and serve the local and sustainable produce.

Soup Thinking/Thinking Soup (APA2185.02):

"This course will present methods of soup preparation, soup making, and serving that will propose and present, various natural/biological and social/societal understandings of the world because first and foremost food is a narrative.

Each of the methods can be combined and/or reduced/disassembled to create other soups. Participants will leave with a solid understanding of how to create a soup as both a real edible, delicious meal, a community building strategy, and an analog space to consider the way society is constructed through myth making, philosophy, and anthropology.

Using four primary soups, Miso (the primordial), Rumford’s soup (the constructed), Stone soup (the societal), and what we term “Future soup” (the unknown) we will explain how and why community building (society) is created through soup and how the intentionality of that moment can produce society and democracy.

Each ingredient and its physical understanding will be explained to produce an overview of societal growth through food and how biology and nature have themselves encrypted this knowledge and what humans have to gain from building on and also unencrypting this knowledge to produce community and community goals."

Do the figures reported above cover one, two, or three academic years?:

Does the institution have at least one sustainability-focused certificate program through its continuing education or extension department?:

A brief description of the certificate program(s):


Website URL where information about the institution’s continuing education courses and programs in sustainability is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.