Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.29
Liaison Holly Andersen
Submission Date March 30, 2022

STARS v2.2

Bennington College
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.50 / 4.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Bennington College Climate developed a Climate Action Plan in 2011 in conjunction with signing the ACUPCC to become carbon neutral. We have many goals, all of which are included in the below categories:

1. Generate and maintain a green house gas emissions inventory. This is work has been on-going as evidenced through the second nature website and this AASHE STARS reporting.

2. Include education, research, and community outreach efforts as part of the college's commitment.

3. Implement reduction and mitigation strategies.

4. Financing of the above projects.

5. Defining uncertainty
6. Implementation and measuring success.

The Climate Action Plan is inclusive of these objectives as they relate to sustainability.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:

To get to our sustainability goal of being carbon neutral by 2030, buildings and grounds has been reviewing campus operations on how to meet our goals. We have a capital expenditures list that is presented every year. This list contains lists of carbon saving projects that will ultimately get us to carbon neutral. B&G also partners with student life to provide student engagement and awareness through the student environmental group L.E.S.S. B&G also partners with the human resources office to implement sustainability training and awareness for new employees.

A few samples of the measurable sustainability objectives are as follows:
--The Deans office has added a robust calendar to the curriculum in and around sustainability. The sections in AASHE that relate to our courses demonstrate that commitment. On page 9 of the climate action plan it offers that Goal 1 is to continue to development and growth of the Environmental Studies Program, which the College has successfully done.

--The second goal in the college's Climate Action Plan, to make sustainability literacy a central theme for the entire Bennington College community, including students, faculty, and staff. This has been successfully integrated into each office of the College.

--The third goal was to expand ties and conversation to sustainability between Bennington College and its surrounding communities. This has place as evidenced through CAPA events, that are free and open to the public, increased communication with community leaders, sustainability-related service options for community service events and expand on sustainability participation through Field Work Term.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:

As part of both the Bennington College Climate Action Plan as well as the President's Climate Commitment, Bennington College has agreed to:

--Develop a greenhouse gas inventory. These inventories have been taken since 2004 and are continuously updated and expanded to become more comprehensive over time.

-- Within two years, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming carbon neutral. Attached in Part 2 are all the sustainability projects that the College has undertaken since 2009. They include all of the energy efficiency projects or electrification projects we have completed to meet this goal.

--Take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short term actions that are listed further in the document. They include new construction standards, connecting the campus electrical use to renewable energy sources, and participate in waste minimalization programs.

-- Integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience.

--Make plans, inventories, and progress reports publicly available.

-Completely remove and plastics in take-away containers in the Dining hall
-In capital projects, we have committed to procure local building materials whenever possible. In the college's climate action plan, we have put an emphasis on Energy use in buildings by implementing efficiency measures, sub- metering and implementing behavioral changes as evidenced with our participation in a Continuous Energy Improvement program through behavioral changes in and around buildings. In our operations we have net metered with solar facilities, and are phasing out fossil fuels. We have also partnered with the Green Mountain Express to provide bud service in and around our local area for commuters.

Generally, we are working on our physical campus to electrify, insulate, and reduce. Our completed projects are as follows:
Project Description
Bennington College - Hardwired CFL Retrofit
Bennington College - Student Center
Bennington College -Dorm Lighting
Bennington College - Barn Occupancy Sensors
Bennington College - iLED
Bennington College - VAPA Studio Lighting
Bennington College -Various Measures
Bennington College Corporation - ECC Rehab
Bennington College - Rx HVAC URF 1
Bennington College - VAPA Theatre - Lighting
Bennington College - Library - Relight
Bennington College Corporation - VAPA Building - Ventilation
Bennington College - Rx Lighting 1
Bennington College - EAC Building - Rx HVAC 1
Bennington College - Cricket Barn Building - Rx HVAC HPF 1
Bennington College - CAPA Building - New Construction
Bennington College - Dorm, Common, Dickenson - Rx Lighting 2
Bennington College - Deane Carriage Barn Dehumidification
Bennington College - Dorm Lighting and h20 conserve
Bennington College - Energy Audit and Installed Measures
Bennington College - Sawtell Dorm - Various Measures
Bennington College - Noyes Dorm - Various Measures
Bennington College - Fels Dorm - Various Measures
Bennington College - Campus Energy Distribution Ph 1
Bennington College Corporation - Summer 2013 Work
Bennington College - Dickinson lts plus Various Measures
Bennington College - Dickinson Science Building
Bennington College - Greenwall Lighting & Ventilation
Bennington College -VAPA - VFD & Lighting
Bennington College -VAPA -Faculty House Boilers and Lighting
Bennington College - screw based leds
Bennington College - screw based leds round 2
Bennington College - Large Circ Pump Pilot
Bennington College - VAPA Hallway lighting and screw based cfls
Bennington College - Commons Renovation and Sub-metering
Bennington College - Ecobee Tstats
Bennington College - LED Security Lighting and boilers
Bennington College - Longmeadow Building - BP
Orchard House B - Bennington College - BP
Orchard House E - Bennington College - BP
Orchard House F - Bennington College - BP
Jennings Cottage - Bennington College - BP
121 Harlan Road Shingle Cottage - Bennington College -BP
Bennington College - HID LED post top retrofit
Welling Town House - Bennington College- BP
Bennington College 183 Old Faculty Road -Bennington - BP
Bennington College -Brooder -BP
Bennington College - Dickinson Smart Pumps & various measures
Bennington College - VAPA - PA Ventilation Upgrades
Bennington College - Steam Trap Repair
Bennington College - Round 2 Deep Retrofit- Welling Townhouse
10 Prospect Street - Bennington - BP
Bennington College - Rx HVAC 2
Bennington College -Brooder
Bennington College -Student Temporary Dining
Bennington College - LEDs Campus retrofit
Bennington College - CAPA RCx
Bennington College - VAPA LED Lighting and Controls
Bennington College - Rx Lighting 2
Swan Garage Art Center - Bennington College - BP
Bennington College - Radiant Space Heater Pilot

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:

The president during this reporting time frame was focused on carbon neutrality and commit to climate justice. This includes work with DEI, sustainable financing, and wellbeing. In our work on diversity, equity, and inclusions, "The College affirms the intersecting identities of all its community members—students, faculty, staff, and alumni—and recognizes their contributions to the vitality of our unique living and learning environment. The College’s approach to pluralism and inclusivity—both as fields of inquiry and practice—is to prioritize flexible thought, and to invite the examination of access, value, and power through its institutional policies and areas of study."
A statement from the college's Vision Statement for Institutional Pluralism and Inclusion.

At Bennington, learning and making are inseparable. The faculty are committed not just intellectually, but also as leading practitioners in their field. Students develop ideas in the classroom and then test those ideas where it counts—through hands-on work in the world. The result is a learning experience free of artificial barriers where students imagine, shape, and pursue their best work.

Current demographics on the diversity at Bennington is listed here: http://diversity.bennington.edu/who-are-we/

Through a genuinely distinctive education, Bennington cultivates a mindset for change, a capacity to break new ground, and the conditions for progress. More reading for Bennington's DEI efforts are listed here: https://libraryguides.bennington.edu/diversity

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :

The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):

Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:
Minor theme

The institution's sustainability plan (upload):
Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

The Sustainability Committee is made up of staff, faculty, and students from all areas of the College. The Committee's mission is to advance Bennington’s commitment to sustainability and a shared sense of responsibility towards the social, economic, and environmental well being of the College and beyond. In order to educate Bennington students and lead by example, the Committee's goals are to advance the ethic of sustainability in College operations, academics, and campus life and to build bridges between the College, the local community, and the world at large. The Committee is chaired by the Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Planning.

The institution’s definition of sustainability:

At Bennington College, sustainability refers to the set of institutional practices and collective efforts dedicated to ensure that the needs of future generations are met while fulfilling current necessities. We achieve this through practices ranging from efficient energy systems, energy saving saving practices, water conservation, waste reduction, food security programs, environmental courses, climate action, etc.

Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability No
SDG Accord No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) No

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above
Bennington College is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. A continuous effort has been put for creating efficient energy systems, reducing waste production, and expanding environmental and public action courses for sustainability and a generation of students ready for climate action.

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

I believe that in our highest governing document for sustainability is a major theme because it focuses primarily on sustainability, climate justice, public action, and climate change. Please see Dean's office details here: https://www.bennington.edu/academics/areas-of-study-curriculum/environmental-studies

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.