Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.95
Liaison Joan Pauly
Submission Date June 14, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Berea College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Joan Pauly
Sustainability Coordinator
Operations & 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:

The Office of Sustainability (Not Student Governed)
The office of sustainability provides as the base of operations for student initiated and student led sustainability outreach programs as guided by the staff sustainability coordinator. The above programs among others are encompassed in the 3600 annual hours worked by the team of 12 labor students at the office of sustainability.

EcoChallenge Committee (Student Governed)
The EcoChallenge committee is made up of 12 students that oversee program development, marketing and communications for these national competitions to increase recycling percentages and decrease energy consumption.
The competitions take place typically January through March, and engage all Residence Halls in a building-to-building competition.
Also included is a carbon neutral basketball game each year to call attention to the competition and carbon neutrality as a goal for the institution.

People Who Care (Student Governed)
People Who Care (PWC) helps to connect Berea College students with organizations and opportunities that promote change through advocacy, education, action, and direct community service. Volunteers may serve at local shelters, work with the Fair Trade University Campaign, or help to raise awareness about local issues like domestic violence, homelessness, fair trade, and AIDs awareness education. Students are welcome to participate as volunteers with PWC’s projects.

Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (Not Student Governed)
The Committee for Socially Responsible Investing is charged with helping to understand and develop investment strategies in light of the Great Commitments. Its responsibilities include:
Educating and informing the campus community about socially responsible investing, the community investment fund, and other issues pertaining to the management of the College’s endowment;
Evaluating the College’s investing practices through the endowment, to evaluate how and monitor that investing practices are aligned with the goals outlined in the Berea College Investment Policy;
Formulating recommendations to the President, Vice President for Finance, and the Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee pertaining to investments, strategy, and responsible and community investing issues;
Examining, in conjunction with the Board of Trustees and on-campus constituents, actual policies and practices pertaining to the investment of the endowment. Two students sit on this committee.

The Berea College Farm Store (Not Student Governed)
The Berea College Farm is one of the oldest continuously operating student educational farms in the United States. It raises a wide variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, grains, beans, mushrooms, honey, pork, beef, chicken, goat, fish and more – all produced by students gaining hands-on farming experience while working their way through college. Much of the cropland is USDA certified organic and the Farm maintains animal-welfare certifications on several of the livestock enterprises.
In 2013 the College opened Farm Store in the renovated, historic Broomcraft Building located on the edge of campus, adjacent to Farm. It’s equipped with a kitchen and meat-processing room and offers foods produced by the College Farm as well as products from nearby farms and small businesses in the central Appalachian Region and throughout Kentucky.

Student Government Association (Student Governed)
the students of Berea College, unite to represent student opinion and voice among faculty, administration, staff, and each other by combining our talents and diversities. Understanding the importance of promoting student welfare, representing student concerns and opinions, protecting the best interests of students, and fostering communication among the aforementioned groups, we resolve to work toward the benefit of the Student Body. In all these means, we strive to remember the traditional ideals of the Great Commitments of Berea College as they apply to the Student Body, thus establishing the Berea College Student Government Association. SGA has a standing VP of Sustainability position and appoints two students each year to serve on the Sustainability Committee.

Sustainability Committee
The Sustainability Committee exists to address important contemporary issues surrounding Berea College’s seventh great commitment, especially as that commitment relates to “a way of life characterized by plain living…high personal standards, and concern for the welfare of others.” It is important for Berea College to follow and innovate sustainable practices in order to reduce waste, CO2 emissions, and its overall environmental footprint in order to preserve the natural environment and to set an example for others. However, our greatest potential for promoting sustainability as an institution lies in educating the generations of students who will pass through the College and carry away the knowledge and motivation to create the path toward a more sustainable world.
The purposes of the Committee are to:
Advise the Vice President for Operations and Sustainability, the Vice President of Labor and Student Life, and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty in regard to sustainability goals, progress, opportunities, and initiatives;
Monitor the progress of the College Climate Action Plan and College Sustainability Plan;
Provide routine reporting and communication about key sustainability indicators and initiatives to the campus community;
Establish and monitor annual metrics by which to drive continuous improvement of sustainability across the campus community;
Assure recommended greenhouse gas emissions and STARS reporting is completed on time;
Review and recommend policies and procedures that affect the sustainability efforts, integration, and achievements of the College’s various operations and extra-curricular programs;
Promote, support, and measure learning and leadership in both academics and labor; and
Support routine assessment of campus attitudes and knowledge of sustainability concepts and practices.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
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:

About Berea College Farm Products:

• Horticultural products are USDA Certified Organically Grown. The horticultural component of the College Farm, known as the Gardens and Greenhouse, produces vegetables, fruits, herbs, mushrooms, and garden plants on about 5 acres for the Berea Farm Store and College Food Service, and area restaurants, cafés, and stores. The area has been under certified organic management since 1998.
• Corn and flour are grown and stone-ground by students
• Value-Added ready-to-eat and take-home items are developed and prepared by student labor
• All livestock from the Berea College Farm is raised by students working in the College’s labor program
• Beef cattle and goats are raised on pasture, and supplemented with corn grown on the college farm and free-choice minerals.- The farm is animal welfare approved.
• Hogs are pasture and grain-fed on Berea College grown corn with vegetable protein supplements
• We have transitioned to a purely pasture based hog raising system
• Our animals do not receive steroids or hormones
• We use only USDA-inspected processing facilities
Students raise tilapia in our aquaponics facility for sale to staff and Farm Store


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

At the College Farm, a business and marketing core team was piloted in spring of 2009 at the recommendation of former office manager, Sarah Paulson, who saw in the complex workings of the Agriculture office a valuable source of student work experience. This fall marks the first official season of the team, but in past years students have chosen to participate in office activities that relate to their special interests. Marketing duties include updating the college farm’s online store with product availability and managing the market revenue for all enterprises. Business takes on a public relations slant with the promotion of emerging products and the publication of a weekly electronic newsletter. But perhaps the most important experience this enterprise offers occurs at the BC Farms market stand Tuesdays and Fridays year-round, when students sell the products of their own labor: meat, produce, potted plants, flour, honey, and specialties such as bread, jam, pesto, and salsa. These processed products are developed by students who participate in the value-added internship, which has run for the last two summers and yields marketable foods from the farm’s raw products.

The office of sustainability, which is student run, but not student governed, provides as the base of operations for student initiated and student led sustainability outreach programs as guided by the staff sustainability coordinator. The above programs among others are encompassed in the 3600 annual hours worked by the team of 12 labor students at the office of sustainability.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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:

The Committee for Socially Responsible Investing is charged with helping to understand and develop investment strategies in light of the Great Commitments. Its responsibilities include:
Educating and informing the campus community about socially responsible investing, the community investment fund, and other issues pertaining to the management of the College’s endowment;
Evaluating the College’s investing practices through the endowment, to evaluate how and monitor that investing practices are aligned with the goals outlined in the Berea College Investment Policy;
Formulating recommendations to the President, Vice President for Finance, and the Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee pertaining to investments, strategy, and responsible and community investing issues;
Examining, in conjunction with the Board of Trustees and on-campus constituents, actual policies and practices pertaining to the investment of the endowment.
The Committee shall meet jointly, at least once per term, with the President and Vice President for Finance. The Committee shall choose a member to represent it as a guest at the invitation of the Chair of the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees.
The Committee will consist of eight members--two students appointed by SGA; two graduates of the College appointed by the Executive Council; two elected College Faculty Assembly members; and two elected General Faculty members who are not College Faculty members. Elected members serve staggered three-year terms and will be elected by the General Faculty Assembly.


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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:

Convocations are a required component of the curriculum for Berea College students. Sustainability is a regular topic for speakers in the convocation series.

Screening of documentaries with a focus on sustainability, partnering with other departments on campus, are scheduled several times a year and typically are accompanied by a panel discussion with the film akers when possible.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
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 24 Hour Theatre Project was a show that was produced by students in the span of 24 hours. All materials used in the show were from recycled materials..


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
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:

Annually a physical education course in Wilderness Exploration is offered, which includes Leave No Trace principles.
Description of the course and course materials are available to students through the student portal, but are not publicly accessible.

Outdoor Recreation -Student led organization designed to promote enjoyment of the outdoor experience and provide a hands-on approach to wilderness education. we strive to provide a meaningful medium for student engagement with a focus on increasing awareness & appreciation of the outdoors.


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:

Every first year student at Berea College is included in a First-year Residential Experience Supporting Health (FRESH) Start wellness program through the Student Life department. This program is based on eight dimensions of wellness, including that of Sustainability. Students are encouraged to participate in sustainability and wellness themed activities throughout their first year, and each residence hall competes for the Pinnacle Cup based on the number of students who participate in events and programs. (See link below and also: https://www.berea.edu/thrive/sustainable/)


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:


Home > Ecovillage > SENS House

Margaret S. Austin SENS House

“We hope it will demonstrate linkages to the local present and regional past and that it will do so in a way that is aesthetically beautiful, unconventional and ecologically thoughtful”

—SENS 386 class, spring '01

The Sustainability and Environmental Studies (SENS) House is an ecologically designed residential, demonstration and teaching facility constructed as part of the Berea College Ecovillage. The SENS House is largely self-reliant for energy, water and waste treatment, employing a wide range of technologies for energy conservation and production, water conservation, waste treatment and use of local materials in construction.

Four SENS students—the SENS House directors—live in the SENS House while developing and implementing educational programs in sustainable living and ecological design for the campus and community. The SENS house is open for scheduled for tours.

In addition, for non-traditional students, Berea College has founded the Eco Village to foster sustainable life skills in the home and as a community. Skills include recycling, composting, energy and water reduction, sustainable landskaping, gardening and self-sustaining food production (edible landscape), as well as many community building skills to unify the village.


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

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

Through the Sustainability and Environmental Science, Operations and Sustainability, Recycling, Facilities Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Office of Sustainability, and Forestry departments students have the opportunity to take on sustainability related employment and pursue their interests in more specific areas of sustainability.


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?:
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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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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.