Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.71
Liaison Keisha Payson
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Bowdoin College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.75 / 2.00 Keisha Payson
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainable Bowdoin
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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:

While the Sustainability Office does not have a formal relationship with these clubs, there is frequent collaboration to organize or promote events that center around sustainability on campus and beyond. Often, the membership and activity of each club varies slightly each semester, depending on the vibrancy of its student leadership.

-Bowdoin Climate Action: explores and advocates for progressive and climate-friendly policy in Maine and on the national level.
-Bowdoin Food Co-op: monthly community cooking and dining club, focusing on the importance of food-awareness and community spirit.
-Bowdoin Naturalists: newly formed club as of 2018. Members take frequent field trips to local woods and waters to learn about the nearby flora and fauna.
-Bowdoin Organic Garden: supports the Garden staff to provide extremely local organic produce to the Dining halls, brings speakers to campus in the off-season, and organizes regular discussion of sustainable food systems.
-Bowdoin Outdoor Volunteer Association: formed spring 2017 to allow students to volunteer regularly with local land trusts and public trails.
-Bowdoin Outing Club: largest club on campus, helps students becomes responsible, aware, confident outdoors people. Strong focus on Leave No Trace principles, and on making the outdoors accessible to all.
-Coalition for Expanding the Reach of Earth Science: A student-led community of scientists, allies, and leaders interested in facilitating conversation about how Earth science interacts with daily life.
-Food Forward: works with Dining Services to preserve and transport excess food to local food pantries and social service organizations.
-Green Bowdoin: works with all green groups on campus to create effective, interesting, fun programs that celebrate the environment and work to mitigate damage to the planet.
-Green Athletics: a sub-club of Green Bowdoin, focuses on reducing the environmental impacts of sports through team challenges, collaborations with team parents, etc.
-Plant-Powered Polar Bears: Weekly vegan community eating club.
-Yellow Bike Club: Maintains a fleet of yellow bikes for students to rent per semester and supports a bikeable campus.


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:

The Bowdoin Organic Garden is operated by the college's dining service and includes a year-round garden manager and part-time personnel, student employees, and volunteers. In addition to growing produce for consumption in the College's dining halls, it provides research opportunities for the faculty, and agricultural experiences and events for the greater College community. The garden is located on two plots of land on campus at the corner of South Street and Coffin Street, and at 52 Harpswell Road. The Harpswell Road property, which is located roughly a five minute walk from the center of campus, includes a half-acre of growing space and an historic barn. The property was acquired in 2014 and has been developed utilizing principles of sustainable landscaping, including rain water collection and composting. The proximity to campus and larger, on-site storage of the barn has greatly improved efficiency and provides an identifiable home for the garden, as well as washing, storage, and processing capacity within the barn. In Spring 2018, the BOG installed a 576 square foot greenhouse/growing tunnel at the Harpswell Road site, extending and expediting the growing season, which allows for more student involvement during the academic year. As of 2018, all outdoor growing space of the garden is certified organic by Maine Organic Farmers & Gardener's Association. The greenhouse has not been certified organic as nothing is planted in the ground, but is approved as part of an organic growing operation.


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:

The Environmental Studies department organizes a weekly lunch discussion series called EnviroLunches in which they bring in a speaker, from campus or beyond, to discuss issues of sustainability and environmentalism from a wide variety of local angles. Each of the many "green" groups on campus creates programming--including guest speakers and lecturers--that focus on aspects of sustainability and have students as the intended audience, but there is no core concentrated series of this programming. In 2018, the Sustainability Office and the Office of Spiritual Life collaborated on bringing several eco-activist Catholic nuns to campus to speak with students about the intersection of their religious faith and their environmental ethics, for example. The Native American Student Association, the Special Archives Collection, and the Arctic Museum collaborated in 2018 to have a film/discussion about Native American land rights and history on campus, and in 2019, the Bowdoin Outing Club is bringing Carolyn Finney to campus to speak about the experience of Black Americans in America's wild, public lands and environmentalism. These events happen and broaden the campus discussion and definitions of sustainability, but are not a coordinated series. Similar to the cultural offerings etc. discussed below, these events relate to sustainability through the UN Sustainable Development Goals of Quality Education, Reduced Inequalities, Climate Action, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.


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:

This year, the Outing Club hosted a screening of the documentary, An American Ascent, addressing the lack of diversity in the outdoors. A screening of An Inconvenient Truth, as well as its sequel were organized by an EcoRep as well.

The Bowdoin College Museum of Art hosted the exhibit "Made in Maine" from May to August 2018, of works depicting Maine's beautiful natural landscapes. In addition, it hosted an exhibit called "Art from the Northern Plains" from November 2017 to July 2018, containing native Lakota drawings depicting their relationship with their natural environment and the US government. From December 2018 to June 2019 the museum is hosting the exhibit "Material Resources: Intersections of Art and the Environment". This exhibition explores the intersections of art and the environment with works drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection. Featuring objects from antiquity to today, "Material Resources: Intersections of Art and the Environment" examines artists’ dependence on Earth’s material resources, while presenting art as an integral “material” resource in the study of the environment.

The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum on campus houses an extensive permanent collection and several focused exhibits each year that highlight the delicacy of the Arctic ecosystem, the history of Bowdoin's involvement, and what ongoing research is done in this fragile environment. One of the permanent displays is an Arctic ice core; another is a narwhal tusk. Significant effort is taken to highlight the lives of local Arctic peoples, including their invaluable contributions to Peary, MacMillan, and other outside explorers of the region, and to tell the stories of the Arctic through the eyes of the native peoples, rather than the traditional story of white men "discovering" new regions. Attention is also given to the Black explorer Matthew Henson who was with Peary every step of the way to the North Pole. Similar to the lectures discussed above, of these cultural events and offerings relate to sustainability through the UN Sustainable Development Goals of Quality Education, Reduced Inequalities, Climate Action, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.


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:

The Bowdoin College Outing Club is an organization that provides opportunities for backpacking, kayaking, rafting, skiing, and climbing trips, among others. Students who undergo training to lead trips participate in Leave No Trace discussions and training. Students who go on the trips themselves are also taught to make minimal environmental impact. The Outing Club also organizes a significant number of first-year orientation trips, many of which have a focus on natural environment appreciation, and follow Leave No Trace principles. The 153 student leaders of these Orientation trips are all trained in LNT practices so that they can teach the incoming students these skills from their first moments at Bowdoin.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
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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)?:
No

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

The Bowdoin College Outing Club teaches students participating in Leadership Training about Leave No Trace principles when living outdoors to maintain the health of the natural environments they're exploring, including training 153 Orientation Trip leaders to practice and showcase LNT behaviors from the students first moments of their orientation trips.

The Bowdoin Organic Garden Club hosts a large variety of events, from organic farm field trips and maple tree tapping and shiitake inoculating to learn more about ways to garden and eat sustainably.

The Bowdoin Food Co-op provides students with a space to explore cooking for larger groups of people with sustainably-sourced ingredients.

The Bowdoin Yellow Bike Club also provides students with bikes to travel around campus with a lower carbon footprint and hosts workshops teaching students how to repair and maintain bikes.


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 Sustainability hires 32 students every year to work as Eco Reps in the residence halls and apartment complexes as well as work on projects like climate action planning in the office. The Environmental Studies department also hires 1-2 students throughout the academic year to help with planning the Enviro Lunch series. In addition, the Environmental Studies Program also provides fellowship funds for about 8-10 students to intern with a local environmental or sustainability oriented organization. The Bowdoin Organic Garden hires 2 students each summer to work in the garden throughout the summer. Finally, various academic departments and facilities hire students throughout the summer as well as during the academic year to work as vivarium technicians or in grounds keeping, maintaining the health of the college's natural environment. The Outing Club employs students seasonally for different leadership opportunities in getting the Bowdoin community out into the natural world in safe, responsible, enjoyable ways.


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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