Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 45.97
Liaison Tom Hartzell
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Calvin University
EN-1: Student Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Becki Simpson
Associate Dean of Residence Life
Residence Life
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Number of students enrolled for credit (headcount):

Total number of students enrolled for credit that are served (i.e. directly targeted) by a student peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program (avoid double-counting to the extent feasible):

Percentage of students served by a peer-to-peer educator program:

Name of the student educators program:
Sustainability Coordinators (for Residence Halls)

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount):

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities:

Sustainability Coordinators are volunteer peer educators who live in the residence halls and promote sustainability through formal educational programs and informal daily interactions. They are overseen by a paid student sustainability intern and the Director of Residence Life, Becki Simpson. The sustainability coordinators meet every week to plan programs and continue learning. One keynote program the SCs plan is Kill-a-watt, which is outlined below:

Kill-a-watt is a creation-care awareness program in the residence halls, during January. This initiative is structured as an inter-residence hall competition where students earn “Kill-a-watt points” for their hall by participating in program elements and decreasing their hall’s electricity. Student leaders partner with Calvin faculty and staff members, and community members to create rich educational experiences for our students during Kill-a-watt.

Kill-a-watt Desired Outcomes
• Students will explore connections between the Christian faith and environmental stewardship.
• Students will reflect on their lifestyle choices and how their choices impact others.
• Students will learn more about environmental stewardship, including specific issues such as: consumerism, wonder, sustainable agriculture, food justice, and pollution.
• Students will take small action steps towards changing their behaviors to become more sustainable, through the DREAM certification process and Lifestyle Challenges.

Kill-a-watt program elements:
Leadership training
- 250 student leaders attend a 1-hour leadership training, where they are trained in how to support the various elements of Kill-a-watt, and how to get their peers involved in the program.

Kick-off Event
• 300 students attend the Kill-a-watt Kickoff, which features a prominent speaker to learn importance of creation care, and to learn details about how they can get involved in the Kill-a-watt program. .

“DREAM” Certification (Dorm Room Environmental Awareness Movement)
• Students “DREAM certify” their rooms by taking an online assessment which evaluated the sustainability of their residence hall room and living routines. The survey addressed topics of recycling, energy use, plants, natural lighting, water use, material consumption, and environmental awareness.
• Students who earned enough points, according to the pre-assigned rubric, could receive a Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze certification emblem to hang on their door.

Lifestyle Challenges
• Students are challenged to try out new sustainable lifestyle habits for all of interim. Examples of “Lifestyle Challenges” are: becoming vegetarian, taking shorter showers, riding the bus, unplugging appliances when not in use, using cold water for laundry, or not using Styrofoam for the month.
• Challenges ranged from simple 1 and 5-point challenges, to more difficult 10, 20, and 30-point challenges.

Dining Hall Initiatives
• Dining hall bulletin boards displayed educational posters with information about non-meat protein sources. Dining Hall offered additional vegan and meatless options.

eARTh prize
Students entered their sustainable art projects into a public contest.

Creation Care Devotional Study
• Almost every residence hall floor participated in a devotional study that sought to cultivate awareness and attentiveness towards creation. The study was a modified selection of Lenten Devotions on creation care from the Christian Reformed Church of North America. A few days had been chosen for each week and paired with others days to create a two week study. The first week focused on practicing wonder in creation and God’s use of quiet places to speak with us. The second week targeted the “groaning of creation”, the issues the planet is currently facing and what we can do to be good stewards.

• Calvin students shared about intersections between faith & sustainability in their lives.

Residence Hall Events
• Each residence hall also planned one in-hall event, organized by each hall’s student leaders. Each leadership team received a Resource Guide, which contained ideas for interactive programs, documentaries, and potential guest speakers.
• In-Hall Programs included:
o Faculty lectures
o Plant-potting
o Documentaries/Movies
o Dumpster-diving info session

Other All-campus Collaborative Events
• Chasing Ice (Documentary showing, in collaboration with an interim class in which all first-year students enroll)

Electricity Usage
• Electricity usage was measured for each residence hall, scaled for occupancy, and compared to usage in previous months. Points were awarded based on how much each hall decreased its energy, compared to prior months.

Faculty/Staff Engagement
Students are encouraged to invite faculty and staff members to become honorary members of their residence hall’s Kill-a-watt team. Faculty and staff members participated in Lifestyle Challenges and attended events, earning double points for their honorary residence hall.

Kill-a-watt Finale
At final Kill-a-watt event, Sustainability Coordinators hosted a table where students could stop by and make their own sustainable shampoo and laundry detergent. These students also hosted a "clothing swap" at this same event, and announced the winners of the overall Kill-a-watt contest.

In addition to Kill-a-watt, the Sustainability Coordinators plan the following:
Grand River Clean-Up
In September, the Sustainability Coordinators and their friends participated in the annual Mayor’s Grand River Clean-up. We joined over one thousand people who volunteered to collect trash along the Grand River and Plaster Creek. We joined with the Environmental Stewardship Committee (the student ESC) and students from Calvin’s Creation Care floor to pick up trash along Plaster Creek, which was especially meaningful since Calvin is located in the Plaster Creek watershed. The day started and ended at a park along the Grand River downtown. Many of our team members biked together to the event.

Stewardship Worship Night
At some point during the year, the Sustainability Coordinators (SCs) teamed with their dorm Barnabas leadership team to create a dorm worship night centered on stewardship and wonder of God’s good creation. The SCs found verses, songs, poems, and prayers for the dorm worship. They put together a powerpoint presentation and went through it with their worship Barnabas team to make sure it would be timed appropriately and that the songs were all familiar for the dorm worship musicians. The event went well and was a great model for collaboration between various leadership groups on the CLC team. A total of about 300 students attended in the various halls.

Mad Farmer Food Fest
In May, the Mad Farmer Food Festival was held in KE as a celebration of the provision, joy, and gift of food. The goal of this even was to raise awareness of food issues from a faith perspective. We began with a devotion, which was followed by several breakout session offerings on the following topics: Roasting your own coffee beans, protecting the rights of migrant workers, dumpster diving and consumerism, and restoring hope through a local refugee farming program. About 200 people were in attendance. Lunch from a local businesses was available for a small fee and a full student band also played during the event. This program specifically targets the 500 students living in on-campus apartments, and sustainability coordinators from the apartments lead this event.

A brief description of how the student educators are selected:

Sustainability Coordinators apply online. After they apply, they have a one-on-one interview with the Director of Residence Life and/or the Sustainability Intern (paid student position). After interviews, the Director asks the applicant's Resident Direct for input on whether they would recommend this student, and then makes a hiring decision.

A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach:

Sustainability Coordinators arrive to campus a week before classes start, and have 20 hours of training. SCs participate in general leadership training to learn about intercultural competency, facilitation skills, being a good role model, and understanding how their work plays a role in the bigger picture of God's kingdom work. Then they attend sustainability-specific trainings. They go on a sustainability-focused tour of campus to learn about and see Calvin's green initiatives. They also hear from various faculty and staff members about various sustainability topics. In addition, they visit a few community organizations to learn about the sustainability work that is going on outside of Calvin. They participate in a few readings and end the week with an overnight retreat, focused on team-bonding, goal-setting, and reflection.

A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination):

The Residence Life Department covers most expenses for this program, including:
Time from the Director of Residence Life
Paid sustainability intern (5-8 hours/week average)
Honorariums for speakers
Printing costs for posters
Supplies for "Do it yourself Knight", for students to make their own shampoo and laundry soap
Partial costs of the "Mad Farmer Food Festival" event, including lunch and speaker honorariums. (Students also pay $5 to attend)

Name of the student educators program (2nd program):
Environmental Steward Coalition (ESC)

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (2nd program):

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):

The Environmental Stewardship Coalition (ESC) is a student organization on Calvin College’s campus dedicated to environmental awareness and action. We have biweekly meetings to discuss and learn about environmental issues in the world and our local community. ESC designs and distributes free mugs to all Calvin freshmen that provide discounts on drinks at on-campus stores and allow students to take out hot drinks from the dining halls. This CUPPS (Cannot Use Paper Plastic Styrofoam) mugs program urges students to reuse mugs instead of using plastic, paper, or Styrofoam cups. ESC also participates in environmental events in the community such as The Grand River Clean-Up, Plaster Creek Steward events, and film or lecture series by local environmental organizations (such as West Michigan Environmental Action Council). ESC tries to set up an environmental petition in partnership with a campaign every year. In the past, we have participated in a petition against Kellogg’s use of palm oil with Forest Heroes and raised signatures for several environmental initiatives involving reformation of Michigan laws and policies to become more sustainable for the environment. Besides social and political action toward environmental sustainability, ESC also volunteers at events for conservation and restoration efforts. Ultimately, ESC’s aim is to provide a welcoming atmosphere of environmentally concerned and passionate students and provide these students with the opportunities to take action and learn about issues in the world and our local community (Calvin College and the Grand Rapids area).

A brief description of how the student educators are selected (2nd program):

ESC student leaders volunteer and are accepted by previous student leaders who believe that the volunteer has participated and invested in ESC in the past and will inspire environmental awareness and action and be a good leader for the group.
ESC members are students of Calvin College who come to biweekly meetings and participate in events hosted by ESC. Members are not required to do anything; they participate out of their own will and passions to learn about and help environmental issues.

A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (2nd program):

ESC student leaders are required to maintain a budget and plan and coordinate events on-campus and in the community. Leaders are part of the Calvin College Student Organization Leadership and attend regular training meetings to learn general principles about leading, budgeting, organizing people.

A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination) (2nd program):

All funding for ESC comes from the Calvin College Student Organizations budget. Calvin College offers mostly free facilities for ESC events and meetings. Transportation to off-campus events are usually supplied by The Rapid, public bus system, biking, or car-pooling in members’ or leaders’ cars (gas money is compensated from our allotted budget). Calvin College offers free discount cards that cut down the cost of bus-fare if members have obtained the cards. Printing services provides quality printing for flyers and posters at a cheap price (costs covered by allotted budget).

Name of the student educators program (3rd program):

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (3rd program):

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (3rd program):

A brief description of how the student educators are selected (3rd program):

A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (3rd program):

A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination) (3rd program):

A brief description of all other student peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs, including the number of students served and how student educators are selected, trained, and supported by the institution:

Total number of hours student educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually (all programs):

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Sustainability Coordinator job description:

Kill-a-watt (program put on by Sustainability Coordinators)

Mad Farmer Food Fest (program put on by Sustainability Coordinators)

Environmental Stewardship Coalition (ESC)
All information about ESC was provided by student leader Stephanie Bradshaw

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.