Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.57
Liaison Noah Upchurch
Submission Date March 3, 2023

STARS v2.2

Catawba College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Noah Upchurch
Senior Sustainability Specialist
Center for the Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

The College maintains a number of active student groups that are focused on the many various elements of sustainability, ranging from engagement with natural conservation and the outdoors to explorations of social and economic justice. Of the current student groups, Environment Catawba Outreach, Catawba Outdoor Adventure, and the Environmental Student Union are best described as sustainability-focused, whereas many other student organizations are sustainability-inclusive.

Environment Catawba Outreach is a student group dedicated to educate and encourage the Catawba community and local area to participate in environmental stewardship, raise awareness about environmental issues and concerns, and help facilitate projects aiming to tackle sustainability challenges.

Catawba Outdoor Adventure provides organized hiking, camping, mountain biking, water sports, and visitation to sites of natural beauty for Catawba students. Overseen by the Lily Center for Vocation and Values, all programs adhere by Leave No Trace Principles.
(Catawba Outdoor Adventure is also listed below under Wilderness and Outdoor Programs)

The Environmental Student Union is a student collective that seeks to empower students that aspire to become environmental scientists, sustainability professionals, environmental activists, and other sustainability-related careers. The organization provides discussions on continuing environmental topics around campus and the classroom, while seeking to provide a connective space for students across the institution with an interest in environmentalism.

Information about most clubs and organizations at the College can be found online at https://catawba.edu/clubs/

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The College offers a course in Urban Agriculture, which includes the planning, development, and implementation of an urban garden as a class requirement. The College's campus features a greenhouse and urban community garden, which are elements of various coursework across Environment & Sustainability, Biology, and the "Chemistry of Food" course.
From the course's syllabus, the goal of the Urban Agriculture course is to provide students with an overview of sustainable urban agriculture with special emphasis on using an integrated systems approach. "The course examines the design, planning, and operation of agriculture systems relevant to urban environments—including backyard, vertical, rooftop, and community gardens, micro-farms, and food hubs and markets. Students will plan, develop, and implement an urban garden while learning the basic techniques necessary to cultivate and propagate food plants."

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

The College has maintained a green revolving fund since 2012, implementing socially, environmentally, and fiscally responsible projects around campus with the fund. One such successful project partnered Campus Dining Operations with Gallins Family Farm, which receives post-consumption compost from the dining hall. Student projects are selected based upon a calculated payback period and projected emissions reduction potential.

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

The College hosts EcoLunches, student-oriented lunches with environmental professionals and change-makers across various industries. Students in small groups are provided lunch and a chance to listen and interact with speakers. Recent EcoLunch guests include Ryan Miller, Founder of the North Carolina Building Performance Association, Scott Alexander of Eagle Solar & Light (a leading installer of solar photovoltaic panels in North Carolina), and Allie Thies, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Salisbury, North Carolina.

The College hosted the NC Clean AIRE "NC BREATHE" Conference in April 2022. NC BREATHE brings together students, faculty, and community stakeholders to discuss and begin addressing problems at the intersection of public health, equity, and climate change. Students from the College participated in a poster contest and show on health equity and climate change at the Conference.

Catawba College served as a host institution for the AASHE Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education in 2021 and 2022.

Relevant Links:

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

Alongside the College's partnership with the Muddy Sneakers, an award-winning North Carolina environmental education and youth engagement group, the College hosted a showing of the MountainFilm festival in January 2023 at campus' Hedrick Theatre. The event raised funds for the continued partnership between the College and Muddy Sneakers.

MountainFilm aims to promote content on the indomitable human spirit and humanity's connection to the outdoors and to inspire audiences through art and film.

The festival portrayed a selection of short films that depicted a range of topics, including low-intensity sea farming to fight climate change, the power of a skate park as a peacemaking tool across caste barriers in India, and the impact of a BIPOC mentorship camping program in the United States, among other films. The College provided 100 free tickets for students of the College.


Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

Catawba Outdoor Adventure provides organized hiking, camping, mountain biking, water sports, and visitation to sites of natural beauty for Catawba students. Overseen by the Lily Center for Vocation and Values, all programs adhere to Leave No Trace Principles.
(Also listed above under Student Organizations)

The College also offers a course every three years in the Honors Program titled "Finding Yourself on the Appalachian Trail". The Course Objectives state that, among other things, students will be able to "exhibit a fluency in the environmental principles of Leave No Trace." The class is paired with trips to and through sections of the Appalachian Trail.

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

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

The College includes Sustainability-Focused courses as First-Year Seminars to broaden the ability of first-semester students to participate in sustainability-related coursework early in their academic careers. During the past cycle, students collaborated between two courses, Science in the Crosshairs and Green Imagination, bringing together English and Science students on a trip to Highlands, North Carolina. The trip focused on outdoor excursions, practicing identification techniques with local ecological communities, and reading and reflecting on Heather White's One Green Thing.

More information can be found at https://catawba.edu/news/all-news/honors-trip-to-highlands/

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The College offers residence in an Environmental Living Learning Community. The Living Learning Community engages in various projects to improve their residence hall's energy and water efficiency and brainstorms project proposals to further sustainable living habits across the College.

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

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

The Center for the Environment provides work for students that help manage the Fred Stanback, Jr. Ecological Preserve, which is located directly behind the Center for the Environment Building on the College's campus. Students serve as Preserve Assistants and help to maintain trails, manage the upkeep and ecological health of the natural systems in the preserve, and work with the Staff Preserve Keeper on various projects and tasks.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

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