Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 83.20
Liaison Mina Amundsen
Submission Date Nov. 5, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Colby College
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Sandy Beauregard
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

The Strategic Plan aims to increase the size and scope of the Environmental Studies Department and to improve the greening of the campus grounds. In regards to expansion, the College's Green Building Standards provide a process in order to identify, evaluate and implement sound green building strategies. With the new President, the College will undergo an update to its Master Plan. The Colby College Student Handbook states: "Campus Sustainability and Resource Conservation
Colby is committed to nurturing environmental awareness through its academic program as well as through its activities on campus and beyond. As a local and global environmental citizen, the College adheres to the core values of respect for the environment and sustainable living. Colby seeks to lead by example and fosters morally responsible environmental stewardship. Environmentally safe practices inform and guide campus strategic planning, decision making, and daily operations. We urge community members to recognize personal and institutional responsibilities for reducing impact on the local and global environment. Finally, we recognize that achieving environmental sustainability will be an ongoing challenge that evolves as we become more aware and educated as a community."


A copy of the strategic plan:
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The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the sustainability plan:
The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College went through a Strategic Planning Process, where sustainability was recognized as an official priority of the Institution in 2000. Since then, the College has been implementing the Strategic Plan into the Curriculum in a number of ways. One example is to reinforce the depth and quality of the Environmental Studies Program and the Environmental Science concentrations in Biology, Chemistry, and Geology, and, as an integral part of this effort, commit the College to the development of a sustainable campus greening initiative. The Sustainability Action Plan establishes a goal to:
o Expand curricular offerings in environment/sustainability across campus disciplines.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:

o Create more experiential opportunities in the local environment through existing campus partners such as the Buck Environment and Climate Change Lab and Bigelow Labs. Explore opportunities to develop additional partnerships that would provide experiential learning.
o Increase opportunities for global involvement in environmental studies and practice by promoting off-campus study and research opportunities through DavisConnects.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Engagement Plan is in the process of being implemented. The main focus of the plan is to find ways to engage the larger campus community in sustainability activities through action and conversation. The Environmental Literacy assessment is one method the Office of Sustainability is going to track progress within the student population. The Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:
o Create more opportunities to use the campus as a living laboratory through increased collaboration between Facilities Services and faculty. Faculty and staff can work together to identify course projects that benefit campus operations and the academic mission.
o Continue to disseminate and analyze the Sustainability Literacy Assessment to graduating seniors and incoming students.
o Improve scores; compare respondents’ reported behavior to their sustainability literacy as measured by the survey.
o Administer survey to faculty and staff every two years.
o Review and revise the survey every two years to ensure it remains relevant and captures useful information.
o Provide sustainability-focused training to Colby faculty and staff; integrate a presentation summarizing Colby’s sustainability commitments during new staff orientation.
o Engage additional offices in the Green Office Certification program and increase certification level of the existing four certified offices.
o Develop and implement a Green Labs program that addresses energy conservation, water conservation, chemical use and disposal, materials management, and training for lab users on sustainable practices.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Academically, the objectives and strategies for Public Engagement are included in the College's Strategic Plan. As the Office of Sustainability was formed last year, the Public Engagement plan is still being developed. Additionally, the Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:
o Create more experiential opportunities in the local environment through existing campus partners such as the Buck Environment and Climate Change Lab and Bigelow Labs. Explore opportunities to develop additional partnerships that would provide experiential learning.
o Increase opportunities for global involvement in environmental studies and practice by promoting off-campus study and research opportunities through DavisConnects.
o Increase sustainability-related civic engagement activities and identify additional partners and opportunities for civic engagement.
o Create more opportunities to use the campus as a living laboratory through increased collaboration between Facilities Services and faculty. Faculty and staff can work together to identify course projects that benefit campus operations and the academic mission.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The major goal the College set to advance sustainability in Air and Climate was to reach Carbon Neutrality by 2015, which the College achieved in 2013. This goal is outlined in the College's Climate Action Plan which was published in 2010. Other goals from the Climate Action Plan include:

o Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 41 percent from current levels by 2015 through
improvements in campus operations, energy conservation investments including
construction of a biomass plant, and reduced consumption.
o Achieve carbon neutrality by 2015 through the actions described above and the purchase
of carbon offsets.
o Maximize efficient use of existing campus facilities, minimize new campus development,
and operate facilities as efficiently and sustainably as possible.
o Design necessary new facilities to achieve, at a minimum, Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) “silver” standard and apply LEED principles in major
renovations of existing facilities.
o Maintain and enhance College operations in addition to facilities to reduce environmental
impact (e.g., local purchasing, waste minimization, recycling).
o Develop aggressive education and outreach programs to raise environmental awareness
and increase personal responsibility for sustainable living among students, faculty, and
staff. Provide administrative and financial resources to support sustainability programs.
o Enhance environmental educational opportunities that further integrate sustainability in
the curriculum and use the campus as a living laboratory for faculty and students.

Additionally, the Sustainability Action Plan establishes a goal to:

o Identify the most appropriate way to incorporate forest carbon sequestration in our carbon accounting.
o Reduce the total amount of carbon offsets purchased by reducing campus emissions


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:

o Develop and implement a program that will recommission existing buildings to ensure they operate optimally and continue to meet changing programmatic needs.
o Align preventive maintenance (PM) with LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations + Maintenance (LEED O+M) standards.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:
o Using fiscal 2013-14 as the baseline, remain neutral in terms of energy use through fiscal 2021-22. Review progress on an annual basis.
o Develop a comprehensive campus energy master plan that will quantify long-term energy savings potential and provide a framework for meeting future energy needs while remaining carbon neutral.
o Evaluate electricity demand reduction strategies including load management and energy storage.
o Evaluate opportunities for additional solar energy, either through on-site solar or an additional power purchase agreement.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:

o 20 percent of food and beverage expenditures should be locally sourced or certified under a third-party verification program.
o Implement a food waste tracking system in the dining hall and catering kitchens. These systems help kitchen staff optimize the amount of food produced and reduce pre-consumer food waste. Use this information to establish food waste reduction goals.
o Evaluate options for professional management of the Colby Organic Garden to improve yields, provide more food from the garden to the dining halls, better plan the garden, rotate crops appropriately, and expand educational outcomes.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:
o Develop a snow and ice removal policy that is compliant with LEED O+M
o Create bioswales as appropriate that help with stormwater management and will hold snow. This helps manage the spring melt and reduces the height of snowbanks during the winter.
o Select native plant species that thrive in the local environment and support biodiversity.
o Create a campus tree inventory using the USDA Forest Service’s i-Tree or similar software that quantifies the benefits of campus trees including carbon sequestration, stormwater management, and building energy use reduction.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

When evaluating preferred vendors, Colby first identifies and solicits local vendors in order to procure local products and support local businesses. As a result of this evaluation process, about 30% of the College's purchases are from local businesses. Additionally, the Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:

o Evaluate the opportunity to align on-going consumables, furniture, and computer purchases with LEED O+M standards.
o Create furniture purchasing guidance for the campus community.
o Continue best practices in IT for computer sourcing.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:
o Using GIS, maintain a map of bike friendly routes on campus and connecting trail networks both on and off campus. Overlay campus paths with ADA data and perform an analysis to improve accessibility.
o Simplify and streamline the current bike share program and replace all bike racks in poor condition. Locate bike racks to be visible and functional.
o Provide shower facilities in all new construction and major renovations to promote commuting to campus via bike or walking.
o Develop an incentive program to encourage students, staff, and faculty to use alternative modes of transportation to get to campus.
o Based on the results of the student and employee commuter survey, identify transportation methods in need of improvement in terms of accessibility and the expansion to downtown Waterville. Evaluate expanding the current shuttle program and opportunities for partnerships with KVCAP or the Kennebec Explorer.
o Replace vehicles that have reached the end of their useful life with more efficient models.
o Replace gas utility vehicles that have reached the end of their useful life with electric models.
o Identify users that can accomplish their work using smaller hybrid or electric vehicles.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Through a combination of waste audits, participation in RecycleMania, and greenhouse gas accounting, the College continues to measure and identify ways to reduce their waste contributions. Additionally, the Sustainability Action Plan establishes a goal to:
o Become a zero-waste campus (90 percent+ diversion rate).


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:

o Use EPA WaterSense labeled fixtures in new construction and renovations.
o Meter and track potable water use at the building level to inform water conservation strategies.
o Renew campus landscape to act as green infrastructure across campus to retain, filter and reuse rain and stormwater.
o Calculate a natural water balance for the campus to assess the sustainability of our water withdrawals. Compare water use to a water budget based on precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, and campus/watershed area.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College continually measures and reports on the Diversity of the applicant pool and student body. From the Campus Climate Committee, which is working to comprehensive set of recommendations for improving inclusion and equity across campus:
o Improve data collection. In order to measure progress and understand patterns
relevant to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community, develop and maintain a much more extensive and intentionally designed repository of reliable data and analysis.
o Establish a structured, adequately resourced mechanism for carrying out diversity,
equity, and inclusion work and for ensuring accountability.
o Target fund-raising efforts to specific projects to ensure diversity, inclusion, and equity, for financial aid, study abroad, unpaid internships, assistive technologies, etc--
1. Created a mechanism for alumni to contribute financially directly to the Pugh Center.
2. Established DavisConnects to increase access to internships, research opportunities,
and global opportunities
o Ensure that all Colby facilities and programs are fully and equitably accessible to
all.
o Recruit, admit, enroll, and retain the most talented and accomplished students
from varied backgrounds. Our broad goal is to reach the top third of NESCAC schools in the next 5-10 years with regard to the inclusion of historically under-represented groups.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Colby is committed to create a sustainable economy in Waterville and a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown district. Strategic investments in the community are intended to catalyze job creation and revitalize the area.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Action Plan establishes goals to:
o Continue campus-wide LEED compliant Green Cleaning Program. Review the policy annually to ensure the program continues to meet standards.
o Source Green Seal items for all products except for disinfectant; identify and evaluate green-certified floor finish products.
o Achieve a minimum 90 percent purchase rate of green cleaning products.
o Promote Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and provide educational programming to help students, faculty, and staff use all of the produce.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
Yes

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

Campus Sustainability and Resource Conservation
Colby is committed to nurturing environmental awareness through its academic program as well as through its activities on campus and beyond. As a local and global environmental citizen, the College adheres to the core values of respect for the environment and sustainable living. Colby seeks to lead by example and fosters morally responsible environmental stewardship. Environmentally safe practices inform and guide campus strategic planning, decision making, and daily operations. We urge community members to recognize personal and institutional responsibilities for reducing impact on the local and global environment. Finally, we recognize that achieving environmental sustainability will be an ongoing challenge that evolves as we become more aware and educated as a community.


The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):

Sustainability is defined as the ability to meet society’s current needs without compromising the environmental health and needs of future generations. It is a prudent approach to resource use that recognizes the interconnections of social, economic, and environmental systems and earth’s finite capacity to satisfy human needs and desires.


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
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:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The College does not publicly distribute the strategic plan. In lieu of uploading or linking to the strategic plan, I have linked to the student handbook, which identifies sustainability as a core value of the College and states that: "Environmentally safe practices inform and guide campus strategic planning, decision making, and daily operations."

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.