Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 77.56
Liaison John Pumilio
Submission Date Oct. 11, 2022

STARS v2.2

Colgate University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 John Pumilio
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability Office
"---" 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:

Beekeeping Club is one of many student groups at Colgate focused on issues of sustainability. The Beekeeping Club educates peers on the practice of beekeeping, environmental toxins and ecological impacts, and engaging students in sustainable practices. The group helps to raise awareness of Colony Collapse Disorder and encourages ecological stewardship.

Students for Environmental Action is a student group that promotes green initiatives at Colgate. Their mission is to educate and energize students about recycling, waste reduction, energy consumption reduction, and greater community issues. They plan activities such as a film series. Students for Environmental Action is Colgate's oldest environmental student group but is far from the only sustainability-focused student group.

Green Thumbs manages and promotes the Colgate Community Garden in order to provide local, student-produced, organic produce to the student community.

Democracy Matters is a non-partisan, campus-based national student organization that works to eliminate big private money from our political system. The Colgate chapter has focused on civic engagement and activism, and recently organized a trip to the People's Climate March.

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 Colgate Community Garden was launched in June 2010. Researched, funded, planted, and harvested by students, the garden now provides fresh vegetables and herbs to the campus dining services provider for all students to enjoy. Half of the garden's produce is donated to a local food cupboard. The rest of the bounty is sold to students, staff, faculty, Colgate Food Services, and local businesses.

The idea for the garden concept came when students from the ENST 480 class completed a feasibility report as a class project in 2009.

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:

Colgate's Thought Into Action program gives students the opportunity to take initiative and turn ideas into action.

The company, Fair Harbor (https://www.fairharborclothing.com/) is one example of many where ideas were turned into sustainable success stories. Fair Harbor was started by Jake '16 and Carolyn '19 Danehy, brother and sister. Fair Harbor uses recycled plastic bottles to make fashionable swim and beachwear. They also donate 5% of all our profits back to beaches to clean them up and remove plastic waste.

Good Nature Brewing is another student-run entrepreneurial success story started through the TIA program. Good Nature became one of New York State’s First Farm Breweries committed to sourcing the ingredients from neighboring farms. Good Nature goes a step further by making socially and environmentally conscious choices in every aspect of its business.

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 GRLF was officially launched in 2018 with an additional $800,000 contribution by the university to seed the fund. Colgate's newly created Green Revolving Loan Fund (GRLF) was specifically earmarked for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability projects that generate cost savings over time while reducing Colgate's carbon and ecological footprints. Savings are tracked and reinvested into the fund so the next round of sustainability projects can be financed. The GRLF grows over time because each investment is repaid in full plus 20 percent. The GRLF committee (a working group of the Sustainability Council) was formed to evaluate project proposals, determine which projects to fund, ensure that projects repay the GRLF from identified cost savings, and provide annual updates on the status of the fund and projects supported by the fund. The fund receives proposals from students and the broader Colgate community.

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:

Colgate holds an annual Green Summit to address campus sustainability initiatives and sustainability within a context outside of the Colgate community. In 2017, Colgate modified the format for its Green Summit to a panel discussion format. This panel provides a variety of perspectives on environmental issues from students, faculty, and outside speakers.

In addition, the Office of Sustainability, the Upstate Institute, and various departments host brown bag events on issues of sustainability and bring in speakers who address sustainable themes throughout the academic year.

One example includes this year's visit by Dr. Robin Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass.

Before COVID, Colgate University hosted the annual three-day State of New York Sustainability Conference in the fall of 2018. At that time, it was the largest attended conference with over 300 registered participants including over 80 student leaders from around the state.

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:

In May 2021, student Office of Sustainability interns created an art installation made up of and focused on promoting awareness about package waste on campus. During a sustainability event open to the entire campus, attendees were able to select a piece of package waste and paint it, before adding it to a larger collage. Additionally, all students who chose to contribute to this art piece were able to sign a pledge committing to reduce package waste, and affirm this by signing their name on the art piece. The art installation is now being displayed on campus.

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:

The mission of Colgate's Outdoor Ed is to provide the community with experiential opportunities which emphasize safety, environmental awareness, and technical skills, while promoting personal growth and group development through rediscovery of the natural world. Wilderness Adventure (WA) is a pre-orientation program at Colgate, in which over 125 first-year students come to campus early to make friends, learn about Colgate from upper-class student leaders, and use the outdoors to help students acclimate to Colgate, central New York, and life as a college student. Living and traveling with a small group of other first-year students and two or three highly trained leaders, students work together to hike, paddle, climb, cave, bike, or sail through Upstate New York wilderness.

All Wilderness Adventures students receive information about the seven Leave No Trace principles and are instructed on how to follow the principles as they travel and camp with care. Each WA student leader participates in a Leave No Trace awareness workshop during their training year before leading a WA trip.

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:

Colgate offers sustainability-themed pre-orientation and orientation programming, during which incoming first-year students and transfer students are introduced to Colgate's goals and philosophies as they relate to sustainability. Additionally, students are taught the basics of expected sustainable behaviors, such as recycling, waste management, and water and energy conservation.

The 2021 summer common reading book that all first year students have to read and submit an essay about prior to arriving at Colgate, is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return. First-year students will also discuss this book in their first year seminar class.

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:

Colgate University's Students for Environmental Action group hosts an annual series of sustainable living workshops titled "The Smart Consumption Workshop Series". This series of interactive workshops is open to the entire Colgate community, and each week focuses on a different topic. Covered topics include Slow Fashion, Sustainable Eating, Greening Your Bathroom, Sustainable Investing, and more.

Example: https://calendar.colgate.edu/event/smart_consumption_series_sustainable_investing#.YNoRWhGSnb0

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

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

Colgate's Office of Sustainability hires current students for internships specific to the field of sustainability. There are typically 13-16 interns each year. These interns are responsible for assisting in the design of sustainability programming, bringing in experts in sustainability-related fields for open lectures, and coordinating major events throughout the year.

The Shaw Wellness Institute also hires interns that focus on promoting the eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual, multicultural, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual.

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):

Beginning with the Class of 2022, Colgate students have made a pledge to commit to a just and sustainable world beyond graduation.

Colgate's Sustainability Graduation Pledge reads:
"As a graduate of Colgate University, I pledge to take into account the social and environmental impacts of my decisions, both personally and professionally. I realize that I have the ability to advance sustainability by influencing others in my community and in any organization I work for or with. For this reason, I commit to taking action and doing my part to create a more just and sustainable world."

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

- Each year students serve on Colgate University's Sustainability Council, and they are able to participate in key discussions and decisions such as the selection of carbon offset programs that Colgate decides to invest in.

- The student government has a sustainability liaison cabinet position which two students serve each semester.

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

Some data collected by Jaanvi Sachdeva '21

Some data collected by Jaanvi Sachdeva '21

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