Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Heather Albert-Knopp
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

College of the Atlantic
EN-2: Student Orientation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Heather Albert-Knopp
Dean of Admission
Office of Admission
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Are the following students provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability?:
Yes or No
First-year students Yes
Transfer students Yes
Entering graduate students Yes

Percentage of all entering (i.e. new) students (including transfers and graduate students) that are provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability (0-100):

A brief description of how sustainability is included prominently in new student orientation (including how multiple dimensions of sustainability are addressed):

Sustainability is included prominently in COA's orientation activities in several ways.

All incoming students are given a selection of readings on concepts in human ecology which explore how humans engage with their natural, social, and built environments. Students then participate in small group discussions facilitated by alumni, faculty, and staff to discuss ideas from the readings and apply them to their lives and studies. All new students attend a talk facilitated by COA President Darron Collins, faculty member Karen Waldron (literature, writing), and faculty member Dave Feldman (mathematics, physics), who discuss the interconnectedness of social, environmental, and economic problems and emphasize the central role that students must play in forging durable solutions to these problems and helping to make the world more just, peaceful, and sustainable.

All incoming students select from several short field trips designed to orient them to local environments, food systems, and cultural history. These trips vary each year, but recent examples include: a field ecology hike in Acadia National Park; a tour and volunteer shift at the college's organic farms; a visit to the Abbe Museum (focusing on local American-Indian history and culture); and a natural history and ornithology boat tour in Frenchman Bay aboard COA's research vessel MV Osprey. There is an extended campus tour which highlights the many green features of the campus including composting and heating systems, bicycle storage facilities, recycling facilities, the on-campus community gardens, etc.

During new student orientation staff and student workers host a sustainability-themed scavenger hunt. Incoming students spend several hours identifying key sustainability features on campus, such as recycling stations, solar arrays, composting toilets, bicycle-sharing and bicycle repair stations, and a central pellet boiler. They answer quiz-style questions at each stop on the scavenger hunt for a prize at the end. Also during orientation, they partake in an informal assessment to gauge their prior experience, knowledge, and interest in sustainability, including food systems, greenhouse gas emissions, energy, and more.

A strongly encouraged component of orientation at COA is the Outdoor Orientation Program (OOPs). This program consists of multi-day outdoor trips (kayaking, backpacking, sailing, hiking) where students are introduced to diverse Maine environments and Leave No Trace ethics. Approximately 80% of incoming students participate in OOPs trips.

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about 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.