Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.47
Liaison Ian Johnson
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Colorado College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Ian Johnson
Sustainability Director
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:

EnAct (self-governed)
EnAct, the oldest student group on campus, began after Earth Day 1970 and was influenced by the Colorado Springs Ecology Action group. EnAct serves as a forum to raise environmental and social awareness through research, education, and action at CC and within the Colorado Springs community. EnAct is student-governed and is an umbrella under which students can organize and pursue the environmental and social justice projects they value. In the past, EnAct projects have included Earth Day/Week, developing the college's present recycling program, taking trips to research regional environmental issues, presenting speakers and slideshows to educate students on current environmental issues, instituting the Timothy Linnemann Memorial Lecture on the Environment, running the Swap-Space on campus, which is a place for students to donate and take items, collecting compost from off-campus students, and volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Field Institute and other organizations for cleanups and trail maintenance. EnAct is open to all people with an interest in the environment.

Student Green Investments (self-governed)
The Student Green Investment Committee (SGIC) is a recreation of CC’s previous Divest Club, who advocated for the divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry. The Student Green Investment Committee has been rebooted this year in hopes of more realistically aligning Colorado College’s mission for sustainability with its investments and continues to demonstrate solidarity with marginalized communities fighting for climate change. The Student Green Investment Committee is working on bettering their relationship with the student Investment Club to continue the conversation on green investing among the student body as well as with administration. The SGIC submits proxy votes with sustainability in mind on JW Bristol’s holdings of the college endowment.

Climate Reality Project (self-governed)
The Climate Reality Project is a national organization dedicated to training climate leaders. Our CC branch has the mission to form a city-wide coalition between Colorado College and the Colorado Springs community to combat both local and global issues relating to the realities of climate change.

COOL Science
We aim to make science more accessible to underprivileged kids and kids in general. We host the Big COOL Science Festival every year in April, hosting over 3000 people on campus for the event. The event is our way of directly engaging with the larger Colorado Springs community. Throughout the year we focus on tutoring science to underprivileged or at-risk elementary and middle school students. Science is supposed to be fun, not scary!

CC Bike Co-op (self-governed)
Started by students in 2008, the Bicycle Cooperative’s goals are to empower members of the Colorado College community to maintain and repair their own bicycles by offering instruction and a workspace complete with a full inventory of repair stands, tools, and spare parts. Beginning in 2011, the Co-op began working alongside Outdoor Education and Campus Safety to better address the needs of the Colorado College community. Now officially an organization under the Outdoor Education umbrella, the Co-op is staffed by five part-time student mechanics. The Co-op processes bicycles abandoned on campus and collected by Campus Safety, refurbishing those fit for riding and recycling the rest. The refurbished bicycles are sold at affordable prices at an annual Bike Auction, during which the Co-op works closely with Campus Safety to ensure that all bicycles are purchased with a U-Lock in an effort to reduce bicycle-theft. Services offered at the Co-op range from flat tire repair to full bicycle rebuilds, but all share the common thread of experiential learning. Student mechanics strive to not only repair bikes, but to work alongside students, faculty and staff, ensuring that they are participating in and understanding the repair in order to help foster a more sustainable bicycle culture on the Colorado College Campus.

Food Coalition (student-governed)
The Food Coalition hopes to bring together the knowledge, energy, and ideas of CC students interested in food justice and food-related issues both on and off campus. The Coalition acts as a link between groups and individuals on campus, and between students and Colorado Springs community partners by providing the resources and support for organized networking. Both the Office of Sustainability (OoS) and the Collaborative oversee it for Community Engagement (CCE). The coalition employs a Collective Impact model of collaboration with the CCE acting as the group's "backbone support." In October of 2013, to celebrate National Food Day, the Coalition brought together CC students, community members, and representatives from local businesses and organizations to discuss the local food movement and to explore opportunities for partnership and collaboration. Since then, the Coalition has continued to unite its efforts to make a sustained impact in the community. Food Coalition groups include the CC Farm, the CC Greenhouse, the Carnivore Club, the Good Food Club, Colorado Springs Food Rescue, the Palate Project, and the SOUP Project at the Community Kitchen.

Food to Power (student-governed)
Founded in 2013, Food to Power is a student-founded organization that collects food perishables and buffet leftovers seven days a week and uses bike trailers to transport the food to charities and non-profits that serve at-risk or hungry individuals. They now rescue around 25,000 pounds of food a month from 30 different businesses in the area.

The mission of our group is to create a network and community of Colorado College women in the hard science, technology, engineering, and math fields. We hope to unite the women in STEM not only to foster a sense of unity but also to inspire younger women to continue pursuing the STEM fields. We achieve this through informal mentorships between upper and underclassmen, and working with local middle and lower school age girls.

Sunrise Movement
We are a political action group dedicated to cultivating political awareness and action for climate justice by both acting locally and coordinating nationally. Come join the movement!

Website URL:

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 new greenhouse is carefully designed as a passive solar system that maximizes the heat capacity of the sun during cold Colorado winters, and employs passive ventilation during the summer to create a hospitable growing climate year round. Water barrels along the north wall provide crucial insulation by absorbing heat during the day and releasing that heat throughout the night, keeping the internal temperatures steady. It is a student-run space maintained through the collaboration of the CC Farm and the Synergy Houses. The greenhouse is home to radishes, beets, turnips, carrots, lettuce, chard, kale, beans, peas, onions, scallions, tomatoes, basil, thyme, spinach, cilantro, and melons. The food is split between the Synergy community and the CC Farm Synergy House Garden.

Synergy Garden
The Synergy House includes an organic garden in the backyard that is tended by its inhabitants. The garden is harvested in the fall, and its produce is shared with the CC community. The Synergy House garden is self-governed.

CC Farm
Students created the CC Farm on campus in Spring 2008. Produce from the 1.3 acre organic permaculture garden is sold to Bon Appétit, the college’s food services provider, and at local farmers markets. In addition to a wide variety of vegetables, the CC gardeners raise apples, cherries, peaches, plums, and apricots in a small orchard, raspberries, wildflowers. The CC Farm is self-governed and is run by the CC Farm Club. The farm is in the process of being restarted, but it has not been full functioning since 2017.

Website URL:

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:

Sacred Grounds Tea House is a student-led late-night gathering space that creates a warm, welcoming environment for the CC community from 9pm-1am. Open mic nights performances, poetry readings and creative social gatherings appeal to the CC community. Sacred Grounds is a sub-free venue and a student study space. Sacred Grounds is CC’s student-governed, sustainable, socially responsible, fair trade and organic coffee house. It is located in the basement of Shove Chapel.

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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 Campus Sustainability Council designated an Investments Subcommittee in the fall of 2015 to investigate sustainable investment at Colorado College. This committee is aimed at investigating Portfolio 21 and other SRI and environmentally responsible funds with the hopes of investing council funds or school funds in these portfolios. This subcommittee is also proxy voting for companies of which the school is a shareholder. Both of these actions are the beginning steps to moving towards total sustainable investment in the future. The subcommittee is made of staff and students. This collaborative effort led to the creation of the Student Green Investments team which is outlined below:

Student Green Investments (self-governed)
The Student Green Investment Committee (SGIC) is a recreation of CC’s previous Divest club, who advocated for the divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry. The Student Green Investment Committee has been rebooted this year in hopes of more realistically aligning Colorado College’s mission for sustainability with its investments and continues to demonstrate solidarity with marginalized communities fighting for climate change. The Student Green Investment Committee is working on bettering their relationship with the student Investment Club to continue the conversation on green investing among the student body as well as with administration. The SGIC submits proxy votes with sustainability in mind on JW Bristol’s holdings of the college endowment.

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:

Seminars and lectures are offered to the campus community on issues related to sustainability through the Linneman lecture series, the Environmental Program, Enact Environmental Club and the State of the Rockies Project.

On every first monday of the new blocks at Colorado College the school brings in a speaker for the entire student body. In fall of 2017, Anthony Leiserowitz, a professor at Yale University, came and spoke to the student body about Climate Change Communication.

Colorado College celebrates Earth Day on a yearly basis with an entire week of environmentally-focused activities. Typically, events include speaker presentations, volunteer opportunities and films.

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:

As a celebration of the end of Recyclemania, the Office of Sustainability hosted a showcase of student art made of recycled, reused and upcycled material. The Office of Sustainability has also teamed up with the Photography club to put on a sustainable photo gala. All students have the opportunity to submit photos to the photo club that fit a sustainable theme.

The institution also recently bought the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center which hosts many different cultural arts events. For instance, the Fine Arts Center has hosted two exhibits that are focused on sustainability. The FAC hosted an exhibit by artist Christine Sandoval Howard entitled “Channel”. It focused on water scarcity and management in the American Southwest, and explored how acequias are critical and historical components for the various cultures in the region. The exhibit ran from March through October, 2019. The FAC also had an exhibit “Balance in Action: Audubon from an Artist’s Perspective” which focused on sustainability challenges of wildlife, birds, and nature in general. The exhibition ran from August through November, 2018.

CC students and classes have been to the FAC in private groups to study and learn about the art on display.

Website URL:

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 Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC) offers student led outdoor activities that include group hiking, camping, backpacking, canyoneering, cross-country skiing, back-country skiing, cycling, kayaking, ice climbing and rock climbing. Student leaders are trained to follow Leave No Trace principles.

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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:

There are numerous study-abraod opportunities for students to participate in sustainability-related semesters including: HECUA Environmental Sustainability Semester: Science, Public Policy, and Community Action, and Agriculture and Justice Semester: Building a Sustainable Food System in Minneapolis, HECUA Culture and the Environment: A Shared Future in New Zealand, SEA Semester: Oceans and Climate, Frontiers Abroad in New Zealand: Earth systems or Geology semester, Earth and Environment in Italy semester, ACM Costa Rica: Field Research in the Environment, Social Science, and Humanities semester, ACM Tanzania: Ecology and Human Origins semester, ACM Oak Ridge Science Semester, SIT Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management, Comparative Wildlife Management Semester in Tanzania and Kenya, ISDSI: People, Ecology, and Development semester in Thailand, DIS Copenhagen: Environmental Science of the Arctic, Sustainability in Europe tracks, International Environment and Development semester in Washington, Tropical Ecology at Boston University Ecuador, CIEE Bonaire: Tropical Marine Ecology, TREE Semester: Environmental Education at the Catamount Institute in Pike National Forest.

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:

Students can learn sustainable life skills by living in one of the two Synergy houses. Students inhabiting one of the two "Synergy" houses on campus learn to incorporate sustainable practices into their daily lives while teaching these techniques to the larger Colorado College community. Students in Synergy operate a backyard permaculture garden, use gray water from sinks and showers to run toilets, and invite the campus community over for a monthly potluck and an opportunity to learn more about green living.

Website URL:

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

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

Office of Sustainability Intern
The Office of Sustainability offers eight to nine paid student internship positions. Interns collaborate with the Sustainability Manager and take on projects that mobilize campus sustainability efforts.

Student Life and Leadership Intern:
The Colorado College ECO-RA program, supported by the Sustainability Office, promotes peer-to-peer education to foster sustainable living practices on and off campus. All residential areas, including large residence halls, apartments, smaller campus houses and off-campus areas are served by one or more student ECO-RAs. Selected ECO-RAs educate locally in their respective residential spaces, through formal and informal programming, marketing materials, and events. In addition, ECO-RAs implement conservation measures in their residential areas. Examples of activities include monitoring and reporting on energy and water use, identifying opportunities to minimize paper waste, coordinating CFL lightbulb exchanges, and supporting material reuse & recycling. ECO-RAs also participate collectively in campus-wide initiatives such as Recyclemania and Campus Conservation Nationals. Stipends for ECO-RAs are $50 per block, with additional funds available to support programming.

Impact Awareness & Project Planner: Creates a Measurable Impacts Report based on previous year's data collection to implement strategic changes to the CC campus, targeting areas of the STARS report to reach our Platinum goal.

STARS®: Works to collect and report data for the STARS report. STARS is the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System, administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). It is a comprehensive, self-reporting metric that rates institutions across broad sustainability efforts.

Marketing: Assists with all marketing and promotional materials to educate and inform the CC community about sustainability programs, events, and initiatives. This position works with the Communications Office to put out blockly newsletters to the entire campus and maintains the office's social media presence. We currently do not have an intern for this position due to covid, but we anticipate to fill this position soon.

Greenhouse Gas Inventory: Leads the collection, organization, and calculation of CC's annual greenhouse gas emissions. This position works to track CC's progress in lowering our overall emissions utilizing SIMAP, which is an online calculator to assist in converting emission sources into equivalent metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Student Life & Leadership: Works to engage student life and leadership across campus. Focused on bringing sustainability issues to the forefront of Residential Life discussions.

Green Programs: Works to expand existing Green Programs, which include, but are not limited to Green Office, Green Room, Green Events, and Course Designation and Catalog Collection. This position heavily collaborates with other Interns as it relates to their spheres, growing and tracking the progress of each program.

Waste Programming & Outreach: Leads waste efforts across campus to decrease the amount of waste generated on campus and increase current rates of waste diversion by overseeing several waste programs in the Office of Sustainability.

Community Engagement: Engages with off campus community partners, other Higher Education Institutions, and the Collaborative for Community Engagement (CCE) to develop and maintain relationships based on sustainability initiatives. We currently do not have an intern for this position due to covid, but we anticipate to fill this position soon.

Website URL:

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:

Colorado College offers a Community-Based Learning (CBL) program. Courses with a CBL notation include the intention of equipping students with the skills, knowledge, and experience to exercise influence toward social, cultural, environmental, or civic outcomes that benefit the common good. This applies whether the impact is immediate or deferred.

Additional documentation to support the submission:

A consolidated pdf of sustainability/environmental science themed semesters titled "Environmental Studies Off- Campus" is available through inquiry into the study abroad office and the Assistant-Director of Off-Campus Study, Heather Browne.

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.