Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date Aug. 29, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Columbia University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Allie Schwartz
Assistant Director, Planning and Outreach
Environmental Stewardship, Columbia University Facilities and Operations
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Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

Columbia Aquanauts: an interdisciplinary group of students at Columbia that share a common goal of creating sustainable solutions for global water resource management.

Columbia University Coalition for Sustainable Development (CUCSD): CUCSD aims to embrace the collective strength of students and professionals across campus to increase sustainability awareness and sustainable development impact, within Columbia University, locally and in the world at large.

Columbia CSA: This program through Roxbury Farm (Kinderhook, NY) allows students and community members to purchase a share of the farm.

Columbia EcoReps: A group of students working in partnership with Columbia’s Department of Housing and Dining in order to make Columbia’s campus more environmentally sustainable.

Columbia Journal of Environmental Law: a student-edited journal for environmental law scholarship, which publishes articles by scholars, practitioners, and students, as well as short-form online content.

Columbia Law School Environmental Law Society (ELS): ELS is an organization for students who are concerned about environmental issues and/or are interested in environmental careers. The group actively advocates for the curriculum to include environmental subjects, and its members promote environmental efforts at the Law School.

Columbia Students for Animal Protection: This group supports animal-friendly policies at Columbia University and throughout the world.

Columbia University Environmental Biology Society: CUEBS approaches the biosphere from an academic point of view and aims to encourage environmental appreciation and education at all levels within the Columbia community.

Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development: Consilience is a global online publication dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary dialogue on sustainable development.

CoreFoods: Core Foods is Columbia’s Student-Run Organic Food Co-op. Currently located in JJ’s Place, they focus on providing a wide selection of local and organic food right on Columbia’s campus.

EarthCo: A Columbia/Barnard student coalition working to improve the local environment by promoting recycling on campus, organizing gardening and clean-ups in local parks, sponsoring environmental forums, and coordinating Earth Week activities on the Columbia campus.

EcoLions: EcoLions is a club at Columbia University devoted to the sustainability of Columbia University Athletics.

Food Sustainability Project: CUFSP organizes the campus garden open to all that serves both as a source of “real” food and an example of the potential for urban agriculture and community development through the act of growing food.

Green Builders: GB@C is a student group at Columbia University dedicated to sustainable design, products and materials, green building practices, and sustainable development.

JTS Eco-Reps: An environmental advocacy and action student group dedicated to changing the attitude and ways of the JTS community and infrastructure.

SEEJ (Students for Environmental and Economic Justice): Barnard and Columbia's group dedicated to advancing ecological sustainability and labor rights.

The Columbia University Partnership for International Development: CUPID is a student-led effort across Columbia University to facilitate multidisciplinary dialogue, awareness, and action on international development.

Energy Club: The Energy Club is committed to educating Columbia Business School students about the energy industry, increasing awareness regarding career opportunities, and helping members take advantage of those opportunities.

Engineers Without Borders: The Columbia University chapter of Engineers Without Borders aims to address the problems facing people both locally and abroad by leveraging the skills, talents, and passions of Columbia University students and the partnerships formed with our organization.

Environmental Law Society: ELS is a student-run organization whose purpose is to promote the furthering of skills and knowledge in environmental law.

Green Business Club engages students, the Columbia Business School community, and business leaders across industries on the intersection of business and sustainability.

SIPA Energy Association: dedicated to complimenting the education of the International Energy Management and Policy concentration, connecting SIPA students with practitioners in the energy sector, and educating students about career opportunities in the field.

SIPA Environmental Coalition: ECO is a graduate student and alumni organization that raises awareness by offering skills-based training, hosting educational and social activities, and providing opportunities for advocacy through collaboration between multiple disciplines.

Social Enterprise Club: The Social Enterprise Club empowers students to create social value in private and public enterprises.

Sustainability Management Student Association (SUMASA): Co-sponsored by the Earth Institute and the School of Continuing Education, this professional graduate program is designed to equip sustainability leaders with the practical knowledge and cutting-edge skills required to effectively manage the complex opportunities and risks of sustainable development.

Student Environmental Coalition for Sustainability (SECS): The SECS shall create and provide a community for the growing number of environmentally oriented and focused students within SIPA and Columbia, as a whole.

Delta GDP: The Growth and Development Project, or Delta GDP, is a group of students dedicated to exploring innovative methods of self-sustaining economic growth in developing countries.

Scientists and Engineers for a Better Society: SEBS’ mission is to bring awareness to Columbia about scientific and technological issues of social relevance.

CU Global Brigades: CU Global Brigades is the Columbia chapter of the national Global Brigades organization, which empowers students to lead service trips to developing countries.

GreenBorough: GreenBorough is the environmental special interest house, serving as a living laboratory for environmental lifestyle choices in the Columbia community.

Women & Sustainability: W&S is a group established by the Earth Institute’s M.S. in Sustainability Management Program that strives to advance female leaders working in sustainability through academic, professional, and personal development.

4local: 4local is a sustainable food group dedicated to providing students with fresh local, vegetarian and organic cuisine. 4local prepares and sells meals to the Columbia community at affordable prices and hopes to one day open a student-run café.

Earth Institute Student Advisory Council (EISAC) is a student body that serves the Columbia University community by promoting relationships between student groups, developing events and panels, and assisting with student-interest program planning. One of the key tasks of the Advisory Council is to advise and suggest improvements to the professional resources that will help students gain more experience in the field of sustainability. The Council is comprised of two students each from the School of International and Public Affairs, General Studies, Barnard College, the Business School, the Law School, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia College, the School of Public Health, the School of Journalism, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects 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:

Columbia has a 1500 square foot rooftop garden on the Morningside Campus, which is managed by students with the support of Facilities. The garden was founded by the CU Food Sustainability Project (CUFSP), a student group which allows students participate in organic gardening on campus. Student volunteers coordinate to maintain the garden year-round. The garden is on its third growing season, and the bulk of the produce grown is kale and tomatoes, most of which go to the volunteers at harvest time. The project hosts a Harvest Meal each year, and shares the dinner with residents of the local General Grant Houses Community Center, as a way to interact with the community and raise awareness of nutrition and other food issues. Watering for the garden is done manually with a hose, and there is also a rainwater catchment to reduce water use. CUFSP maintains a composting center for its own use in the garden, as well. CUFSP hosts potlucks about once a month with produce from the garden when available, accompanied by movies when weather permits. https://morningsideheightscsa.wordpress.com/

The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

CoreFoods is a student run non-profit organic cooperative. The mission of CoreFoods is to provide students and members of the Columbia community with affordable and nutritious foods produced in a sustainable way. CoreFoods offers organic, local, vegan, and vegetarian foods, such as Country Choice Quick Cooking Oatmeal, Glutino Gluten Free Chewy Bars, Stash Premium Organic Teas, and Woodstock Farms Vegetarian Gummy Subs. Members volunteer for one to two hours per month and help with operational tasks such as pricing and inventory. In return, they receive a 10% discount on products.

Columbia University’s various student organizations are also launching a major campaign to raise awareness about the fight against malaria in Africa through student-run enterprises, including:

Barnard-Columbia Undergraduate Public Health Society (BCUPHS)
Efforts towards the Malaria Campaign include selling Povertees t-shirts to raise awareness about malaria in Africa and the Millennium Promise organization. Povertees was started by three Columbia University students last year when they decided it was time to help end poverty in Africa. The t-shirt slogans include: "Sustainable Development is Sexy," "Debt...Drop It Like It's Hot," and "Jeff Sachs is my Homeboy." For more information go to: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/publichealth/

Columbia University's Partnership for International Development (CUPID)
CUPID will be working hard to promote the bed net campaign to raise funds in all the graduate schools across campus. Each school will be responsible for putting on at least one event throughout the campaign. CUPID members will work with other development-focused clubs in each school on these events. Additionally, CUPID is planning to host an awareness-raising event on campus in Mid-November to raise interest in the campaign throughout the broader student-body.

Additional URL: http://earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/44

The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives 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:

Incorporated as a non-profit and staffed by Columbia Business School students, Microlumbia provides growing microfinance institutions with pro-bono consulting services and debt capital while stimulating interest in the field among a new generation of future business leaders.

The mission is to help alleviate global poverty by providing the Columbia Business School (CBS) community the means and opportunities to become lifelong contributors to the field of microfinance.

The Microlumbia Impact Fund promotes business as a force for good. We accomplish this mission by making short-term debt investments in microfinance institutions and social enterprises; providing pro-bono advisory services and due diligence assistance to microfinance institutions, impact investment funds and their portfolio companies; and stimulating interest in the field of impact investing among a new generation of business leaders.

The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

There is a wealth of sustainability events on campus throughout the year. On any given week, events ranging from student group activities to sustainability lectures to colloquiums are posted both on Environmental Stewardship’s website and the Earth Institute’s website, as well as on the main Columbia events page. Major events include: State of the Planet, EcoPalooza on Earth Day, which features professor lectures, entertainment and performances, and free prizes, giveaways and food; Earth Week, which is a week packed with myriad sustainability events all through the campus; Columbia Business School’s Social Enterprise Conference , the Law School Center for Climate Change Law events, the Sustainability Management Symposium, an annual Energy Symposium and the International Sustainable Development Research Society’s annual, three-day conference.

Additional URLs of major events related to sustainability held on campus:

The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

For Earth Week, EcoReps usually puts together an art piece that demonstrates an aspect of sustainability. For example, the group created a tree and then hung plastic bags on it to show the amount of plastic bags used and it was an art piece as it was an intricately and creatively sculpted tree. It was also an educational piece about plastic bag use, recycling, and reusable bag use.

The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

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

The Columbia University Hiking Club organizes hiking trips throughout the tri-state area over the course of the academic year. New students may sign up to join the Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program (COÖP) for a hiking, biking, or rafting trip for a few days prior to orientation. Throughout the year, COÖP provides camping and hiking equipment available for rental too.

Additional URL: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/9695384

The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:

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

Green Monday is a global sustainability initiative that is designed to promote green lifestyle choices. Weekly tips and challenges for our undergraduate residential community make it easy and fun to incorporate environmentally-friendly habits into daily routines. Columbia also has Meatless Mondays. Eating less meat helps to reduce our carbon footprint and save resources like fresh water and fossil fuels. Meatless Monday is carried out at Ferris Booth Commons every week. A vegetarian or vegan option is available at all stations each day of the week.

The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

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

In Woodbridge Hall rooms 7H, I and J, there are designated model rooms that demonstrate sustainable features. The model rooms were designed with the intent to standardize sustainable living space. The rooms have bamboo flooring, low flow toilets, sink faucets and showerheads, low VOC paint was used, Energy Star rated appliances were installed and have recycled glass countertops.
The EcoReps committees hold different events during which students can learn sustainable practices. Additionally, as a part of Green Monday, EcoReps has worked with Housing and Environmental Stewardship with the Recycling Roadshows which teach proper recycling techniques and habits to students in residence hall lobbies.
Additionally, a living green wall was installed in Carman Hall to provide improved indoor air quality and will display signage about its environmental benefits.

The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

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

The Earth Institute (EI), in partnership with the Center for Career Education, offers a Sustainability-focused On-Campus Interview Day and has a job board for EI-related fields. Additionally, every year in the spring there is a Sustainability Career Fair. For post-graduate sustainability-focused employment opportunities, the Columbia Center for Career Education offers workshops on how to find these jobs and offers a lot of support for students who are interested in this area as the path post-grad is not as clear in this area as with other careers. Sustainability-related full-time jobs and internships are also available and posted on LionShare which is the school's job portal. Career counselors who have specific knowledge in this area are also available to students.

The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledges:


The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):

Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):

Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):

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.