Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Jeremy King
Submission Date March 23, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Denison University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Jeremy King
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of the President
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that fall into the following categories?:
Yes or No
Active student groups focused on sustainability Yes
Gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems Yes
Student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes Yes
Sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills No
Conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles Yes
Sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences Yes
Programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills Yes
Sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution Yes
Graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions Yes
Other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives ---

The name and a brief description of each student group focused on sustainability:

The DU Green Team was founded by Environmental Study students of the class of 2006 . It works to promote environmental awareness on campus. Activities include a Recyclable Fashion Show, Earth Day Mania, and speakers from both the Denison faculty and national organizations. Students are creating the DU Green Guide complete with resources and information on a variety of environmental topics and consumer choices. We hope to promote and educate the Denison community about sustainable living.

VEG is a vegan advocacy student group on campus that organizes our meatless Monday (called Mindful Mondays) campaign in the dining hall as well as hosts a yearly documentary series.

Thanks to a grant from the city of Newark, Denison students work with youth who are mandated by Juvenile Court to do community service all summer, planting, weeding and watering a cooperative garden called the Helping Hands Garden of Hope. Harvesting takes place in the fall, and the food is distributed to a local food pantry. The winter months are spent planning for the next year, and preparing start-up gardening kits for the residents surrounding the garden. These involved Denison students also help encourage local agencies and neighbors to participate in 6th Street and Growing Community Garden.

The Denison University Student Farmworker Alliance is a group focused on activism around farmer worker rights and Fair Trade foods.


The website URL where information about student groups is available:
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A brief description of gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems:

The Campus Community Garden was started in March of 2010 through a John R. Hunting Venture Fund Grant. Coordinated by a Denison Professor, the garden consists of thirty 24 x 4 raised beds. Students, faculty, and staff are all able to participate and to date the garden has over 100 active participants.

Denison has partnered with a local farm to offer a Denison specific CSA for students, faculty and staff. All members of the community are invited to go out to the farm to help with farm chores - though it isn't a requirement of being part of the CSA.


The website URL where information about the organic agriculture and/or sustainable food systems projects and initiatives is available:
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A brief description of student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes:

The Bandersnatch, located in Huffman Hall (next to the Dining Hall entrance), functions as a alternative social outlet for all of Denison's student body. The coffee shop is run by students and has recently received grants from the John R. Hunting Sustainability fund to make their operations "more green". This includes more reusable dishware, and recycled "to go" containers. Also, the "Snatch" is working to promote student awareness for recycling and reusing and encouraging students to bring their own coffee mugs and beverage containers for a beverage purchase at a reduced rate.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprise(s) is available:
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A brief description of the sustainable investment or finance initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable investment or finance initiatives is available:
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A brief description of conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

Every year, campus academic departments bring in speakers, lecturers and performers - many of whom have direct connections to sustainability. In addition to these, some recent highlights include:

In conjunction with the 2009-2010 Campus Theme: Consumption, Denison has hosted a myriad of speakers within the past few years related to Sustainability. Julian Keniry, Michael Pollan, Annie Leonard, Juliet Schor, Stephen Marglin, Curt Ellis, Paul Rozin, Robert Kenner, and others. There has also been a film series related to sustainability – Film showings of Big River, Food Inc., Crude, King Corn and The Story of Stuff.
In 2011-2012, Denison hosted a series of community forums on hydraulic fracturing that were attended by not only the Denison community, but also by the residents of Licking County, Ohio.

In 2013-2014 Majora Carter was a keynote speaker (she spoke at AASHE 2012) and our campus museum hosted the Smithsonian Green Rev exhibition.


The website URL where information about the event(s) is available:
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A brief description of cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

The Denison Museum host exhibitions year round with many having a sustainability-related focus. In 2014, Denison hosted a Smithsonian Green Rev exhibition that included works developed by students on campus. In addition, an academic course focused on curating the exhibition.

Our performing and visual arts departments often bring in artists and have performances that are sustainability related.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts event(s) is available:
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A brief description of wilderness or outdoors programs for students that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The Denison Outing Club provides students with an opportunity to take part in outdoor activities away from school. The club typically runs events throughout the fall and the spring. Some of these events include mountain biking, backpacking, caving, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. Most of the weekend activities take place in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The first major trip of the year is during the newly created fall break, where they spend four days hiking through some of the best fall foliage the east coast has to offer. In addition, spring break gives students an opportunity to explore some of America's more remote wilderness areas in states such as Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, and Georgia.

As part of its First Year Student Orientation, Denison coordinates an outdoor orientation program whereby incoming students submit essays and applications to be considered for this experience. Led by a group of faculty and staff, this orientation program teaches leadership, teamwork, self-reliance, and problem-solving while taking students on a 3 day hike through the West Virginia wilderness. Issues of sustainability and environmental responsibility are also addressed during the orientation.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors program(s) is available:
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A brief description of sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Denison University seeks to engage our students intellectually and creatively from their first days on campus. Our annual campus theme expands an intellectual theme throughout the year through lectures, arts and community service events, book discussions, and co-curricular experiences.

The 2013-2014 campus theme was "Real Utopias" and examined to to build sustainable societies and global communities.

The 2012-2013 theme "Creativity & Courage" while not having direct connections to sustainability, did have numerous functions with indirect ties to sustainability.

The 2011-2012 theme "Migrations" had strong connections to social issues and social justice.

The 2010-2011 theme "Technology & Community" had limited connections to sustainability.

Our 2009-10 campus theme, “Consumption” sought to engage the issue of human consumption at both the broadest and most particular levels, including subjects such as food, production, media, natural resources, health and health care, education and distribution of resources. The year-long theme was book-ended with consideration of “Consumption” with two renowned public intellectuals – Frances Moore Lappe and Michael Pollan – who speak to the issue of consumption as it relates to food. Through their work, we explored how food serves as a lens through which we understand complex questions about identity, community, consumption, and power. What we eat, how we prepare and gain access to food, with whom we break bread, and who is included and excluded at the table significantly affect our understanding of these issues. In addition to these keynote lectures, we considered our consumption habits in terms of cultural consumption, the global economy, war and genocide, and environmental sustainability.

"Consumption" theme:
It may be said that our habits of consumption are mirrors of our selves. As the momentous economic disruptions of this past year have signaled, our future lives will present
profound challenges, especially as regards the ways we think about and access the resources available to us. Our campus-wide theme in 2009-10 engages the issue of human consumption at both the broadest and most particular levels, including subjects such as food, production, media, natural resources, health and health care, education and distribution of resources.

The 2008-09 theme "Urbanscapes," was created around a couple programs about the "green city" and brought a green architect, Sim Van der Ryn, as well as David Rusk, former Mayor of Albuquerque, who discussed economic sustainability in cities. There was a program featuring Karl Sandin's work with Newark on developing urban landscapes that are economically and environmentally viable neighborhoods. In all of these programs, our interpretations of sustainability were broadened to include environmental as well as economic development issues.

In 2007-08, the theme "Hum|an|imal" dealt with the myriad relationships between human and non-human animals. Our Opening Convocation speaker, Robert Sapolsky, addressed the sustainability of the Western diet, looking at its effects on us as well as the primates who access it in garbage dumps. He discussed many other things, too, but I know that diet and stress disorders (i.e. the sustainability of our Western lifestyle) came up repeatedly.

*The Campus Theme concept was discontinued in 2014-2015


The website URL where information about the theme is available:
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A brief description of program(s) through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Denison makes available one residence hall room to show on its Admissions tour. This room has been remodeled to include energy-saving lighting and equipment. It also displays a number of items that highlight opportunities for students to engage in sustainable activities on campus. The room is open every day and current Denison students are also able to visit the room to learn about ways they can green up their own room on campus.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills program(s) is available:
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A brief description of sustainability-focused student employment opportunities:

Denison employs Sustainability Fellows through the Office of Sustainability. Anywhere from 4-15 students are employed each year to do outreach work across campus.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportuntities is available:
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A brief description of graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions:

Each year at Denison's Commencement ceremony, hundreds of graduating students don green ribbons signifying that they signed the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility.

On Denison's campus, both the Environmental Studies Senior Fellows and the Office of Sustainability coordinate the program.

The pledge states, "I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of the decisions I make in my personal life and the actions I take in my professional career. I will strive to continually better my community and the global society in which I live."


The website URL where information about the graduation pledge program is available:
A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:
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The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available:
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Denison maintains an internal password protected website where most of this information resides. Public access web pages have limited information on this topic.

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