Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.73
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date June 13, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Dickinson College
PAE-4: Sustainability Plan

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Daniel Webster
Sustainability Projects Coordinator
Center for Sustainability Education
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Does the institution have a sustainability plan that meets the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

A brief description of how multiple stakeholder groups were involved in developing the plan:

In April 2010, Dickinson College convened alumni, trustees, faculty, administrators, staff, students, and sustainability leaders from the private sector, civil society, government, and academia for a symposium “Charting a Path to a Sustainable Dickinson”. Background information for the symposium was provided by reports from Academic Affairs, Campus Operations, Student Life, Advancement, Human Resources, and the Office of the President that were prepared at the request of the President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability (PCES). The reports present recent achievements of Dickinson’s sustainability initiative, challenges, and priorities for future action.

During the two-day symposium, the assembled group examined current sustainability efforts at the college, assessed our strengths and weaknesses, discussed goals for the future, and explored strategies and resource needs for attaining our goals. The symposium produced a number of recommendations, which are recorded in the symposium report. The recommendations from the symposium, together with the priorities set by the reports prepared for PCES, serve as Dickinson’s sustainability plan. Key goals include:


A brief description of the plan’s measurable goals :

• Define Sustainability. Greater clarity is needed about how Dickinson defines sustainability and how this translates into shared values, commitments and actions as an institution. As we clarify our definition of sustainability, we should retain a broad approach that encompasses social, economic and environmental dimensions and that acknowledges the complexity of the issues and varied interpretations of sustainability.

• Integrate Sustainability Deeply. Invigorated efforts are needed to deepen the integration of sustainability and to forge stronger connections across divisions of the college. Success will require that added priority be given to sustainability considerations in capital development strategies, campus planning, resource allocation decisions, curriculum development, faculty, staff and student recruitment and orientation, student life, and communication with internal and external audiences.

• Articulate Sustainability Learning Goals and Curriculum. Our curriculum offers rich opportunities for students to engage in the study of sustainability from multiple perspectives; however, we do not have an overarching vision for a sustainability curriculum. Articulating a vision and learning goals for sustainability and developing a corresponding curriculum need to be high priorities.

• Differentiate Dickinson from Others. We need a clear articulation of how we are different from other colleges and universities. We have a solid baseline in our academic programs, co-curricular programs, energy plant, and sustainable operations, but we must define what distinguishes our approach to sustainability from others.

• Leverage Our Strengths: Our strategy for distinguishing ourselves from others should leverage existing strengths of the college to become a model institution of education for a sustainable society. Dickinson’s highly regarded global education program and our developing Living Laboratory for Sustainability are two areas of strength that can distinguish Dickinson as a leader in sustainability education.

• Engage Our Students. Expanding active, visible, and meaningful student participation and leadership in sustainability initiatives is critical for success. To achieve this we need to communicate to prospective students that sustainability is a core value of Dickinson that is more than being “green,” that their actions matter and can help create a sustainable campus and community, and that there are opportunities to get involved and take leadership. These messages need to be reinforced when students arrive on campus, woven throughout the first year experience, and repeated as students advance to sophomore, junior and senior years.

• Engage Our Alumni and Friends. Alumni and friends of the college can be tremendous assets to the college, to our students, and to each other. We need to find creative ways to engage them more actively in the sustainability initiative, both to contribute their talents and to assist with advancement efforts.

• Fulfill Our Commitment to Climate Neutrality. Dickinson College, as a signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), has pledged to make the operation of our campus climate neutral and to educate our students about climate change and sustainability. Fulfilling these commitments must be a priority for the college.

• Deliver and Measure Outcomes. Our sustainability initiative must be oriented to deliver meaningful outcomes. The outcomes that we intend to achieve need to be defined and measured to assure ourselves and our multiple constituencies that we are advancing Dickinson College as an institution of education for a sustainable society.

• Communicate Our Sustainability Values, Actions and Results. If we want to be recognized as a sustainability leader in higher education, then we must communicate our sustainability values, actions and results visibly, consistently and comprehensively.


A brief description of how progress in meeting the plan’s goals is measured:

PCES is responsible for enabling and monitoring progress on these and other sustainability goals. A report on measured progress one year after the symposium was presented at the March Faculty Meeting. The symposium report, sustainability reports prepared for PCES, and the March 2011 progress report are available online.


The website URL where more information about the sustainability plan is available:
The year the plan was developed or last updated:
2,010

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