Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.24
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date April 30, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Dickinson College
EN-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Neil Leary
Center for Sustainability Education
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “supportive”?:

A brief description of the institution’s supportive sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania: The Clean Air Board (CAB) of Central Pennsylvania is a faith-based citizens’ initiative dedicated to achieving clean air to protect health and quality of life. With input from residents, educators, health professionals, government, and industry, CAB’s goals are to reduce air pollution in Central Pennsylvania to levels at which the air is safe to breathe. The CAB accomplishes its mission by raising public awareness of air quality issues, advocating for, promoting, and coordinating policy and practices for clean air, and monitoring air quality. Dickinson College faculty have been active in the work of the CAB since its founding in 2005, and two faculty members currently serve on its Board of Directors. (https://cleanairboard.wordpress.com/)

South Mountain Partnership: Dickinson College has worked with the South Mountain Partnership since 2008 and formally joined as a partner in 2015. The South Mountain Partnership is a regional landscape conservation project in south-central Pennsylvania, one of seven Conservation Landscapes of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The Partnership strives to conserve and sustain all that makes the landscape special and supports the quality of life. Launched in 2006, the Partnership operates as a public-private partnership between DCNR and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and has grown into an alliance of citizens, businesses, non-profits, academic institutions, and local, state, and federal government agencies and officials collaborating to envision and secure a sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape. Dickinson College has participated in, helped plan, and hosted a number of Partnership events. (http://southmountainpartnership.org/)

Downtown Carlisle Association: The Downtown Carlisle Association (DCA) follows the Main Street Four Point Approach for preservation and economic development that builds a sustainable and complete community revitalization effort. By marketing and promoting the assets of the Carlisle Region, the DCA strives to enhance the civic, cultural, and economic vitality of the entire community – retail, service, academic, government, and industry. The DCA is overseen by a community-based volunteer board of directors, regional liaisons, volunteers, and borough leadership. The DCA provides an array of programs dedicated to achieving the common goals of Carlisle. Dickinson College has been an active participant in the community revitalization work of the DCA since its founding in 1981, has played a role in shaping the work of the DCA, is represented on the DCA board, and is a financial supporter of the DCA. (http://www.lovecarlisle.com/about-dca/)

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “collaborative”?:

A brief description of the institution's collaborative sustainability partnership(s):

Farmers on the Square: The Dickinson Organic Farm and members of the Dickinson College community played leadership roles in re-establishing and reinvigorating Farmers on the Square in 2009 and continue to be vitally involved in this farmers’ market that operates in Carlisle, PA. All vendors live and work within 50 miles of Carlisle and many use and promote sustainable farming methods. Dimensions of sustainability promoted by Farmers on the Square include supporting livelihoods for local farmers who use sustainable and organic practices, promoting healthy eating, providing low income members of the community access to fresh local produce through a program that matches the value of SNAP and WIC vouchers, and building social fabric by bringing community members together for the music and other activities that are part of the weekly farmers’ market.

Dickinson faculty are on the board of Farmers on the Square. During winter months, the market is held at Project SHARE in College owned warehouse space. In 2014, Dickinson launched its Localtunity project, which provides our students, faculty, and staff tokens to use at Farmers on the Square if they shop together in groups of three or more. Groups receive additional tokens if they cook and share a meal together with the local products bought at the market. The project provides an infusion of funding to Farmers on the Square, while also building community and promoting local foods and healthy eating. Dickinson is working through the Greater Carlisle Project to engage other area employers to join in the Localtunity project. (http://www.farmersonthesquare.com/; http://www.dickinson.edu/info/20052/sustainability/2703/localtunity)

Project SHARE (Survival Help And Recipient Education): Dickinson College has been strongly supportive and engaged in the work of Project SHARE since it was founded in 1985 by Dickinson alumna Elaine Livas. Project SHARE is an interfaith cooperative organization that provides food, nutrition education, and other essential services to more than 1000 families each month in the communities of Carlisle, Carlisle Springs, Mt. Holly Springs, Boiling Springs, Gardners, Plainfield, New Kingstown, and Middlesex. Dimensions of sustainability advanced by Project SHARE include social justice, access to fresh, local produce by low income families, and education about nutrition, food, and food preparation. Since 2002, Project SHARE has been housed rent free on Dickinson College’s campus in 23,000 square feet of warehouse space. The Dickinson Organic Farm donates organic produce and participates in Project SHARE’s gleaning program. Dickinson has also provided labor and financial support for utility and other expenses. The College is an official partner of Project SHARE, along with 66 local congregations, schools, and civic organizations. Many students, faculty, and staff volunteer at Project SHARE, and Project SHARE is often a partner in service learning and community-based research courses of the College. (http://www.projectshare.net/about/history)

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA): Dickinson College has collaborated for several years with PASA, the largest statewide, member-based sustainable farming organization in the United States. PASA’s mission is to improve the economic viability, environmental soundness, and social responsibility of food and farming systems in Pennsylvania and across the country. PASA provides education and support for farmers in non-traditional agricultural practices such as organic, biodynamic, and grass-based farming. PASA also builds relationships between farmers and consumers looking for fresh, wholesome, locally, and sustainably produced food. Dickinson’s Farm Manager is Chair of the PASA Board, and the Dickinson Organic Farm is an active participant in PASA events, trainings, and workshops. The Dickinson Farm hosts a PASA summer Sustainability Workshop series for homesteaders of all skill levels to learn strategies for improving the production and enjoyment of home and community food production. The Dickinson Farm hosts numerous community groups for a variety of educational activities. (http://www.pasafarming.org/; http://blogs.dickinson.edu/farm/)

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “transformative”?:

A brief description of the institution's transformative sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

Greater Carlisle Project: In 2012, Dickinson College convened a group of community members to explore interest in a new collaboration of private and public sector organizations that would work across issue areas and across townships and boroughs to make the communities in the Carlisle area more livable and sustainable. That led to the founding of the Greater Carlisle Project (GCP) in 2013, an unincorporated nonprofit association of people, organizations, churches, businesses, and local governments working together to improve the quality of life for all people in the communities of the Greater Carlisle Area. The approach of the GCP is to enhance long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability by connecting and enhancing community assets. GCP initiatives seek transformation in eight priority areas: community; cultural heritage; arts & recreation; economic development & jobs; education; energy & transportation; food & farms; green spaces, blue waters & clear skies; and housing, health & human services. The Greater Carlisle Project provides a forum for community members to voice ideas for the future of our region, increase the visibility of efforts and organizations that are making our communities more sustainable, collect and share information, help member organizations to locate and access resources, champion initiatives and projects, and celebrate successes. Dickinson College’s Center for Sustainability Education, acting as the administrative office of the Greater Carlisle Project, co-chairs and provides administrative support to the GCP Steering Committee, hosts and organizes GCP community meetings, helps plan and implement GCP events and projects, conducts outreach to the community, and maintains the GCP website and Sustainability Map. Dickinson’s Associate Vice President for Sustainability and Planning is a member of the Steering Committee, along with community leaders from non-profits, churches, businesses, and municipal governments. (http://greatercarlisleproject.dickinson.edu/)

Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM): ALLARM, founded in 1986, is a nationally recognized citizen science program of Dickinson College that works with diverse community partners to empower communities to use scientific tools to monitor, protect, and restore their watersheds.

ALLARM has three distinct areas of outreach. Locally, they work with the Borough of Carlisle to help them reach their federally mandated stormwater education requirements. In the greater Carlisle area, ALLARM works with twelve educational partnerships to implement K-12 environmental education initiatives.

At the statewide and regional levels, ALLARM carries out its mission to empower communities with scientific tools to assess stream health and help communities use those data to implement stream restoration and protection measures. Through its watershed citizen science programs, ALLARM has successfully trained and engaged volunteer monitors to investigate and answer questions about myriads of issues facing our state’s water quality - from acid rain to shale gas extraction. ALLARM's philosophy is centered around bottom-up community engagement and capacity building by involving Pennsylvania communities in every step of the scientific process, including: research agenda definition, study design, data collection and analysis, data management and interpretation, and bringing research data and results to the public for action. ALLARM has demonstrated success delivering capacity-building technical assistance to volunteer stream monitors, resulting in over 25,000 square miles of watershed assessments and over 3,500 community volunteers engaged in watershed protection and restoration.

At the national level, ALLARM was recently appointed to be the second volunteer monitoring seat on the National Water Quality Monitoring Council, which is comprised of state, federal, and tribal government partners as well as additional academic and non-profit partners. The Council is a vehicle for bringing together diverse expertise to develop collaborative, comparable, and cost effective approaches for monitoring and assessing our Nation’s water quality.

ALLARM is overseen by a professional management team and faculty adviser and staffed by Dickinson students who work closely with community volunteers in all of ALLARM’s capacity building, training, education, and outreach programs. Community members are involved in the governance of ALLARM projects through steering committees, the members of which vary depending on the project. Steering committee members include community volunteers, non-profit organizations, municipal offices, school districts, state agencies, federal agencies, and Dickinson College students, staff, and faculty. Dimensions of sustainability advanced by ALLARM include protecting and restoring thousands of miles of streams in Pennsylvania, empowering community members to participate in resource management decisions, raising awareness of environmental justice concerns, and increasing social capital that is necessary for building sustainable communities. ALLARM has been enabling transformative changes for nearly 30 years through citizen science that empowers people with scientific data and knowledge to participate effectively and meaningfully in local decision-making. (http://www.dickinson.edu/allarm)

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:

ALLARM works with communities across the state of Pennsylvania and in New York and West Virginia to help community groups protect and restore their watershed.

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.