Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 81.45
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date March 1, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Dickinson College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Lindsey Lyons
Assistant Director
Center for Sustainability Education
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

There are more than 10 sustainability-related clubs and organizations that are senate recognized for the 2017-18 academic year. These groups range from social activism on campus to promoting innovation for sustainability projects to raising awareness of sustainable living practices to sustaining dialog. Collectively, these groups promote sustainability awareness on campus, in the community, and around the world. Dickinson supports these groups financially through student senate, but all are student-governed.

Students are a core component to advancing sustainability at Dickinson. Clubs and organizations are dynamic entities that allow students to play leadership roles in advancing their goals, hosting events, and providing peer education and outreach about local and global issues of concern related to sustainability. Some are listed here:

Idea Fund:
The Idea Fund empowers students to identify and solve problems in the community by equipping and connecting them with the skills, networks, and resources to effectively design and implement viable projects. We achieve these goals through our three main services: Project Consulting, Innovation Grants, and Revolving Loans.

Eco-Reps:
The Dickinson Eco-Reps program strives to create a community of leaders in sustainability who work to empower others to make sustainable changes in their lives and in their communities through peer education, programming, and outreach. The program empowers Dickinsonians to represent and lead a community of their choice to become more sustainable and foster connections. Eco-Reps form a network of leaders that work together to create a sustainable campus.

The Handlebar Bicycle Co-Op:
The Handlebar, operated and maintained by the Center for Sustainability Education (CSE), operates on co-op model that is "for" students, faculty and staff, "by" students, faculty and staff. Shop volunteers teach shop-goers how to maintain their bikes, re-assemble parts and make repairs when necessary. Volunteers are always welcomed, and can be trained through our educational workshop program. The shop and its volunteers reuse bikes and bike parts in order to operate sustainably.

The Treehouse and Treeclub:
The Treehouse functions as both a Special Interest House and a student organization. Also known as the Center for Sustainable Living, the Treehouse promotes sustainable living practices and sharing of sustainability information through events such as soup and breads, open mic nights, and open houses.

Outing Club:
The Outing Club is a great outlet for Dickinson students looking to try their hand at a wide range of outdoor activities. Activities range from camping to kayaking to rock climbing. The club provides the necessary gear and funding for trips, and transportation. Dickinson students are welcome to attend the weekly meetings, or to contact the club if an upcoming outing has sparked their curiosity and interest.



J Street U Dickinson:
J Street U Dickinson is our campus's chapter of the pro-Israel, pro-peace national student movement. The role on campus includes education about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and about effective advocacy, so that members can be successful in promoting global peace.

Feminist Collective:
The Feminist Collective strives to integrate the study and practice of an inclusive feminism, one which recognizes the intersectionality of race, class, gender and sexuality. The Collective intends to progressively educate the campus community by challenging the patriarchal prescriptions of our society.

Sustained Dialog:
The mission of the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, an initiative of the Sustained Dialogue Institute, is to develop everyday leaders who engage differences as strengths to improve campuses, workplaces, and communities.

Students for Social Action:
Students for Social Action educates the college community about important social issues and provide opportunities for those who wish to enact change.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The Dickinson College Organic Farm is a 78-acre working farm and educational resource that provides produce to the college’s dining hall, a local food bank, a local farmers' market, and 115 families who are members of the Farm’s Campus Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Located a short drive from campus in Boiling Springs, PA, the USDA-certified organic farm includes many sustainable operations practices, such as PV arrays, solar hot-water systems, production of biogas, and biodiesel-run tractors and trucks. Students work on the farm growing organic produce and caring for humanely raised livestock as volunteers and paid student farmers under the direction of the farm manager and assistant farm manager. The farm is also a site for numerous research projects, class visits, service learning projects, workshops, and tours.


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The Idea Fund, a student club, is a sustainable project incubator.

The Idea Fund supports social entrepreneurship that empowers citizens to leverage their diverse skill sets, solving problems through innovation and creativity. Dickinson College provides students with a liberal arts education that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving. The Idea Fund creates a forum through which students may exercise those skills in the Dickinson community. We envision a community that uses top quality academia to innovate and enact positive change.

The mission is to empower students to identify and solve problems in the community by equipping and connecting them with the skills, networks, and resources to effectively design and implement viable projects. These goals are achieved through three main services: Project Consulting, Innovation Grants, and Revolving Loans. All students are welcome to receive Project Consulting, designed to aid students in writing business proposals, applying for funds, building teams, and networking in the Dickinson community for sustainability and beyond.

Example Idea Fund supported project:

The Peddler is a bike-powered coffee convenience cart that sells organic, fair-trade coffee. The store is student-led, owned, and run and maintains the highest standards of sustainability, entrepreneurship, and social justice.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

The Idea Fund manages a revolving loan fund that supports campus projects that conserve energy and promote other sustainability goals. The college committed an initial contribution of $15,000. The fund is then supplemented by estimated cost savings that result from Idea Fund projects. This group is student governed.

The Dickinson Sustainable Investment Group (DSIG), a subcommittee of the President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability (PCES), provides a forum for the Dickinson community to raise and discuss questions about the college’s investments, act as a liaison between the Dickinson community and the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Investments, and provide input to the Committee on Investments’ conversations about environmental, social and governance issues as they relate to college investments. Students are members of this committee. This group is not student governed.

There is also a Student Investment Group (SIG) that is student governed. This group focuses on financial initiatives broadly, but because of Dickinson's commitment to sustainability, many of the clubs projects have contributed to exploring ESG principles of Dickinson's investments.


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?:
Yes

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

Dickinson annually awards the Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism. The prize was created to focus attention on the need to reduce the impact of human lives on the planet, particularly given the rising population predictions for this century. The $100,000 prize has now supported five winners who have all conducted 3-5 day campus residencies to interact with students in public lectures, small round table discussions, class visits, and leader lunches. Winners include:

Bill McKibben - 2012
Lisa Jackson - 2013
James Balog - 2014
Mark Ruffalo - 2015
Elizabeth Kolbert- 2016
Brett Jenks-2017

The residencies were established to allow close interaction with students as the donors wanted to endow the prize at Dickinson because they fully support sustainability across curriculum, which promotes student awareness of the environment and training for professional careers in the sciences as well as responsible living for the protection of all life forms.


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?:
Yes

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

In Fall 2017, Dickinson hosted the Grapes of Wrath outdoors at the Dickinson College Farm in what’s described as a unique “immersive theatre” experience for the audience. The evening scenes were lit with new LED outdoor travel lighting. Participants followed along with the actors—on foot and in wagons—as they depicted the Joad family’s flight from the Dust Bowl to California. The production is based on the 1988 Tony Award-winning stage adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1939 novel by John Steinbeck. The production is directed by Professor of Theatre Karen Lordi-Kirkham, and was co-sponsored by Dickinson's Center for Sustainability Education. All performances were outdoors, and over 500 people attended the 4 walking shows.


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?:
Yes

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

Outdoor Education at Dickinson aims to introduce Dickinson students, faculty, and staff to the recreational and educational opportunities provided by these natural resources. The program is housed in Campus Recreational Program in Student Leadership and Campus Engagement, and many programs focus on sustainability, local resources, and leave no trace principles.

Outdoor Education programs include the Dickinson Rock Wall in the Kline Center, Wilderness Introduction to Life at Dickinson (WILD) pre-orientation programs, outdoor leadership and skill workshops, and alternative break trips.

In addition to the administrative leadership, the student-governed partner, the Dickinson Outing Club, has maintained a strong contingency of members trained in Leave No Trace policies. Their members seek to implement sustainable practices during their excursions. Additionally, many members are involved in various sustainability initiatives on campus and enhance their appreciation for the natural world through this club and other opportunities.


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)?:
Yes

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

The theme for the Fall 2016 Clarke Forum speaker series was sustainable food. Food feels universal; we all consume it daily. The politics, health, culture, and economics of food, however, vary greatly across and within place and time in ways that have powerful social and environmental consequences. This thematic semester examined food access, quality, and sustainability as they have been shaped by factors like class, race, ethnicity, and gender. Approaching food from diverse, critical perspectives, drew on the expertise of researchers, activists, community groups, artists, writers, governmental agencies, chefs, cooks, and seminar participants. Together, participants explored the historical roots of inequalities related to food, demonstrated how they manifest themselves in culture, politics, human health, and the environment, and suggested how best to confront them. In doing so we will learn from one another and will inform and stimulate broader campus and community discussions about food.

The theme provided the opportunity for speakers, workshops, and a faculty study group to focus their efforts.


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?:
Yes

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

The Handlebar, launched in 2011 by students, faculty and staff strengthens Dickinson’s living laboratory for sustainability education by providing a context for meaningful service, community building, resource sharing and experiential learning. In The Handlebar, students, faculty and staff work as leaders and volunteers assisting fellow members of the Dickinson Community to learn the sustainable life skills of bike repair and maintenance, building their own bike mechanic and leadership skills, participating in a program that reclaims and reuses materials to provide a valuable environment-friendly benefit to the community, and promoting life skills for more active, healthier and sustainable living.

Bike repair is a sustainable life skill that Dickinson continues to contribute time and resources to support throughout ongoing programming.


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

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

The Center for Sustainability Education, The Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring, and The Dickinson College Farm all hire students to run programming and operations. These three programs consistently employ over 35 paid student positions each semester. Additionally, paid, sustainability-focused student employment exists with sustainability summer camps offered by Dickinson, Dickinson Dining Services, and GIS projects.

The overarching goals of all these positions are to provide students the opportunity to create and/or improve sustainability programs and/or operations at Dickinson College in an effort to fulfill the objectives of our climate action plan and educate students on how to live more sustainably.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

The Sustainability Graduation Pledge allows graduating students to commit to:

“I PLEDGE TO APPLY SUSTAINABILITY LEARNING AND VALUES FROM MY DICKINSON EXPERIENCE AS I EXPLORE AND IMPROVE THE SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF ANY ORGANIZATIONS FOR WHICH I WORK AND THE COMMUNITIES IN WHICH I LIVE."

The sustainability graduation pledge has been active since 2013.

Graduating seniors are also eligible to join Alumni for a Sustainable Dickinson, a group founded in 2003 that works to promote sustainability at Dickinson amongst our alumni community.


The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
No

A brief description of the 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 (optional):
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Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Our approach to sustainability is distinctive for making sustainability a part of every student’s education, infusing it across our liberal arts curriculum, drawing on our strengths in global education to explore and compare experiences of different cultures, and using active learning methods that empower students to connect their classroom studies with sustainable campus operations, resources such as the Dickinson Organic Farm, and engagement with the world beyond campus borders. Much of this happens outside the classroom in the programs mentioned within this create.

Dickinson is committed to engaging students, faculty and staff in diverse aspects of sustainability throughout campus life.

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.