Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 80.07
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

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 an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

There are more than 12 sustainability-related clubs and organizations that are senate recognized for the 2020-21 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:

The Tree Club provides students the opportunity to discuss and explore environmental issues that are important to our generation. Through experiential learning and facilitated dialogues this group helps empower students to become environmental advocates.

Ethical Eating Club:
Here we will discuss, focus, and learn about the depth of food, eating, and nutrition at Dickinson and in the rest of the world. We will aim to provide an open forum for conversation about the implications of our food choices shown through the environment, the job market, animal ethicality, industrialization, farming, and cultures around the world.

HER Campus Dickinson:
Her Campus is an online magazine targeted at giving college women a voice and promoting empowerment. Her Campus provides valuable journalism, editorial, public relations, and marketing experience. All are welcome at Her Campus! Feel free to stop by a meeting anytime if you are interested in journalism, PR, or editorial work.

J Street U:
J Street U Dickinson is our campus's chapter of the pro-Israel, pro-peace national student movement. We care deeply about ensuring Israel's Jewish and democratic future. We also believe that all people, including Israelis and Palestinians, should be able to live in peace within a sovereign and democratic homeland. Because we believe that a negotiated and permanent peace will best serve both peoples, we are committed to advocating for a two-state solution. Our role on campus includes education about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and about effective advocacy, so that members can be successful in promoting peace.

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.

She's the First:
She's the First is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries, fostering first-generation graduates and cultivating the next generation of global leaders! She's the First works closely with locally-driven NGO partners so that scholars at primary and secondary school levels are identified based off of financial need, scholastic merit, and their potential to become positive influencers and leaders within their community. In turn, STF Dickinson will not only help fundraise for these girls, but as a campus chapter, we will become positive influencers and leaders within the Dickinson Community, raise awareness for education equality as global citizens, and most importantly, give these girls the human rights they deserve. Together, we will become just as empowered as these bright young girls are.

Sunrise Movement Dickinson:
Sunrise Movement demands a new chapter in this country and encourages other groups in the climate and environmental movement to join us in speaking out. As climate activists, we imagine a world that looks nothing like our own, one where we stop climate change by transforming our whole economy.

The Womanist Collective:
The Womanist Collective strives to create revolutionary spaces for BIPOC and TGNCIQ (trans, gender non conform., intersex, queer) womxn. The Collective intends to ground and educate the campus community through conversation, art, and direct action.

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project 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:

The Dickinson College Organic Farm is a 90-acre working farm (about 60-acres of grazing) and educational resource that provides produce to the college’s dining hall, a local food bank, a local farmers' market, and 137 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.

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

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.

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative 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:

The Idea Fund manages a student-centered green 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.

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 functionality of the group closely resembles that of a Hedge Fund and at the same time, is the best possible educational resource to begin the process of developing the skill set required by the finance industry. Specifically, SIG analysts compete in a virtual trading game, practice presentation and communication skills, and develop research to support the Executive Board’s management of the SIG Flagship Portfolio.

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on 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 nine 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
Our Children's Trust- 2018
Natural Resources Defense Council- 2019
Armond Cohen- 2020

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.


Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

In late 2018, students, faculty, staff and a guest artist collaborated to create a public mural installation. Designed by visiting artist Deirdre Murphy and painted by students, the Goodyear mural indicates bird population levels and migration patterns along the local Conodoguinet Creek in Carlisle, Pa.

Philadelphia artist Deirdre Murphy, who explores the intersections between environmental justice, science and art, working side by side with scientists and created art that powerfully visualized their findings. Leading up to the design, Murphy worked closely with Dickinson scientists and staff. Jinnie Monismith, assistant director of ALLARM, provided maps of the Conodoguinet, and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Kristin Strock and ALLARM staff provided Murphy with data about the creek’s water quality. Visiting Instructor of Environmental Studies Kim Van Fleet, an ornithologist, provided her field data on bird counts in Carlisle, along with data collected by her students.

The Center for Sustainability Education then incorporated the mural into environmental awareness and outreach programming.


Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

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.

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

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

The theme for the Spring 2019 Clarke Forum speaker series was sustainability. This semester focused on many of these big ideas in sustainability, including debates about limits to growth; politicization and communication of science; climate change and social justice; indigenous knowledge; sustainable lifestyles; sustainable tourism; circular economies; arts and sustainable design; food waste; transnational food systems; the roles of technology; and public participation in science.

The theme provided the opportunity for speakers, workshops, and a faculty study group to focus their efforts through events, discussions, round tables and salons.


Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

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

The Handlebar, launched 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.


Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

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.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

The Sustainability Graduation Pledge allows graduating students to commit to:


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.

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.