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

STARS v2.2

Dickinson College
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

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

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Carbon Neutral 2020

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Dickinson College attained carbon neutrality in 2020, reaching a goal that we set and have worked towards since 2007. Dickinson is one of the first 10 colleges in the nation to achieve zero net emissions of greenhouse gases.

We reduced emissions of greenhouse gases by increasing energy efficiency of our campus, switching from high-carbon energy sources to low- and zero-carbon energy sources, and promoting behavior changes. High impact climate actions at Dickinson include transitioning to nearly 100% LED lighting, improving the efficiency of our central energy plant and energy intensive buildings, purchasing high efficiency equipment when older equipment is retired, incorporating energy efficient design when renovating existing buildings and constructing new buildings, including our LEED Platinum High Street Residence Hall, and sourcing electricity that is generated with renewable energy, including development of a 3-megawatt solar field at Dickinson Park that generates 30% and more of our annual electricity consumption. Emissions that have not been eliminated are mitigated by purchases of certified carbon offsets that finance emission reductions by other entities and reduce Dickinson’s net emissions below zero.

In addition to operating a zero net emission campus, Dickinson is a leader in climate change education, raising awareness of climate change and promoting action on climate change. Dickinson received a major grant from NASA's Innovations in Climate Education program for Cooling the Liberal Arts, a campaign to integrate climate change across the liberal arts curriculum. Over 180 educators from more than 60 colleges and universities participated in workshops led by Dickinson faculty. Dickinson students, faculty and staff are partnering with local government agencies and community organizations in Carlisle, PA and Cumberland County to inventory greenhouse gas emissions and develop and implement local climate action plans.

Dickinson also advocates for climate action at state, national and international levels. We have advocated for Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and to price carbon emissions. We are signatories of the We Are Still In and We Are All In pledges, Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment, the United Nations Higher Education Sustainability Initiative and the Talloires Declaration and we are members of the U.S. chapter of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Dickinson is a registered observer of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and has sent delegations of students and faculty to the annual Conference of the Parties to conduct research and advocate for international action on climate change.

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
OP 2, Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
Sustainability Across the Curriculum

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

All Dickinson students complete a Sustainability Investigations or Sustainability Connections course to fulfill our graduation requirements. Many exceed the requirement. Over 90% of graduating seniors complete two or more sustainability courses during their four-years of studies at Dickinson, over 50% complete four or more and one-quarter complete six or more.

Dickinson’s Sustainability Across the Curriculum initiative, led by our Center for Sustainability Education, has infused sustainability issues, content and solutions into 120+ courses that are offered by 38 of our 42 academic programs, spanning the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. The Center has supported development of Dickinson’s sustainability curriculum through workshops, study groups, consultations, class visits and over $600,000 in grants to Dickinson faculty since 2008 to revise existing courses, create new courses and engage in sustainability research with students.

Dickinson also helps other colleges and universities to integrate sustainability across their curricula. Dickinson, designated as an AASHE regional Center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum, welcomes faculty members from other institutions to participate in its annual Valley & Ridge faculty workshop and study group. Participants in Valley & Ridge work collaboratively to develop innovative content and high impact pedagogies for teaching sustainability in courses at their home campuses. In addition to Valley & Ridge, Dickinson has provided training to educators from other institutions for sustainability education through Cooling the Curriculum workshops and workshops and webinars offered with AASHE, the Pennsylvania Environmental Resources Consortium, the Forum on Study Abroad and other organizations. Over 250 educators from more than 70 colleges and universities have participated in Dickinson’s faculty development programs for sustainability education.

Sustainability education in the formal curriculum is supplemented at Dickinson by rich co-curricular programs that engage students in sustainable solutions on campus and in the Carlisle community. Examples include growing sustainable, organic food at the Dickinson Farm, working with community associations to protect watersheds across the region, creating a bicycle friendly campus with The Handlebar Bicycle Co-op, beekeeping with The Hive Co-op, repurposing used clothing with the Dickinson Free xChange, promoting sustainable behaviors through People|Planet|Prosperity and Campus EcoChallenge, updating Dickinson’s climate action plan and working with ICLEI, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Borough of Carlisle and Cumberland County to assist the Borough and County to create community climate action plans.

An important co-curricular event is the annual Rose-Walters Prize residency, which brings the campus together to raise up and learn from the work of prominent sustainability leaders. The Same Rose and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism awards $100,000 to a person or group for actions to preserve the planet and its resources. The recipients come to campus for a residency that includes a public lecture, class visits, meetings with student and faculty groups, skills workshops on effective activism and other activities. Recipients have included Our Children’s Trust, the Natural Resources Defense Council, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Rare CEO Brett Jenks, founder of the Clean Air Task Force Armond Cohen, author Elizabeth Kolbert, photographer James Balog, actor Mark Ruffalo and author and climate activist Bill McKibben.

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
AC 1, Academic Courses

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Community Action: Responding to the Pandemic

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

The Carlisle Community Action Network (CAN), founded by Dickinson College President Margee M. Ensign when she became president in 2017, brings together community leaders and stakeholders who represent a broad cross-section of Carlisle and surrounding communities that includes education, business, human services, faith communities, healthcare, law enforcement, government and military. The network connects people for practical actions coordinated across multiple organizations to address vital community needs and make progress in creating a sustainable, resilient and equitable community.

The Community Action Network met monthly over breakfast in its the first three-years, building trust, relationships and a reputation for effective action for community development that are proving to be of immense value during the COVID-19 pandemic. Needs and priorities changed with the pandemic, the growing antiracism movement and the economic recession. CAN switched to weekly virtual meetings, grew to include 90 regular participants and focused its efforts on emerging and urgent needs to share vital information and marshal resources in real time to protect the health of community members and provide equitable access to health care, protective equipment, food, housing and other assistance for those who have been impacted and are at high risk.

Recent outcomes achieved by the CAN include a series of public health campaigns, raising over $100,000 to support COVID-19 emergency relief, the creation of a multi-pronged approach to summer youth care, a community anti-racism education series, and creation of the Carlisle Business Equity Initiative. A few of the many partners joining Dickinson in the CAN include the Borough of Carlisle, the Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for Better Health, Hope Station, and Sadler Health. In May 2020, CAN received the 2020 Heart & Soul Hero award from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.

Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement
Diversity & Affordability

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
EN 10, Community Partnerships

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.