Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.09
Liaison Ciara Tennis
Submission Date Nov. 10, 2021

STARS v2.2

Eastern Connecticut State University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.75 / 2.00 Lynn Stoddard
Institute for Sustainable Energy
"---" 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:

The Environmental Club is a student-governed club at Eastern whose goal is to “Advocate the importance of human impact on the environment, while promoting sustainable awareness and practices on campus and in our surrounding community.” This group participates in community service on campus through their semi-annual campus clean up and projects in the Windham, CT community. The club also promotes sustainability through their Earth Day Event, Environmental Earth Science Graduate Panel, and documentaries shown each semester on environmental issues.

The Eastern Outdoor Adventure Club is a student-governed club at Eastern whose goal is to “Provide Opportunities and Events for the Students of Eastern Connecticut State University to Experience the Outdoors.”

These clubs were all active prior to spring 2020.

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:

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:

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:

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:

In April 2021, Connecticut state energy and transportation officials shared climate change plans with Eastern students through a Zoom meeting. The discussion focused on the Transportation and Climate initiative Program (TCI-P), a regional collaboration meant to curb greenhouse gas emissions and fund a more sustainable transportation system. Students from over a half dozen departments participated.

In fall 2019, students in the HIS 253 U.S. Environmental History course read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden then attended a lecture by Dr. Daegan Miller, author of the acclaimed history, This Radical Land: A Natural History of American Dissent (University of Chicago Press, 2018) in Eastern's arboretum. Topics discussed included ethical living and environmentalism. Students also toured the campus power plant and energy facilities to complement their in-class research and discussions.

In November 2019, Eastern hosted Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day. Attendees included government officials, local/regional consulting and engineering firms, professors, and students. The day included a panel from workers in the GIS field along with research presentations, a keynote speaker, and interactive events, which illustrated to students how GIS could be applied to advancing sustainability in multiple job fields.

Eastern has an annual Dean’s cup challenge in which residential students compete to be the top hall. The Dean’s cup has an Energy Conservation Challenge where students are challenged to see who can conserve the most energy in a given week. This challenge was conducted in fall 2019.

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 fall 2020, students in the ART 353 Installation Art course created nature-based installations in the woodland setting of Eastern’s Arboretum. The largely biodegradable projects—collectively known as “Into the Woods”—were not permanent or environmentally invasive to the campus nature preserve.

Eastern also has a "1% for Art" collection includes 16 works of public art that are located on campus outside major campus buildings. Many of these pieces integrate nature, and the environment into them. A few examples incorporate wind energy.

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:

Eastern Outdoor Adventure Club is a student-governed club at Eastern whose goal is to “Provide Opportunities and Events for the Students of Eastern Connecticut State University to Experience the Outdoors.”

Mycology Club studies the world of fungi! The club explores fungi in respects to cooking, culture, science, the outdoors, and more. Activities often include walks across Eastern's campus, the Arboretum, and local trails to identify fungi.

The Photography Club provides artistic activities and events for its members and Eastern community in support of their professional and personal interests in photography. These include trips to the Arboretum and the local area, such as Mansfield Hollow State Park, to photograph flora and fauna, among other subjects.

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:

Prior to the 2021 academic year, Eastern had a Green Themed Housing option for residential students interested in sustainability. These students are involved in various green initiatives that are focused on reducing the university’s carbon footprint, recycling, and conserving natural resources.

Eastern also offers a variety of First Year Program courses that freshmen and students are required to take one. Several of the courses are sustainability-focused and sustainability-related, such as Mindfulness as a Co-Benefit for Humans and the Environment and Our Parks Along the Trail, which were offered in the fall 2021 semester.

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:

Prior to the 2020 academic year, Eastern offers 'Green-Theme Housing' for residential students interested in sustainability. Students living in this sustainability-themed housing learn sustainable life skills by living in a model sustainable environment while participating in green initiative programs. Students have conducted various service projects including educating students on sustainable energy and participating in town-wide clean-ups. Discussions include how to live sustainably and other environmental issues.

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

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

The Institute for Sustainable Energy, based at Eastern Connecticut State University, promotes energy efficiency and sustainability statewide through education, technical support, research, and outreach. The Institute for Sustainable Energy employs student interns to help with sustainability activities, such as energy data collection, trash auditing, green- themed campus signage, green-themed informational videos, among other sustainability related opportunities.

Student interns provide extensive services to support Sustainable CT, a municipal sustainability certification program run by the Institute for Sustainable Energy. Such work includes: research, data aggregation, outreach, certification submission review, and support for events. Student interns also help implement collaborative initiatives for the CT Alliance for Campus Sustainability, and preparation for the Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability annual campus sustainability conference and Campus Sustainability Month.

We mentor to our interns and help them learn important, practical professional skills. For example, interns make formal presentations about their projects and research to ISE staff and other interns.

These student opportunities were discontinued after the spring 2020 semester due to the pandemic, as budgetary and distancing constraints made the internships unfeasible.

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):

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:

This information for this credit was completed by reviewing articles on Eastern's website and was reviewed by Lynn Stoddard, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy.

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.