Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 76.45
Liaison Ryan Ihrke
Submission Date Oct. 17, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Green Mountain College
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Aaron Witham
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for national, state/provincial, or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

GMC intentionally invites speakers to campus for various lecture series and commencements who take advocacy stances on important sustainability issues such as climate change and social equity. GMC is the lead institution in southern Vermont engaged in this practice. Not only do these advocacy speeches help to influence students, but the College tries to expand their impact through strategic press releases about the events, so that the platforms of the speakers can draw attention from the media.

Among the examples of advocacy speakers the College has had in recent years are:

Senator Patrick Leahy who spoke about his recent effort to get the US to sign a treaty banning land mines (Commencement, 2014).

Jonathan Lash who spoke about what we can do to address climate change in an innovative way despite lack of action at the national level (Benson Lecture Series, 2014).

Dianne Dillon-Ridgley who spoke about sustainable development (Commencement, 2013).

Bill Schlesinger who spoke about climate change and how we can address it amidst the current gridlock in Congress (Sophomore Plenary, 2013).

Andrew Gunther who spoke about humane treatment of animals and delivered GMC's new AWA certification for dairy cattle and poultry on the campus farm. In addition, the College implemented a new policy to source all poultry and pork meals served in the dining hall from humanely certified vendors by the year 2020 (Lecture, 2013).

Majora Carter who spoke about social justice and sustainable development (Commencement, 2012).

In addition to bringing in strategic speakers, in 2013, GMC issued a statement to the student panel on divestment at the Warsaw climate negotations, challenging other schools to divest from fossil fuel holdings as GMC has committed to do.

A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years:

GMC President Fonteyn signed a letter in April of 2014 written by Bill Schlesinger of The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies urging the UK's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, to apply more judicious use of biomass electricity as a carbon-neutral substitute for fossil fuels. The letter was co-signed by many prominent US scientists and articulated a concern about the rising use of wood sourced from Southern US forests as a fuel for electricity-generating power plants in the UK and Europe. In particular, they asked for swift action to develop and adopt sustainability criteria and carbon accounting requirements to ensure adequate protections for forests and the climate.

In 2014, GMC's Chaplain, Shirley Oskamp, led a campaign to send a letter on behalf of GMC to the United Methodist Church to express discontent over the Church's action of defrocking Rev. Frank Schaefer after he presided over his son's same sex wedding. Faculty and staff voted in support of the letter. The letter read:

"We the Staff of Green Mountain College respect and value our community’s diversity in all areas of life including religion, spirituality, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. As a United Methodist-affiliated college, we appreciate the ways United Methodism’s Social Principles closely match Green Mountain College’s own commitment to an ecologically equitable and sustainable environment and to creating nurturing social, political, and world communities where all are valued.

In contrast to these strong positive values, we are deeply troubled by the United Methodists Church’s current lack of equal affirmation and support for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We stand in solidarity with all members of our community, pledging to provide a welcoming, safe and inclusive space for all."

A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

Green Mountain College does not make political donations.

The website URL where information about the institution’s advocacy efforts is available:

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