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
IN-3: Innovation 3

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Aaron Witham
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Alumni Impact Survey

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

When developing metrics to measure progress toward the College's new strategic plan of achieving authentic sustainability, the Sustainability 2020 task force decided that alumni impact was an important measure of the value of a GMC education. The full value of an education is not realized until students go out into the world and begin living a lifestyle affected by their education and working jobs that make a positive impact based on the lessons they learned in the classroom.

In order to begin measuring how a GMC education affects graduates and how those graduates impact the world, the task force added 13 questions to the annual alumni survey. The alumni survey is given to students one year, three years, and ten years out. Questions ranged from items asking for the square footage of their homes, their primary modes of transportation, their eating practices, and their waste disposal practices to questions asking about the average number of hours they spend deliberately enhancing the social fabric of their communities and their ability to cover their monthly financial expenses.

The 2013 alumni survey serves as a baseline for measuring future progress. 2014 survey responses are currently being collected, which will allow for longitudinal data analysis. The task force hopes that as steps are taken to enhance the GMC community's social, financial, and natural capital, the positive impact of a GMC education will also increase.

The full list of alumni impact questions include the following:

1. For the majority of days per week, what mode do you use to travel to your primary occupation, whether it be work, school, or other?
2. Approximately how many hours do you fly each year?
3. What is the approximate size of your home?
4. How many people reside in your home for a majority of the year?
5. How many of your meals per week include meat?
6. What percentage of your food is grown within 250 miles and/or certified organic?
7. In your paid work and volunteer time, how many hours per week, total, do you spend deliberately enhancing the social fabric of a community?
8. To what extent do you feel your life’s activities (work, co-curricular, etc.) are meaningful?
9. To what extent are you financially able to cover your monthly expenses?
10. To what extent do you feel connected with your community?

Please check all that apply
Check if you…
- Recycle regularly?
- Compost your food scraps regularly?
- Have a home vegetable garden?
- Purchase local, organic, and/or fair trade for at least one quarter of your total purchases?
- Spend over $10,000 per year on non-work related items such as vacations, electronics for leisure, extra clothing, or other items that do not include basic food, shelter, transportation and clothing?
- Acquire a majority of your electricity from a renewable energy source such as wind, solar, geothermal, or biomass?
- Acquire a majority of your heat and hot water from a renewable energy source such as solar, passive solar,
geothermal, wood, or other biomass?
- Live in a home made primarily from sustainably-certified materials and/or materials sourced locally from within 250 miles?
- Commute more than 20 miles to work?
- Have more than one vehicle per driver in your household?

1. How much has the environmental mission of GMC, as reflected in the Environmental Liberal Arts program, affected your life or your current pursuits?
2. If it has, can you give an example?

A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

Preliminary baseline data from the 2012 class indicate that 43% of graduates spend more than 10 hours per week deliberately enhancing the social fabric of their communities and 72% report that their lives reflect the College's environmental mission.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum Yes
Research Yes
Campus Engagement No
Public Engagement No
Air & Climate No
Buildings No
Dining Services No
Energy Yes
Grounds No
Purchasing No
Transportation No
Waste Yes
Water No
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:

The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

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.