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
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

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

Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee, office, and/or officer that focuses on sustainability broadly and covers the entire institution?:

A brief description of the activities and substantive accomplishments of the committee(s), office(s), and/or officer(s) during the previous three years:

General Rewards & Ratings:
• Earned # 8 rating in Sierra Magazine’s Cool Schools list in 2014, #6 in 2013, and #11 in 2012
• Made Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll in 2015, 2014, and 2013 editions
• Earned Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in 2013 for "An Integrated Approach to Achieving Climate Neutrality."
• Received Efficiency Vermont’s Energy Leadership Challenge Award in 2013

Waste Diversion:
• In FY 2013, increased waste diversion rate by 9.8% and reduced tonnage landfilled by 25.9 tons over FY 2012
• Expanded waste diversion program (including Terra Cycle, grocery bags, vermiculture, and e-waste)
• Diverted over 5,000 lbs of reusable material during Green Move Out each year
• Diverted over 30 tons of recycling and over 10 tons of compostable food scraps each year
• Diverted 8,495 lbs of furniture and bedding through a storage cleanout in 2014
• Banned the sale of bottled water on campus in 2014, following a student campaign

• Carried out annual Do it in the Dark competition with average percentage reduction each year of between 9-10% per residence hall
• Exceeded three-year goal of 7.5% projected electricity reduction for the Vermont Energy Leadership Challenge
• Carried out successful renovation of Two Editor’s Inn to be a model for energy efficiency for older residential buildings in Vermont with involvement of students at every step from initial audit, to decision to fund audit, to decision to fund the project, to creating media to promote the project
• Oversaw the green revolving loan fund and tracked the first three investments

• Carried out focus group on sustainable transportation in 2013 and implemented Go Vermont as the official online carpooling tool
• Hosted successful week-long sustainable transportation fair in 2013 and 2014

Education & Outreach:
• Coordinated over 6,000 hours of community service each year
• Published quarterly sustainability newsletters for the community
• Gave two presentations a year at AASHE conference
• Spearheaded application process for full-time VISTA who was hired in 2013 to do financial literacy training
• Presented in over 10 classes per year on campus sustainability topics
• Mentored between 20-30 student projects per year
• Coordinated the annual earth week, with over 20 events each year
• Coordinated the annual earth fair in the Town, with over 60 booths each year
• Carried out volunteer service days in 2013 and 2014: Thanks & Giving and Green Up Day
• Carried out 1-2 major waste diversion events on campus each year
• Gave over 15 tours on sustainability per year
• Helped carry-out the ongoing Poultney 2020 community-building program
• Taught annual Green Job Corps training sessions for over 50 students and 15 staff

Data Tracking:
• Led completion and implementation of College’s first social & human capital survey in 2014
• Carried out robust transportation survey in 2013 with a 45% response rate
• Helped develop metrics for measuring progress toward College’s strategic plan, Sustainability 2020
• Completed annual waste reports and biennial carbon inventory
• Completed comprehensive cost benefit analysis of the College’s biomass plant
• Carried out financial and legal analysis for multiple solar projects

Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee?:

The charter or mission statement of the committee(s) or a brief description of each committee's purview and activities:

The Green Mountain College Campus Sustainability Council was created in 2006 to address the requirements outlined by the Presidents Climate Commitment and to serve as a facilitating body to move the campus toward climate neutrality. Since its inception, the Council has expanded to advise all major sustainability initiatives, including waste diversion, the green revolving loan fund, educational outreach, and community service opportunities. The Campus Sustainability Council is now playing an important role in helping the strategic plan steering committee take action to move the College closer to authentic sustainability. The CSC meets bi-weekly, reviews policies and makes recommendations for improving campus sustainability.

Members of each committee, including affiliations and role (e.g. staff, student, or faculty):

Aaron Witham, Director of Sustainability (Chair)
Tom Mauhs-Pugh, Provost
Prof. Bill Landesman, Biology
Prof. Steve Letendre, Economics & Environmental Studies
Prof. Jacob Park, Business & Management
Chris Bunker, Grounds Manager
Bay Hammond, Farm Manager
Ryan Ihrke, Director of Student Involvement
Melissa Rosenberg, Admissions Counselor
Titania Green, student ('16)
Peyton Jones, student ('16)
Salima Mahamoudou ('16)

The website URL where information about the sustainability committee(s) is available:
Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee?:

A brief description of each sustainability office:

The GMC sustainability office directs all major sustainability initiatives on campus and serves as a resource center for the campus community and beyond. In the domain of environmental impact, the office runs all waste diversion systems on campus, is responsible for sustainability reporting and data collection, conducts energy and greenhouse gas analysis, runs environmental awareness events, plans strategically for major sustainability investments, and works closely with students, staff, and faculty on dozens of individual projects.

In the area of social and financial sustainability, the sustainability office connects classes with service learning opportunities in the greater community, works closely with the Town on the Poultney 2020 community-building effort, and in general tries to build social and financial capital in the Town. The sustainability office also manages the Green Job Corps, an offshoot of the campus work study program that emphasizes social, economic and environmental learning and provides staff training in these areas.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) of people employed in the sustainability office(s):

The website URL where information about the sustainability office(s) is available:
Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:

Name and title of each sustainability officer:
Aaron Witham, Director of Sustainability; Jose Galvez, Sustainable Community Development Outreach Coordinator; Nicole Harman, Sustainability Office Manager; seven work-study students specializing in events, reuse, recycling, and compost

A brief description of each sustainability officer position:

The director of sustainability is responsible for coordinating all major sustainability initiatives on campus from faculty, staff, and students, and leading institutional sustainability efforts. The position reports on progress toward these goals and serves as a hub of information on related metrics, such as energy use, ghg emissions, and tons of waste. Through work in and out of the classroom, the director assists students in outlining and implementing realistic and appropriate sustainability-related projects. This position also acts as adviser to the Student Campus Greening Fund, which allocates a pool of $30,000-$45,000 per year to student sustainability projects. The director of sustainability directs the Green Job Corps and directly supervisors a full-time sustainability outreach coordinator and eight work study students, including an office manager, events and communications assistant, a reuse manager, and a five-person waste diversion crew.

The sustainable community development outreach coordinator works closely with faculty, staff, students, local citizens and organizations in the Town of Poultney. The outreach coordinator actively helps to build town-gown relations through increasing volunteer and service learning hours among college students and K-12 students in the Town. The outreach coordinator also helps to plan and carry-out major town projects such as the annual Earth Fair, the Poultney 2020 Revitalization Effort, East Poultney Day, and First Year Impressions (FYI!). The outreach coordinator also assists the director of sustainability in building educational outreach opportunities on campus related to sustainability.

The sustainability office manager is a student occupied, Green Job Corps supervisor position. The office manager serves as the direct supervisor for the seven person work-study crew that manages waste diversion, sustainability events, and sustainability communications. The office manager also assists the director with data collection and analysis, strategic planning, and general office tasks.

The website URL where information about the sustainability officer(s) 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.