Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 81.82
Liaison Ryan Ihrke
Submission Date Feb. 23, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Green Mountain College
EN-2: Student Orientation

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

Are the following students provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability?:
Yes or No
First-year students Yes
Transfer students Yes
Entering graduate students Yes

Percentage of all entering (i.e. new) students (including transfers and graduate students) that are provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability (0-100):

A brief description of how sustainability is included prominently in new student orientation (including how multiple dimensions of sustainability are addressed):
All undergraduate, graduate and transfer students are offered sustainability orientation as an integrated part of their normal orientation program. For the graduate students it includes a discussion of the Sustainability 2020 strategic plan and a sustainability tour of campus with explanations of heating sources, recycling systems, sustainable transportation options, the campus farm and other areas. Graduate students must also participate in an on-line orientation where the College's sustainability mission, values and goals are highlighted. For the undergraduate orientation, GMC’s “green” orientation activities originated as a student project in 2008 and have since been built on by staff and student workers in the Sustainability Office and Student Involvement office. The current orientation incorporates practices and activities that instill the message of sustainability in new students and introduces them to the values and mission of the College. Wilderness Adventure Experience-- Before students arrive on campus for the traditional orientation, they are given the opportunity to participate in a group-bonding trip. These trips take place in the back-country, where LNT (Leave-no-trace) principles are taught and the students engage in community service opportunities. Other trips take place within the surrounding towns as students build relationships with community groups and local businesses. For all of these experiences, community service work plays a central role as a way to emphasize social sustainability. After students arrive on campus for the start of the fall semester, they engage in a more traditional orientation that includes a number of prominent sustainability components outlined here: Unity Project- During Fall 2016 Orientation, all first year students were participants in Green Mountain College's Common Unity Project. Coordinated by the Sustainability Office, the Common Unity Project asked students to share their individual identities while creating a group art project that demonstrated how as unique individuals each person was connected to one another and made up their new community at Green Mountain College. Social​ ​Sustainability​ ​Living​ ​the​ ​Mission,​ ​Whitey​ ​Hall​ ​Gorge During Fall 2017, this session on social sustainability was required of all entering undergraduate students. Students explored what it means to be a member of the GMC community through facilitated small group discussions regarding beliefs, commonalities, and differences that students bring with them and how the community will move forward with a diversity of ideas and experiences through their education at GMC. Compost & Recycling Available at All Events & Meals-- All events during orientation offer composting and recycling receptacles with examples of items taped to the side of the bins in order to teach students what goes into each bin. During the welcome back BBQ, sustainability office waste crew members staff waste collection stations to assist and educate how to dispose of waste at Green Mountain College. Free Sale-- In an effort to teach new students the value of reusing items rather than buying new items, a free sale is held. High-value items from the Free Store and Freepo (our two reuse stores) are set out in a high traffic area so that new students are tempted to check out the reuse stores. Sustainability helpers staff the sale, educate new students about the programs, and lead these students to the stores to pick out additional items they may need as they begin their time at GMC. Sustainability Table during Check-In-- The Sustainability Office (including the director of sustainability and sustainability office student workers) host a welcome table exclusively dedicated to sustainability. They share information about various sustainability practices on campus, advertise sustainability related work study positions available on campus, and ask students to write sustainability commitments on a welcome board. Images Dinner— First-year students are enrolled in the Images of Nature class, the first core course in the Environmental Liberal Arts curriculum. As their introduction to their new teachers and fellow classmates, the students take dinner-to-go to faculty residences. To minimize waste during this event, water jugs are filled with water to avoid the use of plastic bottles or disposable cups. Students are asked to bring their own reusable bottle and each are given a reusable to-go container that they can use for future to-go meals taken from the dining hall. In addition, every undergraduate teaching assistant assigned to each class is given a composting bin and recycling bag to bring to dinner in order to divert waste at the various locations. Orientation Play-- The student play highlights the sustainability culture of Green Mountain College. Topics covered include how composting works on campus and the focus of our Environmental Liberal Arts Curriculum. Waste Diversion Three Bin Challenge During the Fall of 2016 a 3-bin waste station is set up in a high traffic area and new students are invited to participate in a “3-Bin Challenge”. Students test their aim and waste-diversion know-how. Individuals pick out which ‘waste’ item goes into which bin and shoot it into the bin for a chance to win prizes. Sustainability Office Open House and Lunch Table- The Sustainability Office took part in an campus resources scavenger hunt during orientation where students stopped by to learn more about the office, sustainability initiative, and receive a free, up-cycled, hand-towel. During the lunch table, new students could join current sustainability leaders and the director of sustainability for lunch and discussion. Natural Areas & Invasive Species Orientation-- Students are given a tour of the natural areas on campus with lessons on practicing leave-no trace principles so that natural capital can be protected. They are also told about opportunities to help remove invasive species, especially glossy buckthorn and garlic mustard. Farm and Food Orientation -- Students are introduced to the sustainable campus farm, how to help with the farm chores and how the farm contributes to the local foodshed both on and off campus. Students learn how to process farm produce for items to be distributed through the local food pantry. Safe(r) Zone Training Through the Safe(r) Zone training, new students learn how to be a visible ally for queer and LGBT Green Mountain community members. With the Safe(r) Zone training students are provided with the knowledge and information necessary to help those in search of more information on topics related to gender and sexuality. Sustainability-themed Convocation Speakers-- Convocation takes place the first week of classes. The College has a tradition of selecting convocation speakers who are environmental leaders. In 2017, Lauret Savoy, author of Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape and professor of environmental studies and geology at Mount Holyoke was the featured speaker. In recent years, other speakers have included Rocky Robbins, associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, addressed the College with his presentation. “Education for the Well Being of the Land and the People,” Jan Reynolds, an author focused on recording vanishing cultures, Robert Michael Pyle, butterfly and month expert and the renowned author of 12 books on the natural sciences and Mitch Thomashow, an author, educator, environmentalist, theoretician, and philosopher specializing in bridging the practices of ecology and spirituality.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
Activities reported, student populations served, and percentage of students engaged represent orientation during the 2016-2017 academic year and Fall 2017.

Activities reported, student populations served, and percentage of students engaged represent orientation during the 2016-2017 academic year and Fall 2017.

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