Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.33
Liaison Michael Amadori
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Hobart and William Smith Colleges
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Rylee Wernoch
Sustainability Intern
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

1) Campus Greens: advocate sustainable practices on campus and encourage a healthy, environmentally conscious lifestyle within the HWS community
2) Environmental Representatives (EcoReps): student volunteers who work directly with the Office of Sustainability to develop and oversee various sustainability programs, including Waste Diversion Programming, Green Room Certification, Sustainable Orientation programming, and others
3) Real Food Challenge Working Group: group of volunteer students committed to the adoption of more healthy, affordable, local, and sustainable foods on and off campus through tracking HWS food purchases

The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):

Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects 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:

Farm: The HWS Fribolin Farm is located one mile from the main campus. It consists of 34 acres of farmland, ponds, apiary, and pasture with various buildings. The tillable land has been farmed organic for the past several years by a local farmer. The HWS Farm Committee was formed to help oversee the strategic development of the HWS Fribolin Farm. Several classes have focused research and projects on the farm, including, for example, environmental studies Senior Integrative Experience classes, biology courses, women's studies courses, and other classes. Projects have included the installation of a large high tunnel, growing fresh greens for a local lunch program for those in need, soil research, and growing vegetables for food preparation.

Campus Garden: The Colleges consolidated two student-run organic gardens located on campus into one larger garden plot (45’ x 60’) that’s tended by the Eco-Reps and summer students. The garden was developed out of a senior environmental studies capstone project – managed as a permaculture garden with six raised beds, a spiral herb garden, six cold frames, apple trees(2018) and strawberry plants(2018). The HWS Campus Garden is supported by HWS Buildings and Grounds, Finger Lakes Institute, and the Office of Sustainability.

High Tunnel: Students in the Sustainable Living and Learning Community first-year seminar installed a 20’x48’ high tunnel at the HWS Fribolin Farm which provides cover for fall/winter harvest. The farm has become a field site for class use, pilot projects, and co-curricular programming.

Service: The Finger Lakes Institute has coordinated and led an annual “Wake the Farm” initiative for HWS students to dedicate multiple days of service throughout the spring semester supporting the local and regional farm community. The mission has been to support sustainable agriculture and become more aware of the local and regional food system. Students are encouraged to create and source that week’s meal plan in the most sustainable, local way possible. The program has been led by coordinated by Finger Lakes Institute Community Outreach Coordinator Sarah Meyer in partnership with the HWS Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning.

The crops grown on the campus farm have received care from student volunteers involved with the Colleges’ Day of Service, new student Orientation, and students available after hours during summer science research. HWS students have participated in Day of Service in which they volunteered for the Growing Geneva Together Community Garden program and Geneva Peeps, a local egg cooperative. Among their tasks, students constructed raised beds, a fence, and shed, and distributed flyers to residents advertising the community gardening opportunity.

Roots and Shoots: HWS Professor of Geoscience Nan Crystal Arens coordinates the local Roots and Shoots program. Roots and Shoots is an international environmental education and service club for children and youth sponsored by the Jane Goodall Institute. The Seneca Roots and Shoots is an extracurricular program that meets weekly during the academic year with an average attendance of 15-20 children, ages 3-10. Every year, Arens recruits HWS students to volunteer weekly at the Roots and Shoots program.

The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):

Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives 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:

The Carver & DeLaney Family Environmental Studies Endowment supports student sustainability projects on the HWS campus and in local communities. The grants can be used toward sustainability initiatives, such as those related to energy management, water management, food/agriculture systems, biodiversity, community design, and outreach/education.

The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

Each year, the Colleges celebrate Earth Day welcoming guest speakers, and featuring a variety of films, activities and programs for a full week! During Earth Week 2017 programming including a camp-out on Fribolin Farm and documentary screenings. Other events included tabling for the Real Food Challenge, a seeding workshop and a waste audit. For Earth Week 2016, there was a multi-faith panel in response to Pope Francis’s encyclical, “Laudato Si,” which served as a call to action for sustainable environmentalism. Titled “Caring for Our Common Home,” the conversation brought together religious leaders from the Geneva and HWS communities to discuss the message of the encyclical as it pertains to the local region.In 2015, HWS hosted a panel, “Political Activism for the Environment,” which included special guest, Dominic Frongillo, founder of Elected Officials to Protect New York and five-time delegate to the United Nations.

Besides Earth Week we are always hosting sustainability-related events. For example, Hobart and William Smith hosted the third annual 24-hour Hackathon, addressing the issue of climate change (particularly in the Finger Lakes), on Sept. 30-31, 2017. The program took place at the newly established Bozzuto Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides critical programming and operational support for the Colleges’ most popular minor and fastest growing program of study. Over the course of the competition, 10 teams proposed solutions to address the pressing issue of climate change on a local level. Teams had the opportunity to discuss the topic with experts in the field of earth science, environmental studies, renewable energy, public policy and sustainability before they raced the clock to create a solution. They were tasked with creating a business solution for climate change and present it in a four-minute pitch to a panel of alum judges.

Annually, the Colleges offer the Sustainable Community Development Lecture Series, which connects students, faculty and the community with environmental issues of the region. It consists of three to five lectures each semester that are free and open to the public. ENV 101 students are required to attend. The lectures span a wide range of sustainability-focused and related topics, including, but not limited to, our built environment, agriculture and food systems, energy, water, materials management, community development and civic engagement. Speakers have included David Orr, the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and special assistant to the President of Oberlin College; and Douglas Farr, founder of Farr Associates, a sustainable architectural and planning firm. Orr is the visionary of the Oberlin Project, an all-encompassing joint venture between Oberlin College and its home community to create a thriving, sustainable, and environmentally friendly Oberlin.

Since fall 2013, HWS also has celebrated Food Day by hosting festivities throughout an entire week, including invited guest speakers, an on-campus farmers market, screenings of films/documentaries, and locally-focused meals offered at the campus dining hall, as well as other food-related events.

The Colleges also offer numerous and varied events throughout the year that are available to members of the HWS community and beyond. For example, more than a dozen experts converged on campus to discuss human-environment relations in Asia, spanning from Japan and China to Uzbekistan and Cambodia, during the fourth biennial “Half the World: Environment, Culture, and Sustainability in East Asia” Symposium funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. In addition, the Finger Lakes Institute also hosts seminars, “green bag” lunches, workshops and panel discussions.

The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

In 2017, the Colleges welcomed Israeli environmentalist Etai Pinkas to campus to discuss sustainable development and water preservation in Tel Aviv. Speaking to students and staff in the Geneva Room, Pinkas shared details of his role in reshaping urban spaces to improve quality of life, recycle infrastructure and minimize environmental impact. The Abbe Center for Jewish Life, which sponsored the event. Pinkas currently spearheads a major public park project that will construct public space over a major highway in the heart of Tel Aviv. One of “the 100 most influential people in Israel” according to Israeli news outlet The Maker, Pinkas has won a Green Globe for his work in sustainability and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Israeli LGBT Association for his role in advancing the recognition of same-sex marriage and ensuring equal rights for same-sex couples.

The Educational Exhibit Area at the HWS Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) hosts multiple public exhibits that present information focused on the Finger Lakes region’s scientific history, ecological health, and agricultural significance. “A Working History of Food and Farming in the Finger Lakes” is currently on display. It illuminates a range of interrelated material, including HWS Fribolin Farm history; the Colleges’ historic commitment to the regional food systems by our students, faculty and staff; and the importance of agriculture and food processing as an economic driver of the Finger Lakes economy.

The FLI Classroom hosts “Illustrate the Finger Lakes,” which welcomes local artists, students, and HWS employees to display their artistic interpretations of the Finger Lakes region’s natural environment as a way to emphasize the interdisciplinary approach to learning and living sustainably. In addition, FLI is hosting the exhibit, “Mottainai,” (translated as “a shame to waste”), a photographic reflection of Japan’s eco-consciousness and culture compared to the Finger Lakes.

In November 2015, Rachael Best ’18 and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Robin Lewis collaborated to host an on-campus screening of a new documentary "The True Cost," a film at the intersection of fashion and sustainability that reveals the story behind the clothing industry and the untold costs.

In early 2018, the HWS Abbe Center for Jewish Life hosted a special-themed version of its weekly dinner program, titled “Green Shabbat.” In collaboration with the Office of Sustainability and the HWS EcoReps, the dinner promoted Jewish culture and its commitment to caring for the environment.

The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The Pre-Orientation Adventure Program (POAP) is an optional, five-day outdoor adventure offered in August to incoming first-year Hobart and William Smith students. The program provides a chance to experience hiking, kayaking, or participating in a community service program in the greater Geneva area. Students also get a chance to meet classmates, learn new skills, ease into the collegiate lifestyle, and have a bit of fun before formal Orientation and classes start. Backpacking and kayaking trip destinations include in the Adirondack Mountains and Finger Lakes Region.
The Outdoor Recreation Adventure Program (ORAP) funds and schedules outdoor excursions and activities, including weekend and day trips. In addition, a student-built climbing wall is available to interested members of the HWS community during specified hours.
ORAP maintains a rental center that offers an inventory of equipment. The rental center possesses resource material such as maps and trail guides to assist students in planning and conducting their own outdoor activities. Located in Bristol Field House, the rental center is open on a part-time basis Mondays through Fridays during the school year and employs students who are knowledgeable about outdoor equipment and experiences.

The Wilderness Conservation House was an on campus house that 7 students lived in during the 2018/2019 school year. The goal of all residents living in the house was to educate and promote awareness of protecting and respecting our world’s outdoor spaces, to provide a living space for those who are passionate about exploring and preserving the outdoors, and to allow members to easily come together to work towards their common goal of engaging with the community and bettering the natural spaces around us.

The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Beginning in fall 2014, the Sustainable Living Learning Community launched with 56 first-year students. The two-semester long living learning community investigates the intersection of sustainability and consumption with a particular emphasis on the relationship between local actions and global effects. In the fall semester, approximately 56 students took one of four sections of the same First-Year Seminar (FSEM), “Sustainable Living and Learning,” with each section taught by a different faculty member. All four sections meet together once per week for a common experience (e.g. guest speaker, focused discussion, field trip, small project, etc.). As part of the FSEM, for example, first-year students toured the Ontario County Landfill and zero-sort recycling center, giving them the opportunity to find out what happens to garbage after it’s thrown out. The students not only learned about the significance of reducing waste, but also of the integral role the landfill plays in the local economy and community.

During the spring semesters, students remain in the sections, taking a linked course that extends learning throughout the year to create an integrated, interdisciplinary experience. For the entire year, all students of the Sustainable Living Learning Community live with one another in the same residence hall to improve co-curricular opportunities, build community, and better link the classroom to daily life.

The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The Sustainability Office coordinates the EcoRep program where students can learn about how to live more sustainably, while helping HWS achieve climate neutrality by 2025.

Additionally, the Sustainable Living Learning Community directly engages with 56 first-year students through curriculum and co-curricular programs. For the entire year, all students of the Sustainable Living Learning Community live with one another in the same residence hall to help improve co-curricular opportunities, build community, and better link the classroom to daily life.

Wake the Farm is an event occurring in the spring which allows students to attend multiple events that introduce them to basic farm and gardening practices.

Additionally HWS Center for Community Fragment and Service Learning (CCSEL) runs
an annual alternative spring break service trip to the Lyons NY Rural and Migrant Ministry. Students get the chance to stand with workers from South and Central American countries (including Mexico, Jamaica, and Haiti), and examine the various power and privilege dynamics between large agribusinesses and the rural workers.

The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

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

The Office of Sustainability hires interns throughout the academic year and during the summer. For the past two semesters, five senior EcoReps have been hired to lead smaller groups of EcoReps. Additionally, the Office of Sustainability hires an EcoRep Coordinator annually and others on an as needed basis.
The Finger Lakes Institute also offers continuous paid opportunities for students in the fields of environmental stewardship, food and agriculture systems, environmental education, sustainability research, and others. Under the Finger Lakes Institute Community Development Center, up to five student interns have been hired each summer for the past three summers to conduct several community development projects with local organizations and municipalities.
Since 1987, HWS have offered diverse student employment opportunities, including sustainability-focused, through the Undergraduate Research Program. This year’s opportunities include projects with faculty mentors on campus in environmental studies, biology, chemistry, geosciences, physics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, math education, and mathematics. A few recent examples of summer opportunities include:
- Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum
- Finger Lakes Sustainable Economic Development Internship
- Aquatic Invasive Species – Early Detection and Rapid Response
- Dispersal and Ecological Impacts of Invasive Species in the Finger Lakes
- Audubon Seabird Internship
- Ethics of Community Resilience

With the support of the Tree Campus Committee, the Finger Lakes Institute and Office of Sustainability, HWS have employed several Urban Forestry student interns during the past several years. Since 2012, HWS student interns conducted an inventory of nearly 800 trees on campus for the application of the US Forest Service iTree Streets software, an analysis tool created and used to calculate the monetary and environmental value of urban forests.

Since summer 2012, several HWS student interns have researched and analyzed the local food system for promoting economic vitality and food security within the Finger Lakes region and in New York State. Student interns have investigated the feasibility of vertical integration of all possible links in the pre-consumer supply chain for local food including production, distribution, processing, large institutions, and possibly restaurants. Other student interns focused on the utilization of more sustainable food (e.g. fair trade, organic, humane, etc.) at the HWS campus dining facilities. These efforts have fostered and supported our Real Food Challenge student working group in efforts to bring more sustainable foods to the HWS campus.

The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:

Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledges:


The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):

Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) is the home of co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives at HWS. The FLI is dedicated to the promotion of environmental research and education about the Finger Lakes and surrounding environments. In collaboration with regional environmental partners and state and local government offices, FLI fosters environmentally-sound development practices throughout the region, and disseminates accumulated knowledge to the public.

The goals of the FLI are to:
• Advance, coordinate and disseminate scientific understanding about the Finger Lakes environment;
• Provide interdisciplinary training for the next generation of environmental researchers, educators and policy makers;
• Serve as a clearinghouse for environmental information about the region;
• Enhance understanding of environmental issues by regional policy makers and the public;
• Promote models that integrate economic, environmental and social impacts of specific economic development strategies; and
• Create and disseminate educational resources and opportunities at all levels.

Research projects carried out by FLI faculty and collaborators are often interdisciplinary and primarily focused on water quality and other issues relevant to the Finger Lakes region. Research projects provide background information and insights about the local environment and systems.

Education is focused on developing curricular materials and resources that support and extend middle school and high school inquiry-based environmental education. The FLI creates, disseminates, and coordinates a variety of educational initiatives in the Finger Lakes region including the Science on Seneca and Stream Monitoring programs and the Finger Lakes Youth Climate Summit.

Community Outreach promotes knowledge, resources, and life experiences leading to stewardship of the Finger Lakes. Programming is targeted to a variety of learners and ages to inspire participants to become active and knowledgeable citizens of the Finger Lakes.

Economic Development and environmental quality are inextricably linked in the Finger Lakes region. Comprehensive land use planning, policy development, and sustainable enterprise can help to simultaneously support and promote economic vitality and environmental protection in the region.

The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):

Additional documentation to support the submission:

See additional event posters for many of the events on campus focusing around the social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.