Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 78.07
Liaison Kate Witte
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

Keene State College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Caitlin Holden
Sustainability Engagement Coordinator
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

Keene State College has numerous active student groups that focus on sustainability. As KSC uses a broad definition of sustainability that matches the AASHE STARS recommendation to consider the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Earth Charter, the groups that do sustainability related work are diverse. These include:

1) KSC Campus Ecology: The goal of Campus Ecology is "to establish environmentally sound practices on campus by promoting leadership, awareness, and action." They table on topics such as Fair Trade, show environmentally themed movies, practice and promote sustainable behaviors, sponsor or co-sponsor speakers, and educate the Campus community. Campus Ecology also develops partnerships with local sustainability related organizations. They co-sponsor the annual spring SolarFest, which includes live bands and educational activities--all solar powered.

2) Common Ground Multicultural Club: The Common Ground Multicultural Club provides a forum for students interested in topics related to diversity and multiculturalism to get together, provide support to one another, and organize social and educational events.

3) Environmental Outing Club: Helps students actively engage in outdoor activities, while promoting a clean environment and a sustainable future.

4) Feminist Collective: Women and men who support equal treatment and protection, by providing resources and events to the community.

5) Holocaust and Genocide Awareness: dedicated to spreading awareness for genocide prevention and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and previous genocides. Involved in various fund-raising activities, discussions, study groups, and movie nights.

6) Public Health Club: The Public Health Club has been in existence since 2015, and before that existed as the “Advocates for Healthy Communities”. This group addresses issues of sustainability in an inclusive way, ranging from assessing the overall health needs of the campus community, to offering ways to educate and advocate for the student population.

7) Global Culture Club: While the Global Culture Club’s primary focus isn’t sustainability, care has been taken to weave sustainability action and conversation into the club. This ranges from the food purchased for meetings, to choosing to travel with the fewest vehicles possible, to discussing environmental issues that impact students.

8) KSC Pride: KSC Pride is Keene State’s own gay/straight alliance that offers programming, resources, and support for people of the LGBTQ community and their allies. In addition to their weekly meetings, KSC Pride also hosts two major events each year -- KSC Pride Prom in the Fall and KSC Pride Parade in the Spring. These events aim to celebrate the community, increase visibility of the organization, and raise awareness of LGBTQ experiences for Keene State College and the City of Keene. KSC Pride exists to create spaces and communities on campus where students can bring their whole authentic selves and find places of belonging. By developing relationships with one another and the physical space, KSC Pride fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility to Keene State. The greater pride one feels about a place and a people, the greater one will work to support the health and wellbeing for others to be able to benefit from its gifts.

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project 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:

The Garden Owls, KSC’s gardening club, is an on-campus gardening group whose work is based in permaculture design. They have been active since 2016 and are currently in the process of becoming an officially recognized campus club. The Garden Owls welcome all students to participate as they practice sustainable and organic growing methods. They aim to produce edible plants in the Science Center courtyard, like fruits and herbs that are available to the KSC community, and educate people about native plants and pollinators. One of their goals is to teach students that they can grow at least a portion of their own food.

Additionally, KSC campus grounds are maintained organically, and students have regularly interned with the Grounds Department. There are also 6 raised beds between the library and the child development center that are maintained by a student-staff collaboration.

Finally, while not expressly focused on agriculture, KSC also has a student organization called The Hungry Owl, which focuses on alleviating food insecurity within the KSC community. The Hungry Owl has several food pantry-style drop off and pick-up locations and serves community members who might lack funding or access to food.

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The Keene State College Eco-Reps and ROCKS (Recycling on Campus, Keene State) lead the College's Move-Out and Move-In sales each year. These two events are the primary way the students gain revenue to fund their programs and they provide a donation to the Student Sustainability Innovation Fund that provides grants for sustainability focused research and innovation. The Move-Out sale, in particular, models the concepts of re-use and re-purposing and is a significant community event--for the College and beyond. The students are responsible for all facets of running this event: soliciting donations and completing "room sweeps" for desirable reusable items left behind; cleaning, sorting, and displaying items in an appealing "store-like" atmosphere; advertising the event; pricing items and running the event; collecting revenue; and cleaning up afterward. The Eco-Reps and ROCKS students try to add one revenue generating event each year to augment Move-In and Move-Out. In 2019-2020 they initiated a campus-wide photo contest called, "Capturing Beauty in Nature," that was designed to get people outdoors as an antidote to the pandemic. The winning photographs were displayed and prepared as a calendar that was sold to the campus community. Again, the students were involved in all facets of this enterprise from advertising, marketing, and revenue generation.

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative 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 College does offer a sustainable investment fund through the Keene Endowment Association (KEA) and it includes the student perspective by having many former students (Alums) serve on the KEA Board of Trustees. However, the KEA SRI fund does not formally engage current students. They are informally able to study it as part of classes.

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

The entire KSC community is invited to attend various presentations, speakers, and film events that focus on sustainability, sponsored by groups on campus ranging from The Office of Sustainability, The Environmental Studies Department, The Office of Diversity and Multiculturalism, and the Department of Holocaust and Genocide Studies. These events include sustainability related speakers, workshops, and films on topics such as natural and cultural history, social and economic justice, and peace-building. For example, the Monadnock Region Natural History Conference was held on campus in November 2019, with the entire Monadnock and campus community as the intended audience. Sessions covered issues ranging from the history of the relationship between humans and the natural world in the Monadnock region, forest habitat management, and the study and management of both water and wildlife in the region. In Spring 2020, The Eco-Reps hosted a movie night and panel discussion that brought together students, KSC staff/faculty, and community members. It was a very well attended event, beginning with a documentary on plastic use and pollution, and ending with an engaging panel discussion.
Sidore Lectures (https://www.keene.edu/news/events/detail/12130/)

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

KSC Redfern Arts Center engages performances about community, social justice and sustainability each year, often in collaboration with the Office of Multiculturalism and Diversity. The Redfern also focuses on programming that involves place-making and connecting participants to their place. For example, in March/April of 2018, The Redfern hosted Artist in Residence Brad Houk, who led participants through a community map making project, intended to capture in a graphic form special or important places in the Keene community (https://www.keene.edu/news/events/detail/9071/). Additionally, there are two permanent art installations on campus that reflect the Ashuelot River Watershed, which KSC abuts. These are located in the lobby of the KSC Science Center and outside the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, and both encourage campus community members to learn more about the watershed and about our impact on it. Also in the Science Center, the open courtyard is planted with native trees and other plants, to mimic a native New England forest.

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

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

The Environmental Outing Club is a student group that organizes and promotes hiking, camping, climbing and other outdoor activities. Their mission statement is to "Help students actively engage in outdoor activities, while promoting a clean environment and a sustainable future." The Outing Club adheres to the Leave No Trace principles. Additionally, KSC offers a course titled “Outdoor Recreational Leadership”, with a field component and a strong emphasis on Leave No Trace principles.
Keene State College students also are able to participate in a summer and winter outdoor leadership and experiential education program designed to learn about recreation leadership, risk management, sustainable tourism, group dynamics, team building, and much more (See: https://www.northernoutdoors.com/maine/college-programs/). The curriculum is described from the web site as:
Keene State College Winter & Summer Courses:
These hands-on, seven-day outdoor leadership courses deliver 4 undergraduate credits as participants explore the trails and landscape of western Maine. The course is available in the winter and summer. Students are housed in comfortable lodge accommodations throughout the program.
Winter Courses: Team Building, Leadership Skills, Snowmobiling, Skiing, Map and Compass, Snowshoeing, and Snowboarding.
Summer Courses: Team Building, Leadership Skills, Rafting, Climbing, Hiking and Map and Compass.
All feature stewardship and Leave No Trace training.

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

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

All entering Freshmen and Transfer students participate in a Community Service Day which predominantly focuses on sustainability projects (e.g., storm drain stenciling for the City, tree plantings, gardening, trash and river clean ups). Additionally, KSC has recently implemented a new program for all entering first year students, called the First Year Seminar. The First Year Seminar class is focused on the transition that new students make to Keene State College. Instructors use the College Wide Learning Outcomes (CWLO) as a guide to help focus their work. One of the CWLO is Sustainability, so that is woven into the coursework throughout the semester. Sustainability is highlighted in different experiences, both on a personal level and when talking about the campus. All students are given a sustainability survey as part of the course. The goal of the First Year Seminar is to ensure that all entering first-year students are provided a curricular and co-curricular experience while infusing CWLOs.

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

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

Residential life provides students with the opportunity to live and learn with others who share similar interests. These communities practice life skills. Several of these living and learning communities focus on sustainable living, equity, diversity, social justice and community service. Additionally, KSC has a robust internship program, and many students have the opportunity to intern with offices on campus. The Office of Sustainability hosted 5 interns in the Fall of 2019, and the focus of our work together was on creating sustainable living guidelines that could be implemented at KSC to ‘green’ the places in which our community lives, works, and hosts events. Finally, the Office of Sustainability is in the process of implementing educational signage throughout our physical office and on campus, to teach the campus community about a wide range of sustainable life skills/choices.

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

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

Three student employment opportunities exist within the Office of Sustainability: Eco-Reps, ROCKS, and Green Bikes. These programs were described in detail earlier, and include peer-to-peer education on sustainability topics as well as running food waste and trash audits, campus clean ups, the campus re-use room, the campus recycling program, and the campus Green Bikes program. Website links with more information about each of these programs can be found in EN-1: Student Educators Program.

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

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

The Keene State College (KSC) Office of Sustainability and President's Council for a Sustainable Future initiated a Sustainability Graduation Pledge to complement the Sustainability Pledge all first year students take, in conjunction with an educational video and talk during orientation. The idea is that first year students will take the pledge upon their arrival at KSC to become familiar with the goals and behavior expectations of being a KSC community member and the graduation pledge extends this commitment to the students as they leave the College so they fulfil the College's motto of "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve."

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

The Environmental Studies Department has a robust co-curricular program with the Harris Center for Conservation Education where students work as interns and student research assistants. See: http://www.keene.edu/news/stories/detail/1476824701196/. More information on this partnership can be found in section EN-10: Community Partnerships.

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.