Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.57
Liaison Kelsey McCormick
Submission Date Sept. 23, 2019

STARS v2.2

Lawrence University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kelsey McCormick
Sustainability Coordinator
President's Office
"---" 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:

Greenfire is a student-run organization that seeks to educate the Lawrence University community of environmental issues, advocate for environmental justice, and promote environmental policy. The group lives in a themed-house on campus.

Bird and Nature Club seeks to foster a greater appreciation for nature in the Lawrence community by providing opportunities to learn about nature and conservation. The club recently installed a pollinator garden on campus.

Biodiversity and Sustainability Club works to reduce invasive species and restore native plant biodiversity to campus. They aim to promote awareness of the value of biodiversity among Lawrence students and the local community.

Outdoor Recreation Club organizes and leads outdoor trips for students throughout Wisconsin and the nation. Trips often include hiking, climbing, camping, kayaking, and sometimes community service.

SLUG grows fresh produce for the Lawrence community using sustainable agricultural methods in the garden, orchard, and apiary. SLUG actively educates and fosters dialogue within the Lawrence and Fox Cities community about sustainable agriculture in order to create a more just food system and a stronger community. The group lives in a themed house on campus.


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 Sustainable Lawrence University Garden (SLUG) is 0.25 acre organic garden that is entirely student-managed and staffed by student volunteers. In addition to growing food for the campus cafeteria, SLUG composts approximately 35 tons of pre-consumer kitchen waste from campus annually. The gardens consist of a five hive honeybee apiary, perennial fruit tree orchard, and 1/4 acre annual garden with a 90-foot hoop house.


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 Sustainable Lawrence University Garden (SLUG) is managed as a student-run sustainable business, including a long-term contract with the campus dining facility to provide food and accept compost kitchen waste. The income generated by the garden pays the salary of 3-4 garden employees and has allowed for the addition of a fruit orchard and bee-hive.


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:

In 2011, the student government voted to create a $5 per term ($15 per academic year) "Sustainability Fee" for all students. The fund was approved by the Board of Trustees and is now managed by the Sustainability Steering Committee. The fund is open to student project applications at any point throughout the year.


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 Spoerl Lecture Series is an endowed lecture series meant to bring speakers and scholars to campus to educate the community on sustainability and environmental issues. In 2018, the Spoerl lecture series, in partnership with the Center for Community Engagement and Social Change, hosted activist and organizer Claire McClinton to speak about her efforts and an organizer during the Flint Water Crisis. In spring of 2019 the Spoerl lecture series partnered with the Sustainability Steering Committee to host Jacklyn Bryan, an Equal Justice Works Fellow advocating for environmental justice on Wisconsin tribal lands.


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:

Water and Time: Contemplating environmental change through music, art and geology

This collaborative project was undertaken by the departments of piano, art, and geology at Lawrence's northern campus, Bjorklunden. The visual artists made sculptures on the beach, the geologists explained the landscape that had evolved over billions of years and the musicians contributed pieces that evoked the eternity of nature. A performance was held on the main campus on May 1, 2018.


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 Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC) is a student organization that regularly organizes outdoor trips including kayaking, camping, hiking, trail running, and orienteering. ORC provides gear for all excursions, opening opportunity to the entire student body. ORC follows leave no Trace principles on their excursions.


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:

Lawrence's hosts 3 notable themed semesters that consist of taking a series of courses and then applying that knowledge during a off-campus study experience. The themed semesters include: Sustainable China (one term devoted to understanding sustainability in China and ends with a culminating experience in 5 different cities in China), the Sierra Leone experience (students take a class titled: Environmental Challenges in Africa and are then encouraged to conduct their own research during the field study trip to Sierra Leone), Marine Term (Students take 3 courses on coral reef ecosystems, ecology and human effects on reef environments in preparation for a two week field study in the Caribbean).

Lawrence also has a history of hosting community reads, in which students, faculty and staff (at times, community members) read a common book and join in discussion, sometimes bringing the author to campus for a reading. In the 2018-19 school year Lawrence hosted two community reads focused on sustainability. One example includes Dan Egan's The Death and Life of the Great Lakes.


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:

Students that want to decrease their environmental footprint while living on campus can apply to live in one of three of Lawrence's small houses focused on living a sustainable lifestyle. SLUG (Sustainable Lawrence University Garden) House, Greenfire House, and the Co-op house. All three of these houses work to eat local food and practice sustainability through actions such as waste reduction, recycling, and water and energy conservation.

Viking Ambassadors in Service and Engagement (VASE) is a program offered by Lawrence's Center for Community Engagement and Social Change. The program aims to get first-year students volunteering, making connections and learning about issues in the Fox Valley early in their time at Lawrence. In Fall of 2019, the 10-week program was focused on Environment and Sustainability. The Center planned outings each week to introduce students to organizations in the Fox Valley that are focused on sustainability. As a part of the program student volunteers would volunteer 1-4 hours a week.


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

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

Students hired as Residence Life Advisors are assigned to one of five educational focus areas based on their interests. One focus area is sustainability. Approximately 15 students fit into this educational focus area each year. Additionally, The Volunteer and Community Service Center employs a student Environmental Sustainability Program Coordinator to facilitate relationships with local environmental organizations where students can volunteer.

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):

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

Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.