Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 34.83
Liaison Katie Wall
Submission Date March 24, 2022

STARS v2.2

Lees-McRae College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.75 / 2.00 Katie Wall
Program Coordinator
Outdoor Recreation Management
"---" 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:

Green Initiative

In Spring 2018, the Outdoor Recreation Management program launched a new campus-wide Green Initiative, led by students known as the Green Team.

A $3,000 BB&T Leadership Initiative grant, with the sole purpose of bringing leadership opportunities to campuses nationwide, will give the Green Team the ability to implement a recycling plan for both residence halls and academic buildings, a community garden, and compost program.

Lees-McRae proudly embodies the motto—In Montibus, Ex Montibus, Pro Montibus—which translates to in the mountains, of the mountains, for the mountains. The College’s history is deeply rooted in the Appalachian Mountains, and as inhabitants, it is crucial to ensure the mountains remain for future generations.


Last spring, several Outdoor Recreation Management students formed the Green Team and created the Lees-McRae Green Initiative to oversee recycling, the community garden, composting, and litter pick up to make our campus a greener place. After hard work and dedication, the Green Team in partnership with Facility Services is proud to announce campuswide recycling beginning Monday, March 18.

New recycling locations can be found in the Avery Residence Hall laundry room, Tate Residence Hall trash room, lobbies of both Tennessee and Virginia Residence Halls, and the first floor of Baldwin, Bentley, McMillan, and Cannon Residence Halls.

Currently, recycling is taking place in a handful of faculty and staff offices across campus as well as the Shelton Learning Commons and a variety of classrooms. Recycling pick-up will occur once per week and will increase frequency as necessary.

Reminder: Clear trash bags in blue bins indicate recycling and black trash bags in black bins indicate trash. We recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, and aluminum all together—no sorting is necessary! We do not recycle glass at this time. Cardboard needs to be broken down and set beside the recycling bins—not inside.

Join us in transitioning our culture and habits to one that promotes recycling and reduction—in, of, and for the mountains!


Personal composting bins are given out to students, faculty, and staff on campus so food waste can be collected and not discarded. Individuals with compost bins can drop their bin contents at the larger compost bins located in the Community Garden.

Bicycle and Pedestrian

Lees-McRae is designated as a Gold Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. This area of the Green Initiative understands that automobile ownership can be expensive and that utilizing a bicycle or walking as a means of transportation can reduce car usage on campus, contributing to a healthier lifestyle and environment. This area involves bicycle, pedestrian, and motorist education and safety; access to bicycles; and improvement of bicycle infrastructure and parking.


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:

Community Garden

Located behind the McRae House, the Community Garden is open for seasonal rentals. Groups of students (residence halls, academic departments, athletics teams), as well as faculty and staff, are currently utilizing space in the garden. Spaces open yearly so consider reserving a future garden spot for your group.


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:

Student Sustainability Council (SSC)

The Lees-McRae Student Sustainability Council (SSC)’s mission for Lees-McRae is to make students more aware of diverse ways to live sustainably and give them the opportunity to do so. We strive to make Lees-McRae a more sustainable campus to help the environment and reduce students’ impact.


Another way of helping this new council would be money factored into the Outdoor Recreation Management budget each year. We also have some ideas for fundraising which include asking for a donation from a locally owned sustainable business or corporate sponsorships to get us started.

The SSC has several specific goals:


· Obtaining and installing refillable water stations all throughout campus to reduce the amount of single use plastic water bottles being thrown away.


· Other long-term goals include:

o Establishing a campus-wide Green Fee - To be able to achieve the goals that we believe will help Lees-McRae become a more sustainable campus, we are asking for a Green Fund of a small amount be included in student fees each year.

o Increased recycling and education - Work with Facilities to create a strategic plan for greater recycling initiatives on campus

o Commuter offsets - Create initiatives for offsetting the impact of student, faculty, and staff commuters

o Carbon footprint off-sets for travel - Create a program that allows faculty and staff to invest in sustainable

o Solar panels – Invest small solar panels on campus for educational purposes and small offsets.


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:

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:

- Campus Sustainability Month, October
- Campus Earth Month, April

Both offer workshops and trainings in community gardening, composting, recycled arts and crafts, and Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics.

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:

W.O.K.E is a club designed to empower, educate and create community among Ethnic students on campus.

Events, gatherings, workshops, and campus collaborations

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:

Outdoor Programs offers you the opportunity to participate in outdoor educational experiences. Students will be educated on essential leadership skills and challenged to be an active participant in your environment and in your own life.

An outdoor equipment rental program is offered to all students, faculty, and staff and is FREE. Probably one of the only programs in the country that offers something like this.

All Lees-McRae rock climbing, hiking, and backpacking programs taking place on National Forest Service Lands are authorized under a Special Use Permit by the Pisgah National Forest.


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:

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:

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

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

There is one work-study position that is offered per academic year.

Job Description: Accurately answer all questions regarding SustainLMC; complete administrative tasks including data collection for STARS report, marketing, promotion, etc., assist with Green Team, Student Sustainable Council (SSC), and the Coaches Sustainability Committee, organize and facilitate sustainability-focused trips, clinic, and workshops; and serve as the student liaison for Aramark dining.

Requires motivation to learn many aspects of SustainLMC, written and verbal communication skills.

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:

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.