Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Jack Byrne
Submission Date May 1, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Middlebury College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Jack Byrne
Director of Sustainability Integration
Environmental Affair
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that fall into the following categories?:
Yes or No
Active student groups focused on sustainability Yes
Gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems Yes
Student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes Yes
Sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills Yes
Conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles Yes
Sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences Yes
Programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills Yes
Sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution Yes
Graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions Yes
Other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives Yes

The name and a brief description of each student group focused on sustainability:

Middlebury has many active student-governed groups focusing on various aspects of sustainability, from environmental activism to food issues. The groups are described below.

Campus Sustainability Coordinators are a group of students dedicated to promoting sustainable living habits in the dorms and on campus.

The Solar Decathlon Team worked over the past two years to design and construct a solar powered home that placed 8th overall in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Competition. During the school year, interdepartmental courses were organized for students working on the project.

The Middlebury Mountain Club regularly organizes weekend outdoor trips for Middlebury students. Students, faculty, and staff can rent equipment from the MMC.

Weybridge House is the Sustainable Food Studies House. Weybridge residents preserve food from within a 100 miles of the house. Food is eaten by residents and served to the campus community at several open dinners and events each week.

The Middlebury Bike Shop provides free help fixing, taking apart, and building bicycles of all kinds. At the beginning of every year, the Bike Shop organizes a used bike sale for the campus community.

The SGA Environmental Affairs Committee works on environmental issues relevant to students, faculty, and staff on campus.

The Sunday Night Group is an open-space forum for students to express their ideas and find support for initiatives concerning political, social, and environmental activism.

Eat Real is a group of students committed to conscientious eating and the cultivation of a more sustainable food system at Middlebury.

The MEAT club aims to teach and explain the importance of eating local meats instead of those produced in factory farms.

The Middlebury Socially Responsible Investment Club promotes social and environmental justice through Middlebury’s endowment.

The Green Engineers work to develop innovative environmentally-friendly technologies.

The Middlebury Fermenters Guild teaches fermentation workshops while expanding their library of fermentation recipes. The group aims to create a culture where students are more connected with their food.


The website URL where information about student groups is available:
A brief description of gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems:

The Middlebury College Organic Farm (MCOF) is a student organization that maintains a 3-acre plot of fruits and vegetables. The produce grown at the garden reflects a balance between efficient, profitable crops and more labor intensive, less productive crops grown for educational purposes.

The MCOF also has a full-time Manager and Educator who works with students during the growing season to plan, plant, maintain, and harvest garden products during the growing season. During the off-season, she advises student groups related to food. She also manages the College FoodWorks program and serves as a focal point for the Vermont location of FoodWorks.


The website URL where information about the organic agriculture and/or sustainable food systems projects and initiatives is available:
A brief description of student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes:

There is a student-run bike shop for which students fix abandoned bikes and earn revenue by selling them at a bike sale every semester (http://www.middlebury.edu/sustainability/transportation/bikeshop) and a student managed cafe focused on providing healthy, responsible food options (http://www.middlebury.edu/studentlife/dining/retail/node/453497).

A team of Middlebury students placed 8th in the 2013 Solar Decathlon competition sponsored by the Department of Energy. This competition not only involves designing and building a solar home, but also doing a great deal of fundraising and communication (http://sd13.middlebury.edu/).


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprise(s) is available:
A brief description of the sustainable investment or finance initiatives:

In August of 2013, President Ron Liebowitz issued a statement on divestment and shared the following actions on which the college will focus:

First, the Investment Committee of the board, including its student members, will work to develop a set of stronger ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) principles that we can apply to our investment portfolio, both to identify those companies and managers who invest with certain principles in mind and those who consistently do not. As part of this effort, we will intensify our ongoing review of the College’s investment portfolio.

Second, we will create ESG guidelines to help monitor investments and operations at our own campus in Vermont. We will issue periodic reports on our performance.

And third, we will increase significantly the amount of the endowment directed toward ESG investments, including those focused on clean energy, green building projects, and other efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit the environment.

The student run, Socially Responsible Investment club announced in January 2014 that is has created a new sub-group, the Research and Investment in Social Equity (RISE) fund, that will focus on investing $150,000 of the College’s endowment in companies that demonstrate strength in sustainability and social responsibility in addition to considering traditional financial indicators.


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment or finance initiatives is available:
A brief description of conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

Environmental Studies hosts the Howard E. Woodin Colloquium Series every Thursday during the school year. Students, faculty, staff, and community members come together over lunch to hear from a broad range of speakers — faculty, alumni, environmental professionals, and students — as they cover a variety of conservation and environmental topics. Another sustainability event is the Scott A. Margolin Lecture in Environmental Affairs, an annual lecture with an interdisciplinary approach to the natural environment and human interaction with it. Environmental Affairs also hosts various sustainability-related speakers and film screenings throughout the year. Students who receive Sustainable Study Abroad Grants report on their projects at a symposium every semester.

In the 2012-2013 academic year, Environmental Affairs hosted Environmentalist-in-Residence, Mark Tercek. Tercek, CEO of the Nature Conservancy, visited two classes, contributed his insights at a roundtable with Environmental Studies faculty and staff, had a video conference discussion with faculty and students at Monterey Institute of International Studies, and gave a public presentation. In January 2014 Environmental Affairs hosted Gary Nabhan, author, farming and food advocate, and W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center. Nabhan visited classes, lead a discussion about his newest initiative, contributed his insights to the Franklin Environmental Center’s visioning project, and engaged a larger audience though a public event with Schumann Distinguished Scholar Bill McKibben.


The website URL where information about the event(s) is available:
A brief description of cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

The Mahoney Center for the Arts hosted the exhibition "Nature Transformed: Edward Burtynsky’s Vermont Photographs in Context" in the Spring of 2013. The exhibit incorporated several associated events such as lectures and a film screenings. Burtynsky received an honorary degree in 2013.
http://museum.middlebury.edu/exhibitions/past/2012-2013/node/843

"Environmental Observations: Land, Light, and Weather of Autumn" was exhibited in the Fall of 2013. The exhibit consisted of student art from the class "The Landscape Re-Imagined." This exhibition’s art works depicting the natural environment and the climate that causes it.

In the winter and spring of 2012 the Mahoney Center for the Arts hosted the exhibition, "Environment and Object • Recent African Art." This exhibition featured works by contemporary sub-Saharan African artists that respond to urban, natural, and economic environments. From appropriated waste materials turned into site-specific installations and sculptures to photographs of ravaged and degraded environments, the exhibit included works of art that scrutinize man-made environmental disasters, natural resource problems, deforestation, and other ecological issues.

In the Spring of 2015, the Mahaney Center for the Arts and the Music Department will present "The Nile Project," a performance project with music from the 11 countries touching the Nile river, bookended by panel discussions, workshops, and other related events concerning water resources, commerce, and international rights and relations. http://www.nileproject.org/

Many of Middlebury's Art in Public Places artworks have a sustainability connection and are visible throughout campus. http://www.middlebury.edu/arts/campus


The website URL where information about the cultural arts event(s) is available:
A brief description of wilderness or outdoors programs for students that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The Middlebury Outdoors Program and the Middlebury Mountain Club both offer numerous opportunities for students to appreciate nature, develop skills in a wide range of outdoor activities and how to practice Leave No Trace principles. The Outdoors program offers:

Outdoor Skills Courses - PE credit-bearing courses in a wide variety of outdoor activities. Canoeing and kayaking, rock and ice climbing, telemark skiing, backpacking, and winter camping are among the courses offered.

Wilderness First Aid Courses - essential knowledge for all outdoor leaders, as well as those interested in personal adventures. MOP sponsors both Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and Wilderness First Responder (WFR) courses taught by SOLO.

February Outdoor Orientation- introduces incoming February first-years to their new home here in Vermont. Small groups of first years and upper class leaders venture into the mountains surrounding campus on skis and snowshoe for overnight trips. FOO! provides a wonderful opportunity to get to know other first years and establish relationships that can help ease the transition to life at Middlebury.

Expeditions - periodic trips venturing beyond our typical programming areas in New England and New York. These trips typically occur during the various recesses in our academic calendar.

Commons-Based Outdoor Excursions - aimed at building community within the Commons, and providing healthy and invigorating recreational opportunities, these day-long adventures help small groups of commons residents explore our natural surroundings.

Faculty Support - for faculty interested in integrating outdoor experiences into their curriculum. MOP helps plan logistics, choose sites, and coordinate outdoor leaders.

The Middlebury Mountain Club (MMC) is Middlebury’s largest and oldest student organization. The club is entirely organized and operated by students. The MMC sponsors and encourages Middlebury students to experience and enjoy the out-of-doors responsibly (using Leave No Trace principles), offering year-round activities throughout Vermont, the Adirondacks, and beyond. The Mountain Club's commitment to expanding access to outdoor adventure includes trips for all abilities, free equipment rental, and skill-building workshops. Additionally, the club hosts annual community events, sponsors environmentally-themed presentations and symposia, and screens films.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

For the academic year 2013, the Office of Sustainability Integration chose the theme of 'carbon neutrality by 2016' for the incoming Class of 2016. The office developed and printed a graphic novel "Super Sustainability, the Road to Neutrality" that was provided to every incoming freshman and infused orientation week with numerous sustainability/carbon neutrality related activities and materials all of which carried the "CO2016 Make Neutrality a Reality" logo. The office also produced a three part skit acted out by upperclassmen and alumni at the barbecue held immediately after the freshman convocation at the beginning of the school year.


The website URL where information about the theme is available:
A brief description of program(s) through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The Weybridge Environmental House is home to students who seek to inform themselves and the College community about pressing environmental issues. House members form a community of supportive peers with a shared interest in examining our role as humans within greater natural systems. They also seek to minimize their negative impact on the environment. Through faculty discussion dinners, lectures, hikes, letter-writing campaigns, and networking with other college environmental houses, Weybridgers strive to live responsibly. Weybridge has a unique meal plan. Instead of going to the college dining halls, residents order food in bulk from the main dining hall and cook for themselves as a community. They also supplement their vegetarian diet with a harvest from the house's organic vegetable and herb garden. Weybridge houses approximately 10 students each year.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-focused student employment opportunities:

The Office of Sustainability Integration employs at least one summer intern and several interns throughout the year depending on projects, needs, and student interest.

Every summer an intern completes the Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Other recent intern projects include developing a sustainability themed graphic novel, researching alternative transportation options around Middlebury and ways of promoting them, helping launch Middlebury's pilot energy literacy campaign, contributing to the collection of STARS data, and researching sustainability strategies and methods of accounting for transportation GHG emissions.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportuntities is available:
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A brief description of graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions:

Leading up to graduation, students are asked to sign and online pledge stating “I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work.”

When students pick up their graduation robes, there are green ribbons available for those who have signed the pledge to wear at commencement.


The website URL where information about the graduation pledge program is available:
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A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Representatives from athletic teams choose to be sustainability liaisons. This group of athletes is working with the Director of Athletics and Office of Sustainability Integration to develop a green certification program for athletic teams at Middlebury.


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available:
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