Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.61
Liaison Alan Brew
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Northland College
EN-5: Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution held at least one sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at students and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability? :

Has the institution held at least one sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at employees and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Name of the campaign:
Project Clean Plate

A brief description of the campaign, including how students and/or employees were engaged:

Project Clean Plate aims to reduce food waste on Northland’s campus and raise awareness of food waste resulting from the leftover food scraps thrown out by students in the cafeteria. The program is headed by the Northland College Compost Program and Chartwells (Northland’s cafeteria vendor). The program tracks plate waste from students, faculty, and staff in the cafeteria and set goals for reduction. It also provides incentives to reduce food waste in the form of food donations by Chartwells to the local food center.

The compost crew keeps separate buckets for kitchen prep waste and cafeteria plate waste. At the end of each day when the compost crew picks up the buckets, they measure the weight of the food in the buckets and keep track of the weights in a log. Measurements exclude special event days when external groups may be visiting the campus.

To start, there is a week of “silent weighting,” where the compost crew weighs the plate waste students make every day for a week without notifying the students beforehand in order to set a benchmark. After this silent weighting, they begin our educational side of the program, where they put up signs and table tents in the cafeteria and communicate to students how much food is wasted in the United States, and how much food they throw away every week. During this phase, the compost crew notifies students that they will conduct a weekly measure of food waste in the cafeteria and provide incentives for them to reduce food waste.

Table tents in the cafeteria with information about food waste data are used along with posters around campus to promote the initiative. Students, faculty, and staff who eat in the cafeteria were are educated with small signs posted in the food line area to remind them to take only what they will eat.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign:

The students of Northland College are sustainability minded, and were very receptive to a program like this in their cafeteria. The hope is to continue this as an annual campaign. After the silent weighting, we found out that about 480 pounds of food a week, or just under 70 pounds of food a day comes from student’s plate waste.

Benchmark weighting for one week at start of campaign: 476.9 lbs
Weighting for one week at conclusion of campaign: 447.8 lbs
Amount of food saved: 29.1 lbs (6.1% of benchmark)

The website URL where information about the campaign is available:
Name of the campaign (2nd campaign):
Annual Plastic Bag Drive

A brief description of the campaign, including how students and/or employees were engaged (2nd campaign):

The Recycling Coordinators hosted a plastic bag drive to collect as many bags as possible from around campus and the community. The bags were properly recycled instead of ending up in the landfill.

For engagement, the recycling coordinators tabled roughly 17 hours throughout a week in the student campus center talking with students, faculty, and staff. The coordinators explained the purpose of the drive and brought attention to Northland's plastic bag recycling program. They also used social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to spread the word.

The plastic bag drive was also a competition--teams of 1-3 individuals earned points by bringing in as many used plastic bags and chip bags as they could find. The College collected the bags during tabling hours. Teams could also gain points in other ways, such as: (1) signing a 'commit to quit' form, where individuals promised to quit using plastic bags for non-recyclable applications; (2) making a poster about why using reusable bags is better; and (3) other forms of public advertising aimed at reducing the consumption of plastic bags. Prizes were awarded to the winners.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign (2nd campaign):

The goal of the plastic bag drive was to raise awareness that plastic bags are recyclable and that they can be recycled on campus. A total of 930 bags were collected: 918 grocery bags and 12 chip bags.

The website URL where information about the campaign is available (2nd campaign):
A brief description of other sustainability-related outreach campaigns, including measured positive impacts:

Electronics Waste Recycling Day: In cooperation with a regional vendor, Northland hosts an annual electronics waste collection event for the campus and broader community. Each event has resulted in over a semi trailer worth of material being collected for recycling and reuse.

Conserve-a-Thon: Every year Northland run a month-long energy-saving contest between the residence halls. Data is tracked from utility meters to determine the best-performing residence. The results of the contests include: concrete reductions in energy consumption during the competition period, increased awareness of ways to conserve energy, a greater understanding of the benefits of saving energy, and inspiration for students to develop additional programs (such as creating "student consultants" to go to residence hall rooms and conduct energy audits and make recommendations for changes). The winning residence halls receive prizes.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

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.