Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.61
Liaison Kate Ullman
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Northland College
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.75 / 4.00 Scott Grinnell
Professor of Physics
Academic
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

Sustainability and environmental stewardship are at the heart of Northland's mission. All leadership decisions, programs, and curriculum involve a consideration of sustainability.

The College's Strategic Plan commits to:
• Creating distinctive and transformational educational experiences for our students, preparing them for service, leadership roles, global citizenship, and fulfilling lives and careers.
• Being a healthy, thriving organization built on a sound financial base.
• Providing leadership and scholarship that address regional and global challenges.
• Cultivating collaborations that support the resiliency of our communities, preserve our natural resources, and strengthen our region’s intellectual, cultural and economic assets.
• Modeling sustainable practices that recognize and respect ecological systems and societal needs.
• Upholding the principles of trust, respect, and accountability in the creation of an innovative, nurturing, and just campus community.


A copy of the strategic plan:
The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
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Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
No

A copy of the sustainability plan:
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The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
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Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
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Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):

The Employee Handbook addresses sustainability:
"Northland is an environmental liberal arts college. An environmental liberal arts college is one in which the natural world and humanity’s place in it are recognized as intrinsic to success in all facets of human existence.
Northland is a values-driven organization, and successful employment at Northland is built upon the same values that drive our overall educational mission. Employees at Northland come to us with strong core values about the environment and humanity’s place in that environment. Northland strives to integrate those values with our work and our employment:
 We value our mission as an environmental liberal arts college engaged in the pursuit of academic excellence and education that transforms the lives of our students.
 We value the dedication of our faculty, staff, students, and trustees: we are a caring and close-knit community that encourages each individual to grow, learn, and become an agent of positive change.
 We value—as individuals and as a community—the place where we live and work, and we are committed to sustainability and good stewardship in order to conserve this place for the generations that will follow us.
 We value, finally, the humility and awe that these connections generate in us: connections that tie our fate to that of the planet.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College provides all students with a comprehensive understanding of sustainability through its Liberal Education Program. This program includes three options:

Superior Connections: Develops expertise in the natural and human histories of the Lake Superior watershed to study and engage a variety of complexly interconnected environmental and cultural issues.
Growing Connections: Works closely with faculty mentors and regional farmers in classrooms, labs, and fields to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of food systems and of the role that agriculture plays in human culture and ecological health.
Natural Connections: Integrates liberal arts studies with an environmental emphasis, enabling those it serves to address the challenges of the future.

Consistent with this mission, the College's Liberal Education program prepares students to be leaders in understanding, communicating, and acting upon the complexity of environmental issues, and in working to understand and address societal dynamics that create and are influenced by environmental issues (Strategic Plan).

Specifically, the measureable objectives of the Liberal Education Program is for students to demonstrate . . .
•foundational skills in written communication and mathematics;
•a breadth of disciplinary learning characteristic of a liberally educated individual;
•an understanding of diversity, inequality, prejudice, and discrimination; and
•an understanding of natural systems and the complex relationships between human endeavors and the natural world.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College's six Sustainability Centers provide research opportunities for faculty, staff, and students on issues of sustainability. The measurable success of the research will be in the form of publications, presentations, collaborations with local, regional, and global agencies, and learning opportunities for students and others regarding sustainability (Strategic Plan).

Furthermore, the College will support faculty research outside of the Centers, which can be measured by the above plus the curricular benefits of student engagement.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College empowers students to be campus leaders in sustainability by strengthening the Eco-Rep program, supporting the student association (NCSA), and providing opportunities for students to be effective in creating a more sustainable campus and world. Northland College students galvanize the entire campus community with their enthusiasm, as measurable by the number and vitality of sustainability events (Strategic Plan).


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College's six Sustainability Centers engage the public through presentations, lectures, films, fieldtrips, research, and educational opportunities that focus on environmental and social sustainability. The College will continue to strengthen its connections with alumni in support of the College and its mission, recruit Board members that have expertise and passion for sustainability, expand Northland's role in the local food system, and engage the public as the College move's towards carbon neutrality (Strategic Plan & Climate Action Plan).


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College will become a climate neutral campus by 2030 (Climate Action Plan).


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College will become a climate neutral campus by 2030 (Climate Action Plan). Also, Maintenance (under the management of Sodexo) reports measurable objectives and outcomes for managing deferred maintenance and building upgrades.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College will become a climate neutral campus by 2030 (Climate Action Plan). In addition, the College commits to pursuing all new construction with the goal of making each new building zero-net energy through innovative design and renewable energy systems.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College commits to sourcing 80% local food for use in the cafeteria by 2020 (Campus Strategic Plan). The completion of the Hulings Rice Food Center in July 2017 significantly advances the College toward this goal.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College commits to reducing fertilizer and pesticide use, reducing the prevalence of invasive species on parts of campus, reducing potable water use for irrigation (particularly for athletic fields), and moving towards zero stormwater discharge by 2020. These are included in policies for Buildings and Grounds and the Burke Center Zero-Stormwater initiative.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

1. Purchase products that are produced locally and/or from local vendors (e.g. Chartwells food policy).
2. Procure products that are certified to meet credible third-party sustainability standards (e.g. Chartwell food policy).
3. Purchase goods that protect the users health and safety (e.g. Maintenance/Janitorial Supply policy).
The following are part of internal documents in the Business Office, Maintenance, Food Center, and others:
4. Purchase products that are recyclable or compostable and that contain a high percentage of postconsumer recycled content.
5. Purchase from suppliers who strive to improve their environmental performance and who can document the supply-chain impacts of their efforts.
6. Reduce waste at the point of purchase.
7. Purchase durable and reusable goods.
8. Purchase resource efficient goods
9. Lease and rent when appropriate (e.g. Maintenance policy)
10. Buy goods in bulk or concentrated form (e.g. Business Office, Food Center, and others).
11. Procure refurbished goods and utilize refurbishing services (e.g. Maintenance policy).


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College will not engage in discrimination in its programs, activities, or policies against prospective or current students or against prospective or current employees on account of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, age, personal handicap, gender, or sexual orientation (Employee Handbook). The College will demonstrate value for unique perspectives, multiple identities, and various ideas our students, staff, and faculty. The College values a diverse, vibrant campus community.

The College will make its programs affordable by offering a variety of need-based scholarships; it will work with the local tribes to foster greater enrollment of Indigenous peoples, and it will work with local and federal agencies to provide scholarship and grant opportunities. The goals will be measured by the number of students receiving need-based financial aid, the number of low-income students enrolled, and the overall diversity of the campus.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Board of Trustees voted positively at the July 2017 Board meeting to divest the College's endowment of fossil fuels within a window of five years. This was in response to a formal resolution put forward by the Northland College Student Association (NCSA) and in support of the College's environmental mission.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The College will provide a safe, healthy, and thriving organization built on a sound financial base and a focus on full-spectrum sustainability. It will uphold the principles of trust, respect, and accountability in the creation of an innovative, nurturing, and just campus community (Strategic Plan).


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
Yes

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

Mission Statement: Northland College integrates liberal arts studies with an environmental emphasis, enabling those it serves to address the challenges of the future.


The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):

Northland College uses the Natural Step definition of sustainability:
In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing…
(1) concentrations of substances from the earth’s crust (such as fossil CO2 and heavy metals), (2) concentrations of substances produced by society (such as antibiotics and endocrine disruptors), (3) degradation by physical means (such as deforestation and draining of groundwater tables). And (4) in that society there are no structural obstacles to people’s health, influence, competence, impartiality and meaning.


Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) No

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

In 2007, Northland became a member of the leadership circle of signatories of the American Colleges and Universities Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). As part of its commitment under the ACUPCC, Northland College has committed to pursue carbon neutrality by 2030. This will involve identifying aggressive opportunities for energy efficiency improvements in all campus buildings, exploring opportunities for purchasing and producing large amounts of renewable energy, and investigating technologies that will allow us to dramatically reduce or even eliminate our dependency on fossil fuels to heat and cool the campus.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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