Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.13
Liaison Bridget Flynn
Submission Date March 9, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Oberlin College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Bridget Flynn
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Sustainability
"---" 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 ---
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 ---

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

• Anti-Frack: An environmental-justice oriented, student-governed group dedicated to fighting extractive industries and supporting affected communities in Ohio.

• Oberlin Animal Rights: Oberlin Animal Rights (OAR) supports and promotes animal rights activities on campus, including volunteering opportunities at an animal sanctuary, promoting vegetarian/vegan dining, and coordinating speakers for campus programs. In addition, the group hosts fun events like craft-making and writing letters to political prisoners, as well as working to eliminate animal testing on campus.

• Bike Co-op: The Oberlin Bike Co-op is an organization governed and staffed by volunteer student mechanics with its mission based in teaching people about bikes and how to fix them, in promoting bicycle culture and in being open, friendly and fun.

• Green EDGE Fund: A student board that manages a set of accounts designated for loan and grant allocations. The mission of the Green EDGE Fund is to support projects that promote environmental sustainability within the Oberlin College & City community while promoting innovation and education, and projects at Oberlin College that meaningfully improve efficiency and reduce resource consumption.

• Headwaters Magazine: Headwaters aims to be not just an environmental magazine, but a tool for the Oberlin environmentalist. They maintain a list of environmental groups and upcoming events for those seeking to engage in green activities in and around Oberlin with articles, op-eds, photography, and other art. Entirely student run, they invite submissions from Oberlin College and the wider community.

• Oberlin College Outings Club: The Outings Club is Oberlin College’s largest outdoors-oriented student group. They are entirely student-run and have a goal of making outdoor sports more accessible to students. To realize this goal, they have two major functions: renting gear and organizing trips. The largest trips happen during Fall and Spring Break. Any Oberlin student is eligible to participate in a trip, and participation is determined by lottery. They rent gear to any student any time of the year besides the summer.

• Oberlin Storm Water Management Project (OSWAMP): The Oberlin Stormwater Management Project (OSWAMP) is a grass-roots, student-run organization committed to restoring Plum Creek within the Great Lakes Basin through community outreach, education, and low impact design projects. OSWAMP encourages the improvement of stormwater management practices for the benefit of everyone in the community.

• Oberlin Gardening Resource Outreach Workers (OGROW): OGROW’s mission consists of:
a) connecting students interested in gardening to each other and to projects they can get involved with; b) funding and helping create garden projects on campus and in the local schools; c) building knowledge of gardening, garden education, school farms, and sustainable agriculture through speakers, workshops, and other events d) providing a de-stressing environment for students with fun gardening events!

• Ohio Public Interest Research Group: Ohio Public Interest Research Group at Oberlin works to address pressing public interest and social justice concerns such as poverty, political corruption, and environmental sustainability on behalf of the Oberlin students and community.

• Ohio Student Environmental Coalition: The Ohio Student Environmental Coalition is a statewide network of student groups working for a clean, safe, and just future for all. They are guided by a Steering Committee comprised of student representatives, alumni, and staff supporters.

• Resource Conservation Team: The Resource Conservation Team (RCT)'s mission is to help Oberlin College decrease its ecological footprint and meet its commitment to climate neutrality by reducing the amount of resources it uses and the amount of wastes it produces.To meet these goals, they use research, education, and community collaboration to implement recycling, source reduction, and ecological regeneration.

• Recycled Products Co-op: The ultimate mission of the Recycled Products Coop (RPC) is to provide affordable recycled office supplies to the Oberlin community at large, specifically Oberlin College students and other interested parties, thereby stimulating the larger market for recycled products manufacturing and development, while at the same time creating a sustainable, at-cost product option for all economic classes of office supply users.

• Slow Food Oberlin: Slow Food Oberlin is an on campus chapter of the international Slow Food movement working to change the Oberlin community's relationship with food. They advocate for Good, Clean, and Fair food by educating, engaging and empowering college and community members.


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 Johnson House Garden is a student-run organic garden and orchard on campus maintained by the Resource Conservation Team. The "J-House" Garden composts on-site and sells some of their produce to dining halls.

The George Jones Farm is a 70 acre farm and nature preserve owned by Oberlin College and operated by the New Agrian Center. Students work at the farm during the semester and over the summer as paid interns.


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:

The Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA) is a student-owned and -operated nonprofit that has run cooperative housing and dining at Oberlin for over sixty years. Over six hundred students eat in co-ops and around 175 of those members live in co-ops. OSCA attempts to be as sustainable as possible and do their own purchasing, cleaning, and cooking. Student positions include HLEC (Housing and Loose Ends Coordinator), DLEC (Dining Loose Ends Coordinator), Head Cook, Bread Maker, Granola Maker, Tasty Things Maker, and more! OSCA has established connections with local farmers, and whenever possible, co-ops purchase food from nearby farms, supporting area farmers rather than agribusiness. As one of the most financially stable student co-ops in the country, OSCA is able to loan money and give grants to local businesses and other co-ops. OSCA currently supports environmental, community revitalization efforts, other co-ops, and gives grants to non-profit and charitable organizations.


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

The Green EDGE Fund finances environmental projects on the Oberlin College campus and (occasionally) in the Oberlin community. The EDGE Fund is administered by a Student Board, which includes a Student Senate Liaison, is supported by a faculty advisor, and is overseen by the Office of Finance and Facilities Operations.

The Fund can support two different types of projects: efficiency loans and sustainability grants.

Efficiency loans are given for projects that have clear and timely financial paybacks into the fund. The efficiency loans are not like a standard bank loan, where the borrower pays back with interest; instead, our “loans” are paid back with monetary savings achieved through efficiency improvements.

Sustainability grants do not have any payback requirements. We expect them to be used without recovering any of our investment. Hence, these funds support projects that increase Oberlin's sustainability but don't produce easily quantifiable savings: example sustainability projects include covered bike racks, a student operated garden, and a community renovation program.

We have these two types of projects because we have have two funding sources. Part of our funding comes from the college administration, which has asked us to only invest in projects with clear financial paybacks (the efficiency loans). The other part of our funding comes from activity fees paid by the student body, which supported using the funding for either efficiency projects or general sustainability projects (the sustainability grants).


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:

The Environmental Studies Program speaker series regularly brings in notable environmentalists to guest lecture in courses and speak publicly. Oberlin routinely hosts a wide array of sustainability-related conferences, including Northern Ohio's Clean Energy Future: Regional Prosperity, Opportunity, Leadership (2011), Community-Based Social Marketing Workshop (2010), Power Shift Ohio (2009), Ohio Green and Growing: Local Governments Fostering Economic Development and Sustainability (2008).

The annual Ecolympics competition is a collaboratively organized three-week water and electricity conservation competition and community events. In 2013, there were 31 events in the three-weeks of the competition. Events range from film screenings to guest lectures, from garden service days to sustainability trivia. Some of these events are particularly geared towards students, while others encourage the entire community to attend.

Additionally, beginning in 2012 the College initiated a campus-wide dialogue series focused on our carbon neutrality efforts. The From Coal to Carbon Neutrality series hosted a series to events discussing Oberlin's energy past, present, and future, ethical implications of natural gas use, a campus community workshop, and learning from other institutions.

In 2016, the Global Issues Symposium was initiated https://new.oberlin.edu/events-activities/global-issues-symposium/index.dot The first symposium focused on Climate Change Consequences: Disruption, Migration, and the Development of Resilient Communities.


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:

There are many cultural events that relate to sustainability. One such installation in 2013 was the Face-to-Face AIDS photo mosaic that was installed on campus for a few weeks in the Mudd Center (the library where most students go to work and study). Each year the college/student groups host multiple musical and theatrical events related to sustainability. The Cat and the Cream, a student-run coffeehouse and performance venue, maintains a zine library showcasing student publications on a variety of topics, including sustainability issues. In addition, the 2017 Ecolympics competition featured an environmental themed gallery walk showcasing student artists. The theme was sustainability/issues pertaining to our environment and a variety of mediums were displayed. The show featured students who are passionate about combining their art with environmental issues.


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 Outings Club helps organize excursions and rents gear. They sponsor three to five open trips during fall and spring breaks and some weekend or day trips during the warmer months. They have had Leave No Trace training and encourage all members to follow Leave No Trace principles.

The Bike Coop regularly organizes rides throughout the area.


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:
---

The website URL where information about the theme is available:
---

A brief description of program(s) through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Oberlin's Experimental College (ExCo) program allows students or any community member to teach a course for credit! This regularly includes sustainable life skills courses, from "Ecology, Meditation, Mindfulness" to "Practicum in Nature Journaling" to "Solidarity Economics."


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

The Environmental Dashboard Project, the Community-based Social Marketing Project, the Office of Environmental Sustainability, and the Oberlin Project all offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities.


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

Graduating students are asked to sign Oberlin's graduation pledge: "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." Those who sign the pledge are given a small card with the pledge and a green ribbon that they can wear during commencement.


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

Oberlin's Bonner Center for Service and Learning offers a variety of co-curricular sustainability-related opportunities for students.


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

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.