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

STARS v2.0

Oberlin College
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Mary K. Campbell
Communications and Web Initiatives Intern
Office of Environmental Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for national, state/provincial, or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

The Oberlin Project provides a framework for Oberlin College and the City of Oberlin to work collaboratively to adopt new ordinances and policies to increase the sustainability of our community. For example, our Grounds Department lobbied for changes to ordinances to permit natural landscaping. In recognition of the importance of sustainability, Professor David W. Orr, a leading faculty voice on these issues, was appointed Special Assistant to President on Sustainability and Environmental Affairs. He speaks and advocates internationally for sustainability policies.

Oberlin has advocated for renewable energy through the creation of the Sustainable Reserve Fund. When Oberlin College agreed to purchase an estimated 60% of its electricity from green sources, the college worked with the municipal power utility and the City Council to create a Sustainable Reserve Fund from the money paid towards green attributes. This fund contains the $2 per MWhr that Oberlin pays as a premium for green power. This money is overseen by the City Council and is available for local energy conservation and greenhouse gas reducing projects. So far, portions of these funds have gone towards two local projects: the purchase and erection of a wind monitoring tower to assess the potential for local wind energy generation, and the infrastructure for a local biofuels station that sells biodiesel and ethanol fuels.

Oberlin took a leadership role in environmental stewardship when it became one of the nation’s first institutions of higher education to accept the goal of climate neutrality by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). As a charter signatory, Oberlin was one of the first four schools in the United States and the first in its peer group to sign the ACUPCC. Building on the growing momentum of action on climate change, the ACUPCC provides a framework and supporting mechanisms for America’s colleges and universities to rapidly accelerate this effort. It capitalizes on the critical role of colleges and universities to serve as examples for their communities and to train the people who will develop the social, economic and technological solutions to reverse global warming.

Following the completion of the College’s first greenhouse gas inventory, the Office of Environmental Sustainability worked with the Committee on Environmental Sustainability to develop a comprehensive Campus Climate Action Plan. This plan assesses the impacts of the college’s current level of emissions, develop indicators and targets for continual improvement and outline a specific implementation plan and priorities for improvement. In 2009, Oberlin submitted A Plan to be Carbon Neutral that set a target of carbon neutrality by 2025. Following the college's lead, the City of Oberlin passed their own Climate Action Plan in 2011, which Oberlin College endorsed and signed. The plan set systematic goals of reducing the baseline inventory emissions by 50% by 2015, 75% by 2030, and 100% by 2050. The City is on track to reach the first milemarker through a power purchase agreement to receive 90% renewable electricity by 2015.

Oberlin College was a key player in the development of the City of Oberlin's Zero Waste Plan. The City observed many of the strategies that the College has used to reduce waste, increase recycling, and conserve resources, and worked to adapt and apply these strategies to the city as a whole. Oberlin College worked cooperatively with the City throughout this process.


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years:
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A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
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The website URL where information about the institution’s advocacy efforts is available:

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