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

STARS v2.0

Oberlin College
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Bridget Flynn
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have current and formal plans to advance sustainability in the following areas? Do the plans include measurable objectives?:
Current and Formal Plans (Yes or No) Measurable Objectives (Yes or No)
Curriculum Yes Yes
Research (or other scholarship) No No
Campus Engagement Yes Yes
Public Engagement Yes Yes
Air and Climate Yes Yes
Buildings Yes Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes Yes
Energy Yes Yes
Grounds Yes Yes
Purchasing Yes No
Transportation Yes Yes
Waste Yes Yes
Water Yes No
Diversity and Affordability Yes Yes
Health, Wellbeing and Work Yes No
Investment Yes No
Other --- ---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Curriculum:

The Environmental Policy Implementation outlines a number of strategies for further integrating sustainability into the curriculum.

In the Fall 2016, the Committee on Environmental Sustainability and the Office of Environmental Sustainability reached agreements with the Office of Registrar and keepers alternative course search engine to label sustainability courses in their databases. These changes will take affect in the Fall of 2017.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Curriculum plan(s):

As laid out in the Environmental Policy Implementation Plan adopted by the General Faculty:

1. Identify and tangibly support areas where the intellectual and pedagogical strengths of the College can be tapped to identify and address critical issues of sustainability.
2. Provide clear identification of sustainability-related courses in the Course Catalog.
3. Formalize and incentivize the further development and continuation of sustainability-related courses, particularly those that engage in ways to more effectively meet the objectives of the Climate Action Plan and align with STARS, in balance with the college's other goals and learning outcomes.
4. Capitalize on our need to develop a more complete understanding of our total environmental impact (e.g. conducting full life cycle analysis and accounting for embodied carbon) as an educational opportunity.
5. Identify and support entrepreneurial opportunities that can bring both the city and regional businesses into the educational experience of students.
6. Build mechanisms for maximizing the educational value of any sustainability related project directly and explicitly into the planning process. For example, student and faculty research can be incorporated into the design process; informative displays and truth windows can help educate about innovative technologies; assessment of technology can be integrated into the curriculum.

Oberlin College seeks to create a cultural norm of sustainability, and to serve as an example to other institutions. Further, it seeks to maintain its position as a leader of sustainability by continuing to attract talented faculty, staff and students to Oberlin. To do so, it is important to regularly communicate the College’s efforts, accomplishments and lessons learned both within and beyond Oberlin. Strategies for achieving this goal include:
1. Maintaining sustainability as an integral part of the Oberlin narrative (through the Office of Communications, Admissions, Development and anyone else that represents the Oberlin brand): sustainability is a shared value that is expressed through our financial spending, conservation practices, facilities planning, and curriculum.
2. Network with other institutions in higher education and the region, both to be a model of sustainability practices and to learn from their sustainability efforts.
3. Continue to apply for external sustainability related awards (e.g. AASHE awards), and provide support to faculty students and staff who do so.
4. Create an internal award mechanism for Oberlin faculty and staff to be recognized for their efforts supporting sustainability in Oberlin.
5. Report regularly on sustainability accomplishments to all constituencies. Communication venues include, but are not limited to: The Source/Oberlin OnCampus, annual reports to General Faculty, OES and departmental newsletters, press releases, and the Alumni Magazine.

The effective implementation of this plan requires at a minimum that all community members be informed about the contents of the Environmental Policy and Implementation Plan, and receive necessary training to implement it in their campus roles as appropriate. Strategies specific to particular parts of the plan appear in each Education subsection. Below are some overarching principles that guide these efforts.

1. Make the Environmental Policy and Implementation Plan easily accessible and available to all Oberlin students, faculty, and staff via BlackBoard.
2. Develop concise and user-friendly summaries of the parts of the Environmental Policy and Implementation Plan that are relevant to particular roles (e.g., administrative assistants, students).
3. Provide these summaries to all community members yearly via email, and make these
summaries easily accessible and available to all Oberlin students, faculty, and staff via
BlackBoard.
4. Include a discussion of the environmental policy and plan as it pertains to the College’s sustainability commitments in all orientations of new members to the community (faculty, staff, students).
5. Provide opportunities for training (e.g. technological skills, curriculum development) as needed.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Curriculum plan(s):

Committee on Environmental Sustainability, a standing General Faculty committee. Along with the Office of Environmental Sustainability to support the Office of the Registrar.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Research (or other scholarship):

The Committee on Environmental Sustainability and the Environmental Dashboard Project have endeavored to support faculty research and scholarship around sustainability. Additionally external funds have been sought that would encourage sustainability research. Strategies and funding are being pursued; no outcomes have been set.

Example: http://news.oberlin.edu/articles/grant-connects-study-asia-and-environment/


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Research plan(s):

The Environmental Dashboard hosted a faculty workshop with small grants for faculty to integrate use of the Dashboard into their courses.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Research plan(s):

Committee on Environmental Sustainability
Relevant departments, such as East Asian Studies and the Environmental Studies Program


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Campus Engagement around sustainability:

From the Strategic Plan: Reaffirm and take tangible action toward meeting Oberlin’s commitment to environmental sustainability. This includes creating an actionable and
financially feasible plan for achieving Oberlin’s commitment to carbon neutrality
by 2025. Our environmental commitments extend still further. Not only will our physical campus strive toward carbon neutrality, but also our students, faculty, staff, and visitors will seek to align their actions with our goals of sustainability, resiliency, and equity. In this pursuit, Oberlin will partner with the local and regional community and be a leader and model to others.

From the Environmental Policy Implementation Plan:
One of the most important advances in modern human understanding is the dawning awareness that the world is stitched together as systems of systems that make up the ecosphere. The totality cannot be fully understood from the perspective of any single discipline. Future generations will face problems and issues that require responses that transcend disciplines. As an institution of higher learning, Oberlin College has a responsibility to ensure that we educate our community members effectively for this new reality. All members of the institution will need to develop new analytical skills, perspectives, and the intellectual capabilities to recognize patterns that connect disparate phenomena over long periods of time.

Oberlin’s historical position of leadership derives not solely from its efforts to solve problems of race and social equity, but also from our refusal to accept difficulty as a sufficient excuse to avoid critical issues. This document identifies gaps in our understanding. Our faculty, staff and students represent a resource that is both critical and unique in addressing these gaps and finding solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Education at its very best is about wrestling with difficult issues. Addressing sustainability is not in conflict with our educational mission or outside of it, but absolutely integral to our purpose and strengths as an institution. The College has many important curricular goals. The College recognizes the need to balance all of these curricular goals; it also recognizes that these goals frequently complement each other in synergistic ways.

All members of the Oberlin community are involved in education -- both as teachers and learners. Students are obviously a main focus of Oberlin’s educational efforts in a variety of contexts: the classroom, residential life, extra- and co-curricular activities. But Trustees, faculty, staff, administration and our wider network of alumni and supporters all have the potential to learn from and contribute to education associated with our sustainability efforts. Even more broadly, as a leader in sustainability, Oberlin College seeks to educate other institutions and the general public by serving as a testing ground and a model for successful sustainability strategies.

To fulfill these goals, Oberlin will pursue 3 main educational strategies, outlined below. More specific exploration of how these principles are to be implemented in particular domains (e.g., energy, purchasing) appears in each individual section of this plan.

1. Engage, educate, empower and motivate our community around environmental stewardship and environmental problem solving.
2. Communicate our successes, initiatives, and lessons learned to effectively promote responsible environmental stewardship both on campus and beyond.
3. Train all community members about the environmental policy and how to implement it in their campus roles.

Because all members of the Oberlin community are involved in education, all members of the Oberlin community share in the task of ensuring that Oberlin realizes its educational goals. The College and Conservatory Deans, as leaders of their respective faculties, have particular responsibility to lead college faculty in incorporating environmental sustainability broadly throughout the curriculum, where appropriate. The Office of Communications, the Office of Environmental Sustainability, and the Committee on Environmental Sustainability have primary responsibility for communicating Oberlin’s sustainability efforts. Human Resources, department heads and the Office of Environmental Sustainability are responsible for ensuring that all community members receive information about this Plan and training to ensure they are able to implement the portions relevant to their roles.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Campus Engagement plan:

Engage, Educate, Empower and Motivate section from the Environmental Policy Implementation Plan adopted by the General Faculty

All of the College’s sustainability efforts represent a potential educational opportunity: a chance to engage community members in issues of sustainability, educate them about problems and potential solutions, empower them to seek out answers using rigorous intellectual tools, and motivate them to take action. Oberlin College seeks to create an institution that serves as a living, learning laboratory that actively engages students, faculty, staff and visitors in sustainability. This kind of education can and does occur through multiple venues (co-curricular, facilities, etc.), but will have the greatest impact and allow for significant cross-disciplinary learning if it is dispersed as broadly as practicable throughout the curriculum.

While the College and Conservatory have both incorporated environmental issues into parts of their curricula, Oberlin has yet to systematically address how sustainability is best incorporated throughout the curriculum or to have a campus-wide dialog about how to do so. Oberlin College uses AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking and Rating Systems, better known as STARS to comprehensively evaluate College progress on sustainability .. Currently, for STARS reporting, the College only accounts for the Environmental Studies Program as having defined learning outcomes related to environmental sustainability; other areas of study have the potential to develop such learning outcomes, but have not yet done so. Future revisions of this Plan will need to articulate exactly how sustainability is best infused into the curriculum. The 2015 strategic planning process provides an important opportunity for engaging faculty across all divisions and developing a vision of sustainability relevant to all disciplines and areas of study. Potential strategies include:

1. Identify and tangibly support areas where the intellectual and pedagogical strengths of the College can be tapped to identify and address critical issues of sustainability.
2. Provide clear identification of sustainability-related courses in the Course Catalog.
3. Formalize and incentivize the further development and continuation of sustainability-related courses, particularly those that engage in ways to more effectively meet the objectives of the Climate Action Plan and align with STARS, in balance with the college's other goals and learning outcomes.
4. Capitalize on our need to develop a more complete understanding of our total environmental impact (e.g. conducting full life cycle analysis and accounting for embodied carbon) as an educational opportunity.
5. Identify and support entrepreneurial opportunities that can bring both the city and regional businesses into the educational experience of students.
6. Build mechanisms for maximizing the educational value of any sustainability related project directly and explicitly into the planning process. For example, student and faculty research can be incorporated into the design process; informative displays and truth windows can help educate about innovative technologies; assessment of technology can be integrated into the curriculum.

D. Communicate

Oberlin College seeks to create a cultural norm of sustainability, and to serve as an example to other institutions. Further, it seeks to maintain its position as a leader of sustainability by continuing to attract talented faculty, staff and students to Oberlin. To do so, it is important to regularly communicate the College’s efforts, accomplishments and lessons learned both within and beyond Oberlin. Strategies for achieving this goal include:

1. Maintaining sustainability as an integral part of the Oberlin narrative (through the Office of Communications, Admissions, Development and anyone else that represents the Oberlin brand): sustainability is a shared value that is expressed through our financial spending, conservation practices, facilities planning, and curriculum.
2. Network with other institutions in higher education and the region, both to be a model of sustainability practices and to learn from their sustainability efforts.
3. Continue to apply for external sustainability related awards (e.g. AASHE awards), and provide support to faculty students and staff who do so.
4. Create an internal award mechanism for Oberlin faculty and staff to be recognized for their efforts supporting sustainability in Oberlin.
5. Report regularly on sustainability accomplishments to all constituencies. Communication venues include, but are not limited to: The Source/Oberlin OnCampus, annual reports to General Faculty, OES and departmental newsletters, press releases, and the Alumni Magazine.

E. Train

The effective implementation of this plan requires at a minimum that all community members be informed about the contents of the Environmental Policy and Implementation Plan, and receive necessary training to implement it in their campus roles as appropriate. Strategies specific to particular parts of the plan appear in each Education subsection. Below are some overarching principles that guide these efforts.

1. Make the Environmental Policy and Implementation Plan easily accessible and available to all Oberlin students, faculty, and staff via BlackBoard.
2. Develop concise and user-friendly summaries of the parts of the Environmental Policy and Implementation Plan that are relevant to particular roles (e.g., administrative assistants, students).
3. Provide these summaries to all community members yearly via email, and make these summaries easily accessible and available to all Oberlin students, faculty, and staff via BlackBoard.
4. Include a discussion of the environmental policy and plan as it pertains to the College’s sustainability commitments in all orientations of new members to the community (faculty, staff, students).
5. Provide opportunities for training (e.g. technological skills, curriculum development) as needed.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Campus Engagement plan(s):

Office of Environmental Sustainability
Oberlin Environmental Dashboard Project
CBSM Research Team
Residential Education
Campus Dining Services


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Public Engagement around sustainability:

From the Strategic Plan" Continue and deepen our connections with the larger community. Additionally, Oberlin College will seek to promote and provide for community employment and businesses as it moves forward in its initiatives. This
comprises both our support of the Oberlin public schools and our embrace of the Oberlin Project as a vehicle for community education, artistic access, environmental sustainability, and economic development. This includes the development of a community and economic development implementation plan that articulates goals for our support of the Oberlin public schools, the Oberlin Project, and our hiring and contracting from the local community. The plan will also identify appropriate strategies to measure and mechanisms to communicate progress, including concrete benchmarks that will be reported to the General Faculty by the beginning of the spring 2017 semester.

From the Environmental Policy Implementation Plan: Oberlin College seeks to create an institution that serves as a living, learning laboratory that actively engages students, faculty, staff and visitors in sustainability.

Oberlin College seeks to create a cultural norm of sustainability, and to serve as an example to other institutions. Further, it seeks to maintain its position as a leader of sustainability by continuing to attract talented faculty, staff and students to Oberlin. To do so, it is important to regularly communicate the College’s efforts, accomplishments and lessons learned both within and beyond Oberlin.

Additionally, Oberlin College is committed to resilience via the Second Nature framework copied below.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Public Engagement plan(s):

From the Strategic Plan:
STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION 2.4
Further develop opportunities for students to be involved in civic engagement in Oberlin, Lorain County, and greater northeast Ohio.
As part of our relationship to the larger community, we will continue to share the resources of the College of Arts and Sciences, Conservatory of Music, Allen Memorial Art Museum, and libraries in innumerable ways with the City of Oberlin and the region.
We must also continue to build robust public and private sector partnerships and make thoughtful investments in local and regional economies, knowing that these relationships are both mutually beneficial and the right thing to do. Oberlin College will maintain its support of the Oberlin public schools as well as the Oberlin Project, which aims to revitalize the local economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development.

STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION 2.5
Continue and deepen our connections with the larger community.
Additionally, Oberlin College will seek to promote and provide for community employment and businesses as it moves forward in its initiatives. This
comprises both our support of the Oberlin public schools and our embrace of the Oberlin Project as a vehicle for community education, artistic access, environmental sustainability, and economic development. This includes the development of a community and economic development implementation plan that articulates goals for our support of the Oberlin public schools, the Oberlin Project, and our hiring and contracting from the local community. The plan will also identify appropriate strategies to measure and mechanisms to communicate progress, including concrete benchmarks that will be reported to the General Faculty by the beginning of the spring 2017 semester.

STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION 2.4
Further develop opportunities for students to be involved in civic engagement in Oberlin, Lorain County, and greater northeast Ohio.
As part of our relationship to the larger community, we will continue to share the resources of the College of Arts and Sciences, Conservatory of Music, Allen Memorial Art Museum, and libraries in innumerable ways with the City of Oberlin and the region.
We must also continue to build robust public and private sector partnerships and make thoughtful investments in local and regional economies, knowing that these relationships are both mutually beneficial and the right thing to do. Oberlin College will maintain its support of the Oberlin public schools as well as the Oberlin Project, which aims to revitalize the local economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development.

From the Environmental Policy Implementation Plan:
Strategies for achieving this goal include:

1. Maintaining sustainability as an integral part of the Oberlin narrative (through the Office of Communications, Admissions, Development and anyone else that represents the Oberlin brand): sustainability is a shared value that is expressed through our financial spending, conservation practices, facilities planning, and curriculum.
2. Network with other institutions in higher education and the region, both to be a model of sustainability practices and to learn from their sustainability efforts.
3. Continue to apply for external sustainability related awards (e.g. AASHE awards), and provide support to faculty students and staff who do so.
4. Create an internal award mechanism for Oberlin faculty and staff to be recognized for their efforts supporting sustainability in Oberlin.
5. Report regularly on sustainability accomplishments to all constituencies. Communication venues include, but are not limited to: The Source/Oberlin OnCampus, annual reports to General Faculty, OES and departmental newsletters, press releases, and the Alumni Magazine.

E. Participation in sustainability networks

Organizations and institutions dedicated to environmental sustainability and conservation are valuable sources of information and advice, and Oberlin College policymakers should take advantage of this resource. Moreover, colleges and universities with similar buying practices can form purchasing consortia for green power, recycled paper, etc. as well as “sharing consortia” to facilitate the reuse of office equipment, building materials, etc. Oberlin College will seek to:

1. Participate in nationally or internationally recognized programs and organizations, such as AASHE.
2. Collaborate with the City of Oberlin and with other educational institutions to help effect its environmental policies.
3. Bring expert individuals and advisory groups to campus for consultation with appropriate sustainability staff.
4. Be represented at national and regional conferences and events to share best practices and facilitate collaboration amongst other institutions and advocacy organizations.

The Oberlin Projects goals include: Our current goals include:
- Creating one of the first climate positive cities in America by shifting the City and College to renewable energy sources, radically improving efficiency, sharply reducing our carbon emissions, and improving our economy in the process.
- Creating new and supporting existing business ventures in energy efficiency and solar deployment, food and agriculture, and the sustainable use of local resources.
- Conserving 20,000 acres of green space and developing a robust local foods economy to meet 70% of our consumption.
- Creating an educational alliance between the College, the Oberlin schools, the Joint Vocational School, and Lorain County Community College focused on integrating sustainability into education at all levels.
- Developing a 13-acre Green Arts District at the US Green Building Council Platinum level.
- Serving as a model that can be replicated in other communities. This all includes the City's goal to achieve climate positivity by 2050. Strategies and timeframes are listed in the Climate Action Plan. See more at oberlinproject.org

The Oberlin Dashboard Project engages children in the city schools, local businesses, and all residents of Oberlin through digital signage displaying resource use, community voices, and more. See the Citywide Dashboard here: http://www.oberlindashboard.org/brd.php

Resilience Commitment: http://secondnature.org/climate-guidance/sustainability-planning-and-climate-action-guide/building-blocks-for-sustainability-planning-and-climate-action/climate-resilience/


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Public Engagement plan(s):

Office of Environmental Sustainability, Committee on Environmental Sustainability, Office of the President, The Oberlin Project, Oberlin Environmental Dashboard, as well as the Office of Community & Government Relations


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Air and Climate:

See the College's Climate Action Plan and ACUPCC.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Air and Climate plan(s):

Carbon neutrality per the ACUPCC by 2025. Specific reductions see Climate Action Plan.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Air and Climate plan(s):

Specifically the OES, FacOps, and Facilities Planning and Construction (FP&C).


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Buildings:

Go beyond LEED Silver as a minimum for new buildings and major construction, as well as integrating sustainable principles into all projects from landscape design to carpet choices.

This commitment was adopted in 2006 and is included in our Environmental Policy Implementation Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Board of Trustees Capital Planning Indicator 23c.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Buildings plan(s):

Currently, our standard is LEED Silver or equivalent or better for new campus buildings and major renovations.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Buildings plan(s):

Facilities, Planning and Construction, Facilities Operations, and Office of Environmental Sustainability


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Dining Services/Food:

One of the many commitments of Oberlin's dining and food services is commitment to the Real Food Challenge (signed by President Krislov in 2013) with a goal of 40% "real food" by 2020.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Dining Services/Food plan(s):

"Real Food" as defined by the Real Food Campus Commitment as "fair, sustainable, humane, or local." Our timeline is by 2020. Commitment here: http://www.realfoodchallenge.org/commitment

Bon Apetit Management Company (BAMCO) has many company-wide goals in addition; some are listed here: http://www.bamco.com/sourcing/


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Dining Services/Food plan(s):

Campus Dining Services, Bon Appetit, and the CDS Recyclers and Real Food Challenge Working Group.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Energy:

From Climate Action Plan:
In order to achieve this (carbon neutrality by 2025) the next decade or two must be characterized by:
• Increasing energy efficiency of Oberlin’s existing buildings;
• Increasing supplies of low- or no-carbon electricity and heat;

From Environmental Policy Implementation Plan:
III. ENERGY USE AND PRODUCTION

A. Guiding Principles

Energy use and production release CO2 as well as a variety of environmental pollutants with local, regional, and global impacts. Fossil fuels are especially problematic. The scientific consensus is that humans have already added too much CO2 into the natural system. Human behavior is adversely impacting climate stability by increasing land- and sea-surface temperatures, thus creating more extreme weather events. An overwhelming majority of climate scientists have identified 350 ppm as a safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. Currently our atmosphere contains 400 ppm of CO2 . Thus as a species we must not only reduce carbon emissions to zero, but also take actions to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Removing CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere on a planetary scale is essential to stabilizing global climate, and its achievement is one of the greatest challenges to the survival of humankind.

As an institution of higher education, Oberlin College has a special obligation to be proactive and responsible in its management of energy. Consequently, it has committed to the long-term goal of "climate positivity", a condition whereby the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases through all activities associated with College operations is less than other activities that remove carbon from the atmosphere. However, we must also remember that carbon is but one part of a complex sustainability picture; as we minimize our carbon footprint, we will need to balance the benefits of carbon reduction against other measures of sustainability, as well as against economic and social considerations.

Responsible energy management requires that environmental costs be considered along with operational costs. The College recognizes that sometimes a monetary premium is required to achieve important environmental benefits. Oberlin also recognizes that technology, energy costs, and related knowledge are dynamic, and that options and goals must be continuously assessed to maintain responsible energy management. Many energy conservation measures can be adopted and altered quickly, but changes in the infrastructure (buildings, heating plant, consumption of electricity) will require careful research, long-range planning and large capital investments in addition to advancements in energy technology.

To meet our energy goals, the College will pursue three main strategies:

1. Conserve energy as much as possible (i.e. changing human behavior to reduce consumption).
2. Ensure the energy that we use is used efficiently (i.e. using technology that accomplishes more work with less energy input).
3. Aggressively pursue a renewable energy portfolio.

The College secured a PPA to install a 2.27 MW solar array on campus property in 2012. This array supplies ~12% of the College's current electricity needs. The College aims to incorporate renewables where makes sense for the College and adds educational value and makes economic sense.

Oberlin's municipal utility, OMLPS, secured contracts to provide approximately 90% renewable power supply to Oberlin College & community.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Energy plan(s):

From Climate Action Plan:
1. Implement all energy efficiency measures available to the College through investment-grade
energy efficiency audits.
2. Implement a continuing steam maintenance program, focused on steam trap maintenance, as
well as steam and condensate leak repair.
3. Replace the coal-fired central heating plant with a landfill gas-fired system, maximized at 11.2MW. The next best feedstock option would be biomass.

From Environmental Policy Implementation Plan:
Develop plans as rapidly as feasible to ensure carbon reductions in line with our 2025 carbon neutrality goal.

F. Measurement, Verification, and Monitoring

Per the ACUPCC requirements, the Office of Environmental Sustainability records and publicly reports greenhouse gas inventories and carbon neutrality progress, which can be found here: http://rs.acupcc.org/search/?institution_name=oberlin&carnegie_class=%3F%3F&state_or_province=%3F%3F.

To be consistent with national reporting standards, Oberlin College does not currently factor in greenhouse gas emissions of extraction and transportation into our inventory, but we will strive to incorporate this information into our decision-making. In addition to being consistent with our commitment to be moral leaders, this also presents an opportunity for further research and education. The College will consider the full life cycle impacts of extraction, manufacturing and transportation methods on wildlife, landscapes, human health, and human labor practices. We will strive to reevaluate our assumptions and our decisions based on the best available science. We will also work with organizations such as STARS and ACUPCC to expand the accounting of such life cycle impacts in our Scope 3 emissions.

The College is comprised of roughly 100 buildings totaling approximately 2.5 Million square feet. In order to accurately represent and understand our energy use on campus, the College must have consistent metering for steam, electricity, and chilled water systems. Currently the level of building control automation as well as energy use and consumption monitoring and tracking varies greatly from one building to the next. As a result, there is a huge opportunity to not only improve verification but also to identify potential savings by increasing access to clear and accurate real-time energy consumption information.

An enhanced and comprehensive campus-wide Building Automation System, updated and maintained metering technology, and user-friendly monitoring and reporting platform for all respective building energy resources throughout campus (e.g. power, steam, natural gas, chilled-water, hot water, and waste water systems) could offer much value to Oberlin College. For example, Facilities Operations staff could provide better support to a wide array of old and new building system technologies. The high value yield is a result of recent building system technology advancements in monitoring and tracking energy consumption in conjunction with the growing need to increase energy efficiency practices throughout campus as demanded by the student population as well as our aging building equipment. In addition, there is a growing desire to accurately represent and understand our campus building energy use in real-time reporting among students, faculty, and administrators for easy integration into the curriculum and facility energy use data.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Energy plan(s):

OES, specifically the Assistant Vice President of Energy Management and Sustainability, VP of Finance and Administration, Oberlin College Board of Trustees, FP&C, FacOps, OMLPS, and Oberlin Project


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Grounds:

Environmental Policy Implementation Plan:
A. Guiding Principles

Oberlin College’s outdoor spaces, no less than its classrooms, laboratories, and other teaching facilities, are part of the educational apparatus of the institution. Campus landscapes provide the opportunity to experience nature, venues for physical activity and sporting events, space for rest and relaxation, an outdoor classroom, and a sense of place. The landscape must also provide necessary services such as storm water and traffic management. Hence, the campus grounds should be managed in ways that support the College’s values of excellent education and sustainability leadership.

The Oberlin College campus consists of buildings and hardscape – paved areas, sidewalks, stonework, monuments, benches, fencing, bike racks, and the like – embedded in a softscape of about 120 acres of turf and 8 acres of planting beds, as well as meadows, woods, and other lightly maintained areas of about 450 acres for a total of 650 acres. The main campus is home to about 4000 trees, a larger number of plants, and the fauna that inhabit the branches and grounds around them (including the iconic albino squirrels). The Oberlin College Grounds Department, consisting of fewer than ten employees, maintains this landscape and also (in conjunction with the Custodial Department) removes snow and ice in the winter months.

As the 2005 strategic plan states, the College should “work toward environmentally sound as well as aesthetically pleasing means of maintaining the physical plant, the landscape, and their surroundings”. The College will strive to maintain the functionality of its landscapes with as much ecological integrity as possible, recognizing that some kinds of landscapes (e.g. athletic fields, high visibility formal garden beds) require more intensive management practices than others.

To meet the goal stated above, the College will pursue four primary strategies:

1. Minimize inputs, particularly dependence on carbon intensive resources and environmentally harmful chemicals
2. Sequester carbon
3. Promote biodiversity by mimicking and enabling natural systems
4. Foster human interaction with, understanding of, and care for the natural landscape.

Like sustainability in general, the first three strategies are deeply interconnected: Efforts to sequester carbon and mimic natural systems very often result in the reduced need for inputs, and vice versa. Thus we have made no attempt to assign the practices listed below to one of these strategies, but instead present a series of current and future practices that synergistically address all three of these goals.

Facilities Operations – specifically the Grounds and Facilities, Planning, and Construction departments – are charged with ensuring that all practices, procedures, and plans are developed to conform to the principles articulated above.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Grounds plan(s):

From Environmental Policy Implementation Plan:
C. Strategies to Further Reduce Inputs, Sequester Carbon, and Mimic Natural Systems

Softscape Maintenance. The softscape includes all vegetation that is part of the landscape, including turf, trees, ornamental plants, and naturalized areas. The College will continue to use the following strategies to minimize inputs into the softscape:

1. Maintain a low intensity turf maintenance program. Low fertility levels, high mowing height, no irrigation, and minimum use of machines for line trimming (weed eating), aeration, and seeding all help keep fuel use to a minimum. Grounds will also continue to reduce the use of oil and synthetic chemical fertilizers.
2. Compost all organic matter. Grounds shall continue to compost their organic waste from leaf collection, pruned branches, tree trimmings, and wood chips from tree removals. This compost will be used as mulch in planting beds instead of synthetic chemical fertilizers and purchased mulch.
3. Expand the use of native plants and naturalistic landscaping. Grounds will continue to plant native plants when possible and remove aggressive invasive species and to minimize the acreage that requires high-level maintenance. Where possible, highly managed natural landscapes will be transitioned to land that requires minimal inputs, e.g. replace low-use turf with low-maintenance planting, and replace annuals with perennials.
4. Maintain maximum plant health. Prune plants and perform other required maintenance (e.g. soil aeration, mulch) in ways to promote plant health; this reduces the need for inputs and increases plants’ ability to sequester carbon.
5. Utilize Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Integrated Pest Management will be used to manage pests and disease in the most economical means with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. If pesticides and herbicides are necessary, Grounds will strive to use less toxic forms. Even then, all available strategies will be explored before using pesticides. Pest-resistant plants will be used where possible. A strategy of exclusion (closing entry points for squirrels and bats, closing dumpsters for raccoons) and live trap/removal will be used for larger animals.

Hardscape Maintenance. The hardscape includes human-made parts of the landscape, including paved areas, sidewalks, benches and statues. The College will continue to use the following strategies to minimize inputs into the hardscape:

1. Install the most energy-efficient outdoor lighting fixtures and lamps. Efficient lighting directs light to the desired location in a focused way, and minimizes light pollution. This will not only save money and reduce carbon emissions, but also help the College achieve Dark Sky Compliance. The use of efficient, long-lasting bulbs results in less staff time spent on changing bulbs and decreased exposure to potentially dangerous conditions on lifts and ladders.

2. Minimize the acreage of paved areas and sidewalks. Maximizing planted areas sequesters carbon and replenishes groundwater. The College will strive to utilize permeable pavements for any additions and repaving projects.

3. Build and maintain a low-maintenance hardscape. Grounds will seek to use low-polluting and long-lasting paints and coatings wherever possible, and to use environmentally benign practices and materials to control ice. A priority will be put on purchasing long-lasting, high-quality pieces (e.g. bike racks and outdoor furniture) to maximize the useful life of these products.

Active Water Management. Water gardens shall be maintained as natural aquatic ecosystems. For example, floating plants can be added to the water surface in spring to provide shade and consume nutrients in the water. Bioswales and porous pavement will be incorporated into new constructions to decrease run-off and erosion. The College will also seek to:

1. Increase the number of rain gardens on campus.
2. Install green roofs where practicable.
3. Improve drainage to promote plant health and keep traffic areas dry.
4. Collect rainwater for later use in irrigation.

Equipment. To maximize efficiency and minimize carbon emissions, existing equipment will be replaced whenever possible with machinery that is more fuel-efficient and that can be powered by sustainable energy sources such as waste vegetable oil. Tools and equipment will be carefully maintained for high fuel efficiency to reduce GHG emissions and for long life to reduce landfill waste.

D. Foster Human Interaction with, Understanding of and Care for the Natural Landscape

It is important to provide green spaces with various levels of active management in order to foster interaction with natural spaces, nurture care for green spaces, and demonstrate respect for such spaces. The College will use the following strategies to promote human interaction with the landscape:

1. Reserve some spaces, such as Tappan Square and Wilder Bowl as green spaces uses for human recreational activities, congregating, and events.
2. Manage some spaces to serve their natural purpose, but allow humans to interact and engage with them, like the Arboretum.
3. Other spaces should be managed without the consideration of human use for the space, like meadows.

E. Education

Engage, Educate, Empower and Motivate. The College can pursue the following strategies to maximize the grounds as an educational tool:

1. Engage faculty and students with grounds personnel to take advantage of teaching and research opportunities associated with landscape ecology and grounds management.
2. Engage knowledgeable faculty and appropriate community members as resources to effectively manage our landscapes.
3. Effectively communicate plans and actions that improve campus grounds sustainability. For example, provide explanatory signage for plants and plant communities in high-visibility areas indicating why certain plants and landscapes were chosen - especially when converting from higher-maintenance to lower-maintenance natural land areas.

Communicate. Strategies for capitalizing on communicating the College’s accomplishments in grounds maintenance include (but are not limited to):

1. Include the College’s sustainable grounds management practices as an integral part of the Oberlin narrative as articulated through the Office of Communications, Admissions, Development, etc.
2. Provide explanatory signage for plants and landscapes in high-visibility areas indicating why certain plants and landscapes were chosen - especially when converting from higher-maintenance to lower-maintenance natural land areas.

Train. Because sustainable grounds management may often differ from common practice and is continually evolving, it is essential that the grounds staff be regularly trained in best practices of sustainable grounds maintenance.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Grounds plan(s):

F. Measurement

The Grounds department will make biannual reports to the Committee on Environmental Sustainability covering at least the following topics:

1. Use of fossil fuels, supplying the information needed for OES (or others) to compute GHG emissions from use of grounds' fuels.
2. Use of waste oil, volume of composting, supply of brush and wood chips to others as fuel, acreage of plants, supplying the information needed to compute GHG offset estimates.
3. Renovated and new landscapes. Acreage with no input and minimal input.
4. Chemicals and water use.
5. Education and community outreach programs.
6. Efforts to promote carbon sequestration in trees and soil.
7. Other new programs and initiatives.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Purchasing:

From Environmental Policy Implementation Plan:

In order to operate a vibrant institution of 2900 students, 1000+ faculty and staff, an art museum, sports teams, and music conservatory, Oberlin College purchases and discards many products that have significant social, economic and environmental impacts. As a leader in higher education and a large institution in the region, the College has the opportunity and responsibility to handle purchasing, reuse and disposal in a way that advances the College’s achievement of environmental sustainability.

The College recognizes that the purchase and disposal of materials are inseparable: purchasing something entails a commitment to disposing of or reusing it in a responsible way. Ideally all waste would be eliminated; that is, material byproducts from one process would become useful inputs for other processes. The College will strive to achieve this end, but acknowledges the difficulty inherent in eliminating all waste in a highly consumer culture; the College must work internally as well as with producers and suppliers to push towards a zero-waste society.

To move towards zero waste, the College will pursue four primary strategies:

1. Reduce consumption on all dimensions (e.g. the number of products purchased, the resources consumed to produce the product, and the amount of mileage/carbon required to get products to Oberlin).
2. Reuse as much as possible as efficiently as possible.
3. Recycle items that cannot be reused such that materials are separated and returned back into useful production (for example, through recycling of paper and plastics or through composting).
4. Leverage the College’s relationship with vendors to promote sustainable products and practices more broadly.

Together, these strategies will help the College to meet “zero waste” guidelines by 2050. Zero waste is defined as diverting at least 90% of materials from the landfill through reusing, recycling, and composting. Because products available and the practices of other organizations often constrain the College’s ability to pursue this objective, the College must simultaneously push for changes in the larger society.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Purchasing plan(s):

Environmental Policy Implementation Plan:
C. Reduce

Reducing the number of products purchased, fuel consumed, packaging discarded etc. has both economic and environmental benefits, and is the first strategy to be pursued. Strategies for reducing the College’s consumption include (but are not limited to):

1. Examine all purchases as to whether the purchase is absolutely necessary; can similar items be reused from elsewhere on campus, or can the task be achieved some other way?
2. When purchases are necessary, employ total product “life-cycle analysis” and “full cost accounting” to evaluate products. Life-cycle analysis is accomplished by considering the origin and fate of a material or service. Full-cost accounting reveals the environmental costs of its extraction, manufacture, transportation and disposal that may not be fully reflected in its market price. This task will require staff time and expertise.
3. Based on life cycle analysis and full cost accounting, select materials that minimize environmental costs and maximize environmental benefits on campus and beyond. This means favoring materials that have minimal packaging, are recycled or reusable, sustainably harvested, non-toxic and biodegradable, and/or energy-efficient.
4. Favor local products, when possible, to gain a variety of environmental and economic benefits. For example, favoring locally grown foods minimizes fossil fuel use for transportation and at the same time helps sustain farmland and economy, and maintenance of a local destination for composted food waste.
5. Minimize products containing known toxins where viable substitutes are available. Refer to Green Purchasing policy for specifics.

D. Reuse

The College frequently has items to dispose of that are no longer sufficient for the purpose at the college, but still retain value that makes them useful to others. Although the College does maintain an off-site storage facility for some of these items, currently many useful items wind up in the landfill. The strategies below would help to minimize this source of waste on campus, but will require additional staff time to execute:

1. Maintain an on-campus facility to inventory and manage reusable materials.
2. Make arrangements (e.g., annual public sales, donations to nonprofits) that responsibly take advantage of the large and varied collection of durables (e.g., furniture, consumer electronics) regularly abandoned by students at the end of every school year. Recovered bicycles should be triaged, scrapped, and salvaged appropriately. This might include selling the scrap metal and parts and fixing salvaged bicycles and donating or selling them to the community in order to encourage accessible, alternative transportation.
3. Strive to maximize the useful life of all purchases, and downcycle materials when possible. For example, state-of-of-the-art computer equipment is necessary for a variety of educational and administrative tasks and, as a result, equipment is often replaced well before its useful life is over. Strive to reuse older computers for less demanding applications on campus and attempt to sell or donate computer equipment when it is no longer useful to the College.

E. Recycle

Recycling materials should occur only when efforts to reduce and reuse have been maximized. To promote the responsible and useful disposal of waste material the College will:

1. Employ Community Based Social Marketing research to develop effective strategies for encouraging recycling among all community members.
2. Maintain convenient and complete recycling service across campus to make recycling of paper, plastic, glass and metal as simple as possible.
3. Maintain services for recycling common hazardous wastes (such as batteries, toxic chemicals) wherever possible. Seek to identify vendors who can recycle hazardous wastes from products that the College cannot avoid purchasing such as unused paints and spent solvents. Manage all hazardous materials to minimize adverse effects on human health and the environment.
4. Treat wastes destined for landfills in ways that minimize the potential for negative effects following burial.

F. Leverage relationships with vendors

The College can increase the likelihood that it will be able to achieve the goals outlined in this section by proactively working with vendors to promote sustainable practices and products. The College will favor vendors with demonstrated expertise in and commitment to sustainability and resource use efficiency. Specifically, the College will wherever possible:

1. Convey in writing its goals for source reduction and will encourage vendors to help us achieve these goals. This document will emphasize the institution’s adherence to ‘total product life-cycle analysis’ leading to closed-loop scenarios in product development, design, packaging, shipping, and the return of products for recycling, reuse and remanufacturing.
2. Work with other area institutions to increase its leveraging and buying power. This has the potential to expand access to sustainable products as well as create monetary savings.
3. Instruct vendors to notify buying staff of all of the environmentally sensitive products or services that they provide and plan to provide.
4. Favor “Products of Service” when available. This arrangement allows the consumer to purchase the service of a product while the manufacturer retains material ownership of that product . It creates an economic incentive for the manufacturer to produce durable products that provide valuable services to the customer. (For example, the College rents washers and dryer for laundry services and the provider owns the machines).
5. Minimize the generation of materials destined for landfills or incineration, and seek relationships with waste vendors that help the College achieve this goal by developing cooperative mechanisms to audit, monitor, and reduce waste streams.

G. Campus Dining, Food, and Compost

As a residential campus, Oberlin College houses and feeds the vast majority of students. Oberlin’s dining halls are not just a place to eat, socialize, and do homework; our dining operations have great potential to impact the sustainability, health, and well-being of the campus and the broader community. Food impacts sustainability throughout its whole life cycle from production to transportation to how it is served to how it is disposed of. The College will continue sustainable dining efforts through the following practices:

Campus Dining.

1. Increase the procurement of local foods -- locally grown, manufactured, or processed -- within 150 miles.
2. Increase the amount of “real food” as defined by the Real Food Campus Commitment as sustainable and eco-friendly, fair-trade, humane, and local seeking to secure 40% by 2020.
3. Offer wholesome vegetarian and vegan foods.
4. Strive to offer healthful foods to the campus.
5. Minimize the environmental impact of dining services through utilization of energy-efficient appliances, trayless dining, favoring reusable containers and utensils over disposable ones, etc.
6. Continue enforcing the ban on bottled water. Consider spreading this ban to flavored waters, etc.

Organic Waste. The College will strive to minimize the amount of materials sent to landfills through recycling and composting. Organic waste may include pre-and post-consumer food and napkins, yard-waste, as well as compostable utensils, plates, and containers. As such, the College will seek to collect organic waste where possible for composting. To achieve this end, the College will:

1. Utilize a multitude of partnerships and strategies (i.e. a commercial facility that handles post- consumer food and paper and utensil products, as well as local farms to compost pre-consumer food waste) as required.
2. Support the infrastructure and operational requirements to collect food waste; this might include bins, signage, staff to collect materials, and transportation.
3. Encourage the development of a composting facility, either on or off campus, and institute policy that mandates the composting of as much food waste as possible from College dining halls and co-ops.
4. Investigate the possibilities for collective efforts with the City of Oberlin and other local institutions.

H. Reporting Metrics

All waste must be tracked and recorded as best as possible by the City of Oberlin and/or Facilities Operations. This data should be reported to the Office of Environmental Sustainability each year. Together the purchasing and sustainability offices must monitor purchasing, disposal and recycling activities to improve these aspects of the College. The creation of a transparent and public system for accounting and monitoring implementation of the Environmental Policy and this plan also increases the opportunity for students to engage in the process as an educational opportunity.

I. Education

Oberlin College’s purchasing policy will succeed only to the extent that students, faculty, staff, and the larger community with which it interacts embrace the goals outlined here during day-to-day decision-making. To create buying and disposal habits consistent with this plan, the College will maintain the following educational efforts:

Engage, Educate, Empower and Motivate. Because conducting life cycle analyses and full cost accounting requires time and expertise, the Office of Environmental Sustainability and the Procurement Office will hire a student purchasing intern who will report to both Purchasing and OES. This intern’s duties include: reviewing departmental and college purchasing, researching products, seeking and offering sustainable alternatives, educating P-Card holders on green purchasing, and updating the Green Purchasing Policy accordingly.

Communicate. The College will seek to make its sustainable purchasing and disposal practices visible through the following strategies:

1. Where appropriate, indicate or clearly label the sustainable features of purchased products (e.g., by including “printed on recycled paper” on printed material).
2. Include the College’s sustainable purchasing practices as an integral part of the Oberlin narrative as articulated through the Office of Communications, Admissions, Development, etc.

Train. Providing community members with the knowledge and skills required to implement this plan is absolutely essential to its success. To this end, the College will:

1. Regularly maintain and actively distribute the Green Purchasing Policy as an up-to-date, user-friendly resource that provides specific recommendations about products and materials most commonly purchased at the College.
2. Include information about purchasing policies, recycling and reuse programs during first year and new employee orientations.
3. Build awareness of the sustainable procurement policy and standards through information dissemination and incorporation into regular staff training.
4. Provide regular training programs tailored to match the particular responsibilities of faculty, staff and students that explain both implementation objectives and specific practices relevant to their duties. For instance, administrative assistants in each department will receive instruction on purchasing and resource conservation practices relevant to office management, while custodial staff will receive instruction on environmentally sensitive material use and disposal. Faculty will receive instruction on minimizing waste resulting from classroom instruction.
5. Maintain clear and engaging signage throughout the institution that explains how to properly dispose of recyclables, hazardous waste, and compostables.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Purchasing plan(s):

Purchasing & Auxility Services Office in conjunction with the Office of Environmental Sustainability and Students for Labor Action Committee.

Purchasing is an activity that is distributed across many entities on campus. The purchasing department is charged with overseeing the College’s purchasing practices and ensuring that all practices, procedures, and plans are developed to conform to the principles articulated above. The Office of Environmental Sustainability and the Purchasing Office will have a student intern devoted to reviewing life cycle analysis and possible alternatives of highly-bought items, educating P-Card holders, and working to further develop the sustainability of Oberlin College’s purchasing. Facilities Operations, Facilities, Planning, and Construction (FP&C), and the Resource Conservation Team (RCT) are responsible for additional material purchasing, reuse, and disposal and must also conform to the procedures stated herein.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Transportation:

See Environmental Policy, Transportation.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Transportation plan(s):

To reap the many benefits of alternative transportation, the College will pursue three main strategies:

1) Reduce travel to a minimum.
2) Minimize the environmental impact of travel for activities that cannot be conducted without physically traveling to or from campus.
3) Offset the carbon that results from unavoidable travel.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Transportation plan(s):

OES, FacOps, Controller's Office, Oberlin Project, and all offices participating in college business travel.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Waste:

See Oberlin Zero Waste Plan (http://www.cityofoberlin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Oberlin-ZWP-Portfolio.pdf) and Environmental Policy Implementation Plan.

Continue move-out collections: The Big Swap, Little Swap, and Fresh Swap all seek to reuse items during student move-in and move-out.
Continue year-round reuse of materials: The Free Store, run by the RCT, seeks to share and reuse materials. College storage facilities aims to collect reusable office materials instead of discarding and re-purchasing new materials.
Collection and recycling of materials: Collect recyclables and transport them to recycling facilities as efficiently as possible.
Collection and composting of organics: Collect and compost organics (both food and yard waste) as efficiency and cost-effectively as possible.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Waste plan(s):

Work with the City of Oberlin and regional partners to achieve zero waste. Along with the City of Oberlin, zero waste by 2050, if not before.

To move towards zero waste, the College will pursue four primary strategies:

1. Reduce consumption on all dimensions (e.g. the number of products purchased, the resources consumed to produce the product, and the amount of mileage/carbon required to get products to Oberlin).
2. Reuse as much as possible as efficiently as possible.
3. Recycle items that cannot be reused such that materials are separated and returned back into useful production (for example, through recycling of paper and plastics or through composting).
4. Leverage the College’s relationship with vendors to promote sustainable products and practices more broadly.

Together, these strategies will help the College to meet “zero waste” guidelines by 2050. Zero waste is defined as diverting at least 90% of materials from the landfill through reusing, recycling, and composting. Because products available and the practices of other organizations often constrain the College’s ability to pursue this objective, the College must simultaneously push for changes in the larger society.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Waste plan(s):

Facilities Operations, Resource Conservation Team, Office of Environmental Sustainability in conjunction with the Oberlin Project, City of Oberlin, Resource Conservation Recovery Commission, Oberlin Public Works department, and Lorain County Solid Waste Management District.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Water:

Through behavior change and efficiency and utilization and creativity, reduce the water that Oberlin College uses.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Water plan(s):

In Grounds: see Environmental Policy, Grounds.
In Buildings: see Environmental Policy, Building Construction and Renovation
Through conservation: see CBSM
Additional: Oberlin College Carbon Neutrality Resource Master Plan, Implementation Strategy, and Economic Approach (like condensate return and water treatment)


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Water plan(s):

Facilities Operations, all campus parties.
Ever-Green Energy.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Diversity and Affordability:

From the Strategic Plan: We must enhance the diversity of Oberlin College and Conservatory. This is not a new commitment for Oberlin, but it is one that has gained increased urgency in recent years. Simply stated, Oberlin cannot deliver the high-quality education it promises unless our community is equitable, diverse, and inclusive.
Diversity is 1, a wide variety of identities, ideologies, characteristics, languages,
backgrounds, histories, practices, perceptions, communities, and other aspects of
human experience and 2, the interactive processes by which people share their experiences of the world with others, both alike and unalike. Both elements are important— the “who” of diversity enables the “how” of interaction with diverse perspectives.

We must recognize and respond to the reality that our high-tuition, high-
financial aid model is vulnerable. STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION 3.1
Slow the rate of annual increases in student charges—tuition, fees, room, and board. Continue and intensify efforts to increase our resources for financial aid and other forms of student financial support.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):

From the Strategic Plan:

STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION 1.3
Ensure an inclusive and equitable learning environment, including development
of an Equity and Inclusion Implementation Plan that addresses the systemic
barriers that keep us from reaching our compositional and interactional
diversity aspirations and articulates clearly these aspirations. The plan will also
identify appropriate strategies to measure and mechanisms to communicate
progress, including concrete benchmarks that will be reported to the General
Faculty by the beginning of the spring 2017 semester.
1.3A Implement new strategies to help Oberlin succeed in hiring and retaining an
outstanding faculty and staff from a broad range of racial, ethnic, gender identity/
identities, sexuality/orientation, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
1.3B Enroll and retain students from a broad range of racial, ethnic, gender
identity/identities, sexuality/orientation, cultural, and socioeconomic
backgrounds. Increase the number of students from historically underrepresented
communities in the United States and the number of students from
lower-income families.
1.3C Enroll and retain international students from a broad range of countries and
cultures and focus on addressing their distinctive needs.

Teaching and Support for All Students
As Oberlin continues to build the compositional diversity necessary to achieve educational
excellence, we must also explore ways to ensure all members of the educational
community have the capacity to support and mentor students of all backgrounds in
order for connected learning to be successful. Recent activism focused on barriers to
education—for example, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Black Lives
Matter—that reflect both major changes to the compositional diversity of student
populations over the past 50 years and the demands of faculty, students, and staff that
institutions transform in ways that meet the needs of all students. Inclusive approaches
to education are necessary in order to achieve academic and musical excellence, a
responsibility that Oberlin takes very seriously. For example:
• In the College of Arts and Sciences, faculty have revised curricular goals that
emphasize social justice as a foundation of Oberlin’s mission.
• Over the last four years, the percent of historically underrepresented students
graduating with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors
has risen from 7.7 percent in 2012 to 13.7 percent in 2015 (historically underrepresented
students in STEM include Black, Latino/Latina, and Native American).
• Independent efforts in several departments have increased percentages of historically
underrepresented and female majors by creating socially relevant introductory
courses, fostering inclusive environments, and diversifying the faculty.
• In the Conservatory, the creation of an additional position in musicology has resulted
in new and more diverse offerings in music history available to conservatory and arts
and science students. These courses include Popular Music and U.S. Urban Identities,
Anthropology of Entrepreneurship, and Ethnomusicology as Activism.
Collectively, these initiatives represent progress—but we can do more. Our students
come to us from a societal playing field that is radically unequal: socially, politically,
and economically. It is not enough, therefore, for Oberlin to point our students
toward high educational achievement, the acquisition of life skills, and a successful
transition to a rewarding professional life. We have to meet them where they are—
celebrating and complementing their strengths.
This means, among other things, facilitating engagement in the classroom. Among
the important connections we seek to cultivate are those that are forged among
members of our community as we continue to grapple with issues of equity, inclusion,
and social justice. Central to developing these connections is a commitment to
teaching and learning that embraces inclusive pedagogies. We understand that
administrators and faculty must work together to relieve demands on faculty time
and make these newer responsibilities possible.
STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION 1.4
Facilitate teaching and support for all students
1.4A Support faculty development of inclusive pedagogies, so all students
can succeed, by offering regular pedagogy workshops for faculty across the
disciplines.
1.4B Offer regular workshops for administrative and professional staff members to
develop their capacity to advise and mentor students from all backgrounds.
1.4C Address structural barriers that inhibit student success and further develop
and create institutional structures that enable each person to succeed to their
fullest potential.

STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION 3.1
Slow the rate of annual increases in student charges—tuition, fees, room, and
board. Continue and intensify efforts to increase our resources for financial
aid and other forms of student financial support.
STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION 3.2
Continue efforts to build the endowment through philanthropic gifts, sustainable levels of spending, and top-quartile long-term returns. Slow the rate of annual endowment draw, including withdrawals for all purposes—operations (unrestricted and restricted), capital spending (including debt service), and other expenditures—to ensure long-term financial sustainability and growth.

- Continued efforts to maintain diversity and affordability while maintaining the financial stability of Oberlin College, as maintained by the Strategic Plan (viewable here: https://new.oberlin.edu/strategic-plan/)


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):

College of Arts & Sciences, Conservatory of Music, Admissions, Office of Equity Concerns, Diversity Taskforce, Multicultural Resource Center, and more: https://new.oberlin.edu/student-life/diversity/


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Health, Wellbeing and Work:

Strategic Plan:

Establish habits of mind and body that will support life-long learning and healthy and sustainable living.

STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION 2.3
Develop new and enhance existing programs and services to support mental, emotional, and physical health and wellness, including athletics and physical education and support for students with disabilities.

By bringing together people in a common space, a residential liberal arts college can also foster a culture of well-being and self-care in order to promote individual and community achievement. Oberlin has built a strong support system for its students. In collaboration with students, we have made impressive progress in increasing and enhancing services and initiatives in student mental, emotional, and physical health and wellness. We have established or improved peer-to-peer mentoring and support programs, disability services, residential experiences, and resources dedicated to supporting historically underrepresented students. As we further build this support system, we will explore new and innovative models for creating networks of support through creative approaches to collaboration and staffing.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):

STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION 2.3
Develop new and enhance existing programs and services to support mental, emotional, and physical health and wellness, including athletics and physical education and support for students with disabilities.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):

OC Wellness and OC Student Wellness


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Investment:

Impact Investment Platform: The Oberlin College Impact Investment Platform
(IIP) shall involve a collaborative, inclusive process engaging various
constituencies from the entire Oberlin College community. The IIP’s investments
are expected to have a measurable positive effect on targeted social and/or
environmental issues, while earning a competitive rate of return relative to assets
held in the Endowment. The IIP’s investment program shall include positions
expected to generate investment returns in both the short term (12 to 24 months)
and the long term (36 months or more). The investment horizon of the investment
vehicle created for the IIP shall be consistent with the duration of Oberlin
College’s goals for the IIP. The IIP Subcommittee (the Subcommittee) of the
Investment Committee is charged with providing guidance to the Investment
Committee on high-level issues such as policy goals and target allocation. The cochairs
of the Subcommittee shall be the Chair of the Investment Committee and the
Chief Investment Officer, and the Subcommittee shall include seven other
members allocated as follows: the Board of Trustees (2), Oberlin College alumni
(1), the Investment Committee (1), Oberlin College faculty (1), and Oberlin
College students (2). The role of the Subcommittee is advisory only and all
decision-making authority regarding the IIP is reserved solely to the Investment
Committee as delegated by the Board.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Investment plan(s):

The College aims to integrate more socially responsible investments into our portfolio.

See new policy here: http://new.oberlin.edu/impact-investment/

Including: WHEREAS, the Investment Committee (the Committee) recommends the adoption of the following goals for the creation of an Impact Investment Platform (IIP): a) the IIP shall involve a collaborative, inclusive process engaging various constituencies from the entire Oberlin College community; b) the IIP’s investments are expected to have a measurable positive effect on targeted social and/or environmental issues, while earning a competitive rate of return relative to assets held in the Endowment; c) the IIP’s investment program should include positions expected to generate investment returns in both the short term (12 to 24 months) and the long term (36 months or more); and d) the investment horizon of the investment vehicle created for the IIP should be consistent with the duration of Oberlin College’s goals for the IIP;


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Investment plan(s):

Investment Office, Responsible Investing Organization, and VP of Finance and Assistant Vice President of Finance Offices


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in other areas:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the other plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the other plan(s):
---

The institution’s definition of sustainability:

Sustainability is commonly defined as the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Beyond some sufficient level of continuous functioning, however, sustainability represents more than just the mere ability to survive and get by, but to thrive. A more inspiring concept of sustainability is that of an assemblage of mutual interests between social equity, viable economics, and a healthy environment. The Sustainable College is one that recognizes these interconnected mutual interests and creates productive affiliations between them.


Does the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document include sustainability at a high level?:
Yes

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

The College's most recent strategic plan "Oberlin College Strategic Plan 2016-2021: Institutional transformation through an inclusive approach to academic and musical excellence" held sustainability as a key direction. The plan states: "Reaffirm and take tangible action toward meeting Oberlin’s commitment to environmental sustainability. This includes creating an actionable and financially feasible plan for achieving Oberlin’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2025."

Previously, the College's 2005 Strategic Plan included a "move toward environmental sustainability" as a key priority.


The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning 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.