Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.51
Liaison Karen Eckert, Ph.D.
Submission Date March 5, 2021
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Principia College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Karen Eckert, Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Center for Sustainability
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Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

The Principia College Sustainability Club and the Principia College (dormitory-based) Eco Heads are two groups of students who are dedicated to and focused on sustainability. They actively plan campus events and increase awareness of sustainability issues.

The mission of the Sustainability Club, as stated in their Charter, is to "Promote and facilitate—in practical, tangible, and inspiring ways—the participation of Principia community members in sustainability activities on campus.” The purpose of the Eco-Heads, as stated in the campus constitution, is to “coordinate and facilitate the ecological efforts of the campus. This includes working with the Facilities Department to promote and maintain the campus recycling program, as well as updating the campus about the recycling program.”


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

Located on Principia College property, Three Rivers Community Farm is a chemical-free CSA that welcomes Principia students as volunteers and interns to learn first-hand about organic farming, sustainable planting, local food distribution, agriculture business principles, etc. These experiences empower our students to bring that knowledge back to the Principia community - and into their careers and life paths. In addition, the campus hosts a student-led Green Roof and apiary at the Science Center.


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Student-run enterprises come and go based on student interest. In recent years a student-run aquaponics team has provided campus-grown greens and tilapia to Dining Services in accordance with an approved business plan of their own design; a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of a Freight Farm was completed by a student and submitted to Cabinet for consideration; and a solar array designed by two of our Engineering/Sustainability students included a cost and materials breakdown.

Every year, as part of the Sugarbush Management class, students have the opportunity to learn how to create a "value-added" maple syrup product (from maple syrup they made themselves) and sell their product to the college community. They learn sustainable business skills, including product development, marketing, and financing. An Innovation Center (hosted by the Business Administration department) sponsors "idea bounces" and skills-based courses that encourage sustainable business models.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

An annual student-led Public Affairs Conference often embraces a sustainability theme. Students also host an annual Earth Day Fair featuring sustainable food, crafts, vendors, and entertainment, and a Whole World Festival to showcase the diverse cultures of Principia's international students. Throughout the year, the Center of Sustainability hosts films and speakers - including a Changemaker Speaker Series - to deepen awareness of sustainable issues and career paths.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

In 2019, as part of our Empathy Series, the documentary “A Portrait of Wendell Berry” was shown as a collaboration between the English Department, Marshall Brooks Library, and Center for Sustainability. A discussion of “caring for the land, supporting local farmers, sustainable agriculture, and the role of arts and creativity in conservation” was enjoyed by an audience of faculty and students.

Our sculpture and design professor led a campus-wide initiative in which students produced large art installations from natural materials sourced locally. This led to a greater awareness and a deeper discussion of land as inspiration and the relationship between aesthetics and nature.

A new coalition called "Solidarity" embraces all clubs pertaining to social justice - a kick-off event sparked deeper awareness around the issues of social justice and environmental degradation on campus and globally. In 2018, a student-led "sustainable" (upcycle) fashion show was well-received during our Earth Day festival.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
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Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

EDST 130 Outdoor Education explores, inter alia, "...Leave No Trace outdoor ethics." In addition, every biology student and abroad program that has an outdoor component is trained to conduct all outdoor training sessions and overnight trips with the principles of Leave No Trace.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
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Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

A First Year Experience (FYE) option is "A Forest of Voices", a partnership between faculty in Educational Studies and Biology that explores sustainable land practices using the college as a living laboratory. The college includes >2,000 acres of sustainably managed forest and native prairie, including an active Sugar Bush.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
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Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Principia students learn a wide variety of sustainable life skills through, inter alia, student-run initiatives like dormitory recycling and composting, campus book recycling, campus food production outlets (e.g., apiary, aquaculture, Food Forest, CSA), Sustainability Club (e.g., leadership, event planning, budgeting, building community around sustainability goals), and community-based volunteering (e.g., food production, sustainable business, environmental stewardship).

In addition, students enjoy innovating and practicing sustainable life skills through DIY events, advocating for campus change (e.g., banning single-use plastic bags from the College Store), planting native gardens, and working with the Campus Store to identify more sustainable consumer products.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
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Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Center for Sustainability routinely assists students in identifying and capturing sustainability-focused employment during summer and winter academic breaks. Principia College also offers student employment in Dining Services, Facilities (e.g., recycling collection), and a "Stew Crew" managed by the Biology Department (Lands Stewardship Office) where students are involved in sustainable forestry work on campus.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
Yes

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

The Principia College Solar Car team is comprised of students dedicated to making progress toward solar-powered transportation. The team is a successful global competitor and is active in bringing awareness of solar-powered transportation to the campus and alumni communities. See https://www.principiasolarcar.com/


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
100

Additional documentation to support the submission:
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