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
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
3.25 / 4.00 Karen Eckert, Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Center for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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

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

Sustainability is mission-driven at Principia College. Among the Core Goals of both our "Vision 2020" and "Vision 2025" strategic plans is "Steward Resources Responsibly" (2020) and "Practice Sustainability", which in the more recent plan (2025) is explicitly defined by a triple bottom line: "Strengthen and continually improve Principia’s organizational sustainability through innovative and active stewardship of its human, ecological and financial resources."


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

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

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

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

These will all be posted to a Documents page at https://sites.google.com/principia.edu/principiasustainability ... just haven't built the page yet. (Sorry!)

Center for Sustainability Charter
Center for Sustainability Vision 2020
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Statement
Green Dining Standard
Green Cleaning Purchasing Standard
Principia College Tree Care Plan


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

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

Center for Sustainability Vision 2020 (see upload)
• At least one Sustainability degree program is offered at the college
• Sustainability (SUS) courses are taught on a regular basis
• 20% of SUS students participate in a Sustainability-themed Abroad
• 50% of all academic Departments participate in a SUS degree program
• 80% of students are enrolled, at some point during their college experience, in at least one course that requires an explicit Sustainability project


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

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

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

Center for Sustainability Vision 2020 (see upload)
• 100% of students are exposed to campus sustainability (e.g., composting, recycling, wise energy/water use, dorm-based initiatives, academic options) during New Student Orientation
• 100% of students are aware – based on student-led education and awareness campaigns – of the importance of sustainable living and the steps they can take to pursue sustainability on a daily basis
• 100% of student dorms design/implement/adopt a sustainability project (e.g., native garden, vermicomposting, energy audit, campus event)
• An energetic Sustainability Club nurtures service, leadership, and courageous thinking within the student body


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

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

Note: The Center for Sustainability is involved in public engagement, especially with our closest urban center (Alton, IL), including hosting climate speakers at public forums, supporting Capstone research with community partners, and service (e.g., serving meals in underprivileged areas, river clean-ups). But these are not articulated in published strategies; this gives us something to consider in the future.


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

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

GOAL IV, Initiative 4.2 of "Vision 2025" (Principia College Strategic Plan; see upload) mandates that the college "Actively promote the use of best practices in Principia College’s stewardship of its natural resources, by implementing actions that facilitate achieving zero waste and carbon neutrality that are sustainable
in terms of food and campus infrastructure, and that minimize our ecological
footprint."

A number of measurable activities follow, including completion of a Land Management Plan, Sustainable Campus and Energy Plan, and a Strategic Plan for
Sustainable Operations, in each case with approval from Cabinet (securing institutional buy-in) and covering a period of 10-years. In each case, specific climate issues - with measurable targets - will be included; e.g., energy use reduction targets, on-site renewable energy production, waste reduction targets, managing forest and prairie assets for C sequestration, and so on.


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

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

Yes (see comments under Air & Climate). Further to the strategic mandate that "Sustainable Campus and Energy Plan" be developed, an RFP is currently underway for the college's first Energy Master Plan.


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

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

A multidisciplinary Strategic Energy Management (SEM) team co-chaired by the Director of Facilities and Director of the Center for Sustainability has met monthly since May 2018. Specific outcomes have included the transition to LED lighting campus-wide, building-level metering as a base element of renovations and new construction, our first RCx (directed at the largest building on campus) with all recommendations with <1 yr pay-back implemented, and discussions of on-site renewable energy installations. These are documented in the Meeting Minutes.


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

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

Targets associated with the new Green Dining Standard (see OP-8) include, inter alia:
• By 2020, operationalize a Sustainable Food Task Force
• By 2021, a purchasing inventory will be in place to clearly identify and track sustainable food purchases
• By 2022, at least 10% of total procurement of food and food-related supplies and services will come from sustainable sources (defined by Qualifying Criteria); increase this percentage by 10% annually
• By 2022, provide nutritionally balanced vegan options on the hot line at each meal
• By 2022, at least 10% of leafy greens are grown and sourced on-site from student-led projects (e.g., aquaponics, green roof), farm leases (Three Rivers Community Farm), and/or new capital investments (e.g., Freight Farm); increase this percentage by 5% annually
• Conduct a monthly waste audit of Dining Services to ensure Zero Waste operations (=divert a minimum of 90% of waste from landfills or incinerators)


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

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

Center for Sustainability Vision 2020 (see upload)
• 10% of students are actively engaged in biodiversity monitoring and/or conservation programs
• Maybeck’s vision for native campus landscaping is rekindled
• Professional management of the Principia Forest maintains Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification
• Tree Campus USA recognition is achieved from the National Arbor Day Foundation
• Plan adopted to eradicate (as practicable) invasive, non-native plants
• Native prairie acreage is actively protected and managed
• Erosion and other topsoil degradation issues are identified and mitigated
• Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) campus lands continue to be managed in partnership with the USDA Farm Service Agency
• All rare and endangered species are identified and adequately protected


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

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

Green Cleaning Purchasing Standard: “The Principia shall prioritize the purchase of cleaning products that meet industry certifications intended to minimize negative impacts on ecological systems and human health and safety, while at the same time upholding financial and performance criteria.” (upload @ OP-3)
Mandates:
Inform Gateway Suppliers of the Purchasing Standard
Identify & Adopt Alternatives (Green Seal and/or UL certified products) for Highly Consumed Products
Identify & Adopt Alternatives (Green Seal and/or UL certified products) for non-Disinfectant “High Priority” Products
Discontinue Use of Antibacterial Soaps
Streamline and Standardize Purchasing for the College and School
Track and Quantify the Impact of the Purchasing Standard

Green Dining Standard: "Principia shall prioritize the purchase of food, as well as food-related supplies and equipment that meet industry certifications intended to minimize negative impacts on ecological systems and human health and safety, while at the same time upholding palatability, nutritional, financial, and performance criteria." (upload @ OP-8)
Mandates:
"By 2021, a purchasing inventory will be in place to clearly identify and track sustainable food purchases. Principia shall track the percentage of local and/or second- or third-party verified food and beverage expenditures in fulfilment of our AASHE STARS and Green Dining Alliances audits and ranking."
"By 2022, at least 10% of total procurement of food and food-related supplies and services will come from sustainable sources as defined by the ‘Qualifying Criteria’ articulated in Appendix I and Appendix II. Principia shall aspire to increase this percentage by 10% annually."

Green Electronics Purchasing Standard: “Principia shall prioritize the purchase of electronic products that meet industry certifications intended to minimize negative impacts on ecological systems and human health and safety, while at the same time upholding financial and performance criteria.” (upload @ OP-12)
Mandates:
Principia will prioritize "EPEAT® registered Computers & Displays (e.g., desktops, displays, notebooks, integrated desktop computers, workstation desktops, thin clients, tablet notebooks), Imaging Equipment (e.g., copiers, digital duplicators, fax machines, mailing machines, multifunction devices, printers, scanners), and Televisions, and ENERGY STAR® certified Appliances, and Electronic and Office Equipment for which EPEAT® certification is not available."


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

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

Center for Sustainability Vision 2020 (see upload)
• Principia College is welcoming to zero emission vehicles
o Electric fleet vehicles are used on campus by Facilities/Flex staff
o Personal electric and plug-optional vehicles are accommodated on campus
o Level 2 EV Charge Stations are installed and available for staff and public use (we're not there yet, but plug-in stations are free and available)


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

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

Center for Sustainability Vision 2020 (see upload)
• Principia College is recognized as a Zero Waste community
• 100% of buildings have attractive, labeled waste disposal centers
• 100% of food waste (pre- and post-consumer) is composted by Dining Services
• 100% of students/faculty/staff recycle “as much as possible”
• Access to ‘Single Stream’ (comingled) recycling campus-wide
• Access to composting campus-wide
• An electric dump truck services our ever-more-efficient recycling program


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

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

Center for Sustainability Vision 2020 (see upload)
• Plastic water bottles disappear from campus
• Every student residence has a water bottle filling station
• All new toilets/faucets are purchased to ‘low flow’ standards
• On-site water treatment plant is operated to operational and environmental efficiencies (measured by third-party evaluations)


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

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

Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Statement is not an action plan, but it does provide clear guidance in the form of three core principles:

1. DIGNITY. "At Principia, we recognize the Divine expressed in ourselves and others. We respect and value the kaleidoscope of identities present on campus. Through reflection, acceptance, language, and action, we commit to honoring, valuing, and learning from each other and our mosaic of cultures and lived experiences we are privileged to have throughout our community."

2. COMPASSION. "At Principia, we welcome all people and extend to them and ourselves the trust, respect, dignity, and compassion that belong to all of God’s children. We recognize our differences as strengths and understand the importance of both the intent and impact of our thoughts and actions. We will hold each other’s best interests in our hearts. With empathy, transparency, diligence, and bravery, we will strive to examine our own thinking and stop harmful thoughts, language, and actions against those who do not share our experiences and perspectives. We will seek out others’ needs and be understanding, responsive, and supportive. We will respect how others practice their spiritual and ethical growth."

3. JUSTICE. "At Principia, we firmly believe that opportunities to challenge and expand our perspectives exist everywhere on campus. We labor to acknowledge past and present inequities, and embark on reconciliation efforts, so that we may treasure and uphold equity and justice for all at Principia. As an interdependent community, we embrace the responsibility to express moral courage by addressing inequity, injustice, and exclusion. We expect ourselves and others to learn and recover from mistakes and seek to correct errors we have committed against others."


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

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

Technically "yes" (see Center for Sustainability Vision 2020), but the aspirations have not been realized:
• A self‐managed Green Revolving Fund is created to finance energy (and other) efficiency improvements as part of the national Billion Dollar Green Challenge
• Principia joins the US Fossil Fuel Divestment movement


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

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

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

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

GOAL IV, Initiative 4.2 of "Vision 2025" (Principia College Strategic Plan; see upload) mandates that the college "Actively promote the use of best practices in Principia College’s stewardship of its natural resources, by implementing actions that facilitate achieving zero waste and carbon neutrality that are sustainable
in terms of food and campus infrastructure, and that minimize our ecological
footprint."


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

The mission of the Principia Center for Sustainability is "to educate, promote, and inspire Principia College’s students, faculty and staff to become more responsible local and global environmental citizens." Principia College recognizes that Sustainability is one of the 21st century’s most theoretically and practically complex fields of study. We provide a variety of opportunities for our students, faculty and staff to focus their intellectual inquiry on issues and problems related to local and global sustainability, and in particular to explore solutions from the perspective of a "triple bottom line". One of the responsibilities of the Center for Sustainability is to help assess Principia’s environmental performance and incorporate sustainability in planning processes.


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

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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This credit has been revised (and re-revised) in accordance with the AASHE peer-review.

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.