Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.74
Liaison Kristyn Achilich
Submission Date May 11, 2021

STARS v2.2

Saint Michael's College
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Karen Talentino
Professor of Biology
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Center for the Environment

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

The Center for the Environment replaces the Office of Sustainability, seeking to move beyond operations, and integrate outreach into education, career development, and academic opportunities. This has facilitated stronger connections with regards to environmental skills, knowledge, philosophies, and aptitudes across all divisions of the college from admissions, to residential life, to academics. The Center now serves as the central coordinating entity for environmental awareness and educational initiatives on campus. Obviously the Center collaborates frequently with the physical plant in order to maintain and develop sustainable operations, but this work integrates fully into academics, student development, student employment, research, curriculum and outreach to the community. The Center stewards 4 outdoor spaces on campus as learning labs.

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
The Farm at SMC

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

The Farm at St. Michael's enters its 6th growing season in 2021. The farm grows diversified vegetables and berries on 1.75 acres of orchard, field plots, and 2 26x80 foot hoop houses. While the farm's products are admirable each season, the program's focus is on leadership development and food system change. By teaching this content with these pedagogical tools, students are empowered to produce food for their community. The food finds its way to 45 CSA members, the dining hall, and a weekly farm stand. Students matriculate through the program through a 4 course sequence beginning with a food system and sustainable ag theory course; then they move into an 8-month practicum that mirrors the agricultural season, and another 8-month leadership development program. Alumni of the program have found post-graduate work in program coordination, research, community advocacy, farm-based education, land grant institutional extension work and on farms. Graduates have pursued graduate programs in food security, community development, and plant & soil science.

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Food & Dining

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
SMC Natural Area

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

The SMC Natural Area is 340 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to our main campus, just along the Winooski River, the primary river feeding into Lake Champlain. It includes a number of important and distinctive habitats, including wetlands, sandplain forest, floodplain forest, and open fields. A small portion of this area is occupied by our solar array, compost facility, waste-water pumping station, geothermal infrastructure to heat the newest campus building, and salt, mulch, and topsoil staging necessary for maintaining the grounds.

The vision for this property, which we are implementing, is to restore and improve natural habitats in this area while expanding research, education, and recreational opportunities for the college community. Many classes, faculty and community members utilize this space on a regular basis. It has truly become a living laboratory. The restoration of native habitat is especially crucial given the area's proximity to Lake Champlain; the watershed has suffered from increased phosphorus loading from developments and agricultural fields along the river (including a former cornfield in the Natural Area).
History: In 2018, the college's Board of Trustees declared a 350 acre portion of college-owned property as the SMC Natural Area. In 2020, by agreement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the college placed 165 acres of this land into a wetland restoration easement which is legally protected in perpetuity; an additional 11 acres were removed from agricultural production and are being reforested. Additional adjacent acreage is already federally protected wetland.

Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Public Engagement

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

Other sources of information and images to support these Points of Distinction:

Center for the Environment: https://www.smcvt.edu/about-smc/news/2019/november/center-for-environment-launch/

SMC Farm: Robust Instagram presences as a key tool for education and outreach: https://www.instagram.com/the.farm.at.smc/

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.