Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 63.76
Liaison Levi Rogers
Submission Date March 10, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Skidmore College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Karen Kellogg
Director of Sustainability
Dean of Faculty's Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

The culminating experience in our Environmental Studies and Sciences Program is a year-long, community-based research project. Students often choose to focus on our campus environment for this major research effort, and many have focused on air and climate specifically and the challenges of advancing sustainability in this area. Examples range from energy projects to crude oil transport at the edge of campus.

Other examples include, but are not limited to, the suite of campus-related climate projects that are developed each year in the course Climatology and the carbon analysis budget done in Conservation and Use of Forested Landscapes.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

The culminating experience in our Environmental Studies and Sciences Program is a year-long, community-based research project. Students often choose to focus on our campus environment for this major research effort, and many have focused on advancing sustainability on campus in relation to building. Examples range from analyses of LEED certification to the potential for green roofs on campus.

Other examples include, but are not limited to, the suite of campus building-related projects in courses such as Environmental Engineering and the Science of Sustainability to Urban Ecology.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

The culminating experience in our Environmental Studies and Sciences Program is a year-long, community-based research project. Students often choose to focus on our campus environment for this major research effort, and many have focused on advancing sustainability on campus in relation to energy. Examples range from feasibility analyses for a major photovoltaic array to microgrid analyses.

Other examples include, but are not limited to, the suite of campus energy-related projects in courses such as Energy Systems and Sustainable Solutions to Climatology.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

The culminating experience in our Environmental Studies and Sciences Program is a year-long, community-based research project. Students often choose to focus on our campus environment for this major research effort, and many have focused on advancing sustainability on campus in relation to food and dining. Examples range from analyses of local food from farm to school to analyses of food recovery efforts.

Other examples include, but are not limited to, the suite of food-related projects in courses such as the Ecology of Food to the Politics of Food, Agriculture and Social Justice.

We also have three on-campus food interns in our dining hall each year to help us quantify and expand our sustainable food options, and we now have a dining hall food communication internship that helps raise awareness about the importance of sustainable food.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

The culminating experience in our Environmental Studies and Sciences Program is a year-long, community-based research project. Students often choose to focus on our campus environment for this major research effort, and many have focused on advancing sustainability on campus in relation to grounds. Examples range from analyses of integrated pest management to the analysis of open space on campus.

Other examples include, but are not limited to, the suite of lands and grounds-related projects in courses such as the Conservation and Use of Forested Landscapes to Ecology.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:

As articulated above, there are numerous student/faculty projects associated with sustainability food purchasing. Additional purchasing-related project unfold in Climatology and the Environmental Studies and Science capstone projects. In addition, our Campus Sustainability Subcommittee, which consists of staff, faculty, and students are working together to develop a more sustainability-focused purchasing policy.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

The culminating experience in our Environmental Studies and Sciences Program is a year-long, community-based research project. Students often choose to focus on our campus environment for this major research effort, and many have focused on advancing sustainability on campus in relation to transportation. Examples range from analyses of biodiesel to analyses of multi-use trail systems. In addition, the course Sustainable Mobility Solutions developed a comprehensive sustainable transportation plan for our campus, and much of that plan has been implemented.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

The culminating experience in our Environmental Studies and Sciences Program is a year-long, community-based research project. Students often choose to focus on our campus environment for this major research effort, and many have focused on advancing sustainability on campus in relation to waste. Examples range from a feasibility of large-scale composting on campus to analyses of anaerobic energy potential. There are a variety of other courses that include assignments and/or projects focused our waste stream. As one example, a student created a photography essay on our solid waste.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

The culminating experience in our Environmental Studies and Sciences Program is a year-long, community-based research project. Students often choose to focus on our campus environment for this major research effort, and many have focused on water consumption and wastewater production and treatment. In addition, our Water Resources Initiative focused on our local watershed and included a variety of projects and field trips focused on better understanding our local water issues and analyzing these within a more global context as well.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

The culminating experience in our Environmental Studies and Sciences Program is a year-long, community-based research project. Students often choose to focus on our campus environment for this major research effort, and many have focused on coordination and planning around sustainability including analyses on how organization structure influences decision-making and how sustainability is incorporated into various processes and policies at the College. Students and faculty are also heavily involved in our major coordination and planning committees for sustainability, including our Campus Sustainability Subcommittee of our Institutional Policy and Planning Committee.

It is also worth noting that students and faculty are very involved in our Campus Sustainability Plan, which includes five focus areas: Energy, food, waste, lands and grounds, and engagement. In this capacity, teams have helped with everything from the calculations to assess how close we are to our various goals to the development of project lists to help us reach our goals.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

There are numerous projects that we could describe here – projects that are associated with courses, research, committees, and other aspects of co-curricular life on campus. Skidmore is the first college or university in the United States to offer a minor in Intergroup Relations (IGR). The primary goal of the program is to support student learning and competencies around inter- and intragroup relations, conflict, and social justice across a range of social identities, including race, gender, sexuality, social class, religion, and nationality, and the program initiates and supports numerous projects each year that have broad reach across campus. Similarly, our leadership program and projects through our Opportunity Program (OP) are also enhancing the living and learning potential on our campus.

In addition to the impacts of these longer-standing programs, projects are also launched by individuals, other groups, and other offices on campus. Some examples from the past year include:
• The adoption of a test-optional admissions policy to improve access. The campus discussions that led to this decision involved our Student Government Association Senate, our Institutional Policy and Planning Committee, which includes students, staff, faculty, and members of our administration, and an open forum for our entire community.
• A student-sponsored and President-supported all-college walk out to support Black Lives Matter.
• Various groups regularly support faculty/student teams to present at conferences focused on diversity and access (e.g., Jazz, NCORE, etc.) and include pre- and post-conference meetings that focus on plans to bring something from the conference back to our campus community.
• Each year numerous guests to campus, supported by a variety of departments, offices, clubs, and committees, engage the community on issues related to sustainability and inclusion, access, and diversity. Recent examples include Rosa Clemente, Majora Carter, etc.

As discussed in greater length in another section of our STARS submission, Diversity and Inclusion was a major focus of our recent Middle States accreditation self study, and it was a major goal in our 2005-2015 institutional strategic plan, Engaged Liberal Learning. Enhancing access and inclusion are major goals in our 2015-2025 institutional strategic plan, Creating Pathways to Excellence.

It is also valuable to note that there are many faculty/student projects in our surrounding communities that also focus on diversity and access, and we have long-standing, strong partnerships with many local and regional community-based organizations.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:

The culminating experience in our Environmental Studies and Sciences Program is a year-long, community-based research project. Students often choose to focus on our campus environment for this major research effort, and many have focused on investment related sustainability. There are also several other courses that include campus-focused projects related to sustainability investments, including green-revolving fund analyses in Sustainable Development to divestment conversations in some Management and Business courses. In addition, students, faculty, and staff came together on the Divestment Task Force to analyze the question of fossil-fuel divestment at Skidmore.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

There are a plethora of student/faculty projects that have contributed to public engagement around sustainability, and they have involved people from nearly every department on campus. Projects literally range from focus group analyses about the effectiveness of different communication strategies to major art exhibitions at our Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery. Projects have been associated with a wide variety of classes, collaborative research efforts, committees, and informal volunteer groups.

All of the above projects have helped both the direct participants and other members of our community better understand campus sustainability challenges and also how to advance sustainability on campus. Many of these projects have helped us make progress towards our sustainability goals as articulated in our Campus Sustainability Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

There are numerous projects currently in process which focus on helping to develop a healthier, more responsive and more resilient campus community. These projects are associated with courses, research, committees, and departments. Our Health Promotion department is a source of numerous projects aimed at creating greater awareness of and support for wellness across campus. Examples of projects run through our Health Promotions department include our Peer Health Education program, which is aimed at promoting healthy choices and lifestyles through educating and empowering the campus community on a variety of health related topics, and the Social Norms Campaign, which is a multi-year campaign to give students information to keep them healthy and safe by correcting misperceptions about “normal” student behaviors related to drug and alcohol use. A student run Wellness Center in our student center offers drop in peer to peer consultation services, regular programming around sexual health as well as a lending library related to health/wellness topics.

Our Director of Health Promotion also partners with other departments and offices and oversees regular evaluation of our students’ health behaviors, including campus wide surveys around a number of topics, including; alcohol and other drug use, sexual and gender based misconduct, mental health and stress, social connections, nutrition and exercise. Survey findings are used to design, implement, and evaluate programming on a variety of health topics.

In addition to the impact of the Health Promotion department, projects are also launched by other individuals, groups, and offices on campus. Some recent examples include:
• Student clubs such as Active Minds, FeelGood, HIPS Club, SkidEats, Outing Club, Yoga Club, etc. partner to host numerous engaging events each year.
• ConsentFest, a peer to peer education program co-sponsored by more than 20 different student and community organizations, focused on reinforcing affirmative consent in sexual behaviors as a shared campus value and on helping students understand and implement affirmative consent in their own lives.
• The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life offers religious services and holiday observances, contemplative practices, programming around mindfulness, educational programs, discussion groups, social justice projects, community service opportunities, and individual spiritual counsel.
• A student run Emergency Medical Services (SCEMS) helps train, supervise and support students to serve as first responders for Skidmore community members experiencing a medical emergency. Last year, SCEMS responded to more than 100 individual calls for help.
• There are wellness-focused courses offered every semester including courses focused on nutrition, mindfulness and stress reduction, physical activity, positive psychology, etc.
• The Counseling Center sponsors monthly “Wellness Series” talks which invite area professionals to address topics of general interest related to mental health. Previous topics have included grief and loss, healthy relationships, eating disorders and LGBTQ health.
• Skidmore is currently participating in the Jed Campus Program, a three year comprehensive evaluation and strategic planning initiative targeting student mental health, suicide prevention and AOD abuse among our students. A working group composed of students, staff, and faculty recently completed the first stage of the program.

One of the primary goals of our 2015-2025 institutional strategic plan is to strengthen the inclusiveness, health, and well‐being of our community, and we are creating new opportunities for developing the skills that will make Skidmore a more healthful, inclusive, and creative community. A new subcommittee of our Institutional Policy and Planning Committee is also currently being formed to help give an even deeper emphasis to wellness in how we think and act as an institution and community. We include more about our Wellness Program in another section of our STARS application.

It is also valuable to note that there are many faculty/student/staff projects in our surrounding communities that focus on wellbeing, and we have long-standing, strong partnerships with many local and regional community-based organizations.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
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A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.