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

STARS v2.1

Skidmore College
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.75 / 4.00 Levi Rogers
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability Office
"---" 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:

Skidmore College's Institutional Strategic Plan, "Creating Pathways to Excellence: The Plan For Skidmore College 2015-2025" outlines four strategic goals: Integrative Learning and Education, Access, Well-Being, and Sustainability. While sustainability is clearly addressed within each of the College's strategic goals, Skidmore asserts the importance of sustainability, broadly understood in Goal IV, titled Sustainability.

Goal IV aims "to continue to build a sustainable institutional foundation for excellence" by "deploying the concept of sustainability, broadly understood, as an organizing principle, we will invest our time, energy, and funding in initiatives to ensure the College's long-term viability and success." There are four main categories included in goal IV that are considered: financial, human, natural, and marketing. Notably, the Plan states that all of the initiatives outlined in the plan will depend on Skidmore's capacity to increase and steward our resources wisely, creatively, and effectively.


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:
Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
No

A copy of the climate action plan:
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The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
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):

The 2007 Campus Plan: A Vision for the Future: Skidmore's Campus Master Plan includes a committment to sustainability. The plan also thats that "In facilities operations, the college should consider alternative energy sources such as wind, geothermal and photovoltaics. It should document and monitor its carbon balance. Creative thought may matter more here than any other issue the college faces. As a leader in its community, as a center of learning and scholarship, and as an institution with a very long time horizon, Skidmore has a responsibility to endeavor to do everything within its means to foster sustainability."

https://www.skidmore.edu/planning/2007/documents/FullPlan2007.pdf

Middle States Accreditation- The five chapters that comprise the self-study include General Education Review and Reform; the First-Year Experience, the Sophomore Experience, and Beyond College; Physical and Digital Spaces for Integrative Learning; Diversity and Inclusion; and Responsible Communities: Civic Engagement, Sustainability, and Values and Ethics.

Responsible communities concern themselves with the greater good. This chapter addresses Goals III and IV of the 2005-2015 Strategic Plan, and current planning initiatives have strengthened our commitment to these principles.

https://www.skidmore.edu/assessment/accreditation15-16/


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:

As stated in the Campus Sustainability Plan, we aim to increase course offerings that incorporate sustainability. We will measure and track progress toward this goal after our comprehensive curriculum audit.

Skidmore plans to develop a sustainability literacy survey to assess and track community understanding of sustainability issues.


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:

Goal: To make sustainability an essential feature of Skidmore's identity and a value that is integrated into all aspects of the College.

The College plans to administer a sustainability literacy test to track and analyze our progress toward this goal. The sustainability literacy test is forthcoming. We plan to administer the test broadly among the Skidmore and Saratoga Springs community, and we aim for a measurable increase in sustainability literacy over time. We continuously track community engagement in sustainability through campus programs, event attendance, volunteerism, and more.

As indicated in other sections of this STARS report, we also survey our campus community to measure awareness, comprehension, and involvement in specific campus sustainability initiatives. Topics include Skidmore's Zero-Sort recycling program, composting program, sustainable food literacy, bike share utilization, and more. The results of these annual surveys inform future programming efforts and are intended to improve the effectiveness of each initiative.

Skidmore's sustainability team also offers over 30 campus tours and lectures a year to students, staff, and faculty from departments across the college to educate and enage the community in the College's sustainability efforts.


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

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

Our goal "to make sustainability an essential feature of Skidmore's identity and a value that is integrated into all aspects of the College" will be measured in part by a sustainability literacy test that is administered to Saratoga Springs community members. A sustainability literacy test is forthcoming, and we aim for a measurable increase in sustainability literacy and awareness of college-efforts over time.

We also invite the public to numerous campus sustainability tours every year. We plan to offer more frequent tours as we work toward the Engagement goal articulated in the Campus Sustainability Plan. We have already increased the number of tours offered to the public, and have begun offering tours focused on specific initiatives such as solar, geothermal, and land stewardship efforts.

Goal four of the 2015-2025 Campus Sustainability Plan requires the College to engage with stakeholders across the region to develop a comprehensive lands and grounds management plan for over 1000 acres of college-owned undeveloped land by 2025. We have already connected with numerous community groups and stakeholders in this work and will have a comprehensive land stewardship plan by 2025.

The goals in Creating Pathways to Excellence: The Plan For Skidmore College 2015-2025, The 2015-2025 Campus Sustainability Plan, and Middle States Accreditation report all address objectives to expand and enhance public engagement.


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:

75% reduction in GHG emissions from 2000 levels by 2025.


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:

1. 60% reduction in energy use for heating and cooling per student and square foot.
2. Maintain electricity use per student and square foot.
3. Commit to build the new Center for Integrated Sciences to LEED standards.


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:

1. 60% of our electricity from renewable energy by 2025.
2. 60% of our heating and cooling from renewable energy by 2025.


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:

25% Sustainable Food by 2025. Sustainable Food is defined as:

- Local and Community-Based: These foods can be traced to farms and businesses that are locally owned and operated (within 250 miles).
- Fair: Individuals involved in food production, distribution, preparation--and other parts of the food system—work in safe and fair conditions; receive a living wage; are ensured the right to organize and the right to a grievance process; and have equal opportunity for employment.
- Ecologically Sound: Farms, businesses, and other operations involved with food production practice environmental stewardship that conserves biodiversity and preserves natural resources, including energy, wildlife, water, air, and soil.
- Humane: Animals can express natural behavior in a low-stress environment and are raised with no hormones or unnecessary medication.
- Conscientious: Businesses operations are guided by the principles of sustainability. Certified Benefit Corporations and organizations that routinely publish Social Responsibility Reports that prove consistent ethical and transparent business practices will be considered.

(Adopted from the Real Food Challenge, 2015)


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:

As part of our endorsed Campus Sustainability Plan, we are in the process of developing a comprehensive lands and grounds management plan for all College-owned undeveloped land by 2025. This plan will guide land use decisions for over 1000 acres of undeveloped land.


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

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing 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 Transportation?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation 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 Waste?:
Yes

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

1. 60% diversion rate in routine operations by 2025.
2. 50% diversion rate for special projects by 2025.


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

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water 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 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:

- Develop Creativity Scholarship Program of need‐based aid targeting highly creative students interested in all areas of the curriculum [requires increasing endowment by $10 million to support $125,000 of new awards to each class].
- Increase endowment support for financial aid budget by $2 million through successful completion of the Creating Our Future campaign [requires increasing endowment by $40 million].
- Explore an alternative admissions pathway that foregrounds creativity, and evaluate other admissions practices (e.g., use of standardized tests) that may serve to limit applicant pools.
- Develop an institutional Diversity and Inclusion Plan to guide college wide work toward achieving inclusive excellence.


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

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance 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 Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

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

- Increase professional development opportunities for members of the College staff.
- To promote strategic alignment of well‐being initiatives across College divisions, convene a group of campus leaders to form a well‐being collaborative to plan, seek funding for, and implement a comprehensive plan to promote campus wide well‐being (e.g. explore ways to increase effectiveness of the campus Smoking Policy and determine whether to make Skidmore a smoke‐free environment). Enhance opportunities for members of the campus community—most especially students but also members of the faculty and staff—to pursue activities relating to physical fitness and overall health.


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

Recognizing environmental limits, and sharing the ethic that present actions should not "compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,"* the Skidmore College community embraces both the concept and the holistic, lived practice of sustainability. We endeavor to enact environmentally responsible practices, grounded in economic and social equity, and through our actions to have a positive impact on our community and our planet.

Skidmore's primary mission is education, and the College's greatest impacts and achievements will be realized as consequences of the lives our graduates lead. As part of an ever-growing population on a finite planet, we are confronted with an increasingly urgent need to address the resulting environmental constraints and social challenges. Institutional adoption of sustainable practices, informed by an understanding of the complex, interconnected nature of living systems and their physical environment, provides the opportunity for each Skidmore community member to become educated, personally involved in addressing these challenges, and empowered with techniques and strategies that they might apply to make positive changes beyond Skidmore.

We invite Skidmore community members to engage in mindful consideration of their individual and collective ecological, economic and social impacts, to examine their values, and to collaborate in demonstrating their values and principles through action. Teaching, learning and living in accordance with the tenet of sustainability fosters broad education and civic engagement of our community members, and prepares our students to be informed, active citizens and leaders in realizing sustainable futures. The health and wellbeing of future generations is dependent upon their success.
*Brundtland Commission


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:
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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.