Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.36
Liaison Rachael Wein
Submission Date March 2, 2020

STARS v2.2

Smith College
EN-5: Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Rachael Wein
Assistant Director of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution held a sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at students and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Has the institution held a sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at employees and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Name of the campaign:
House Sustainability Challenge 2017

A brief description of the campaign:

This is a description of the House Sustainability Challenge presented to the community through our online news network at the time of the event:

As part of Smith College’s efforts to integrate environmentally sustainable practices into institutional operations, the House Sustainability Challenge seeks to develop innovative programs and strategies that help increase student engagement through house activities. The House Sustainability Challenge invites Smith College houses to develop programs that promote scalable, sustainable practices that can be adopted or implemented by houses campus-wide.Proposals are to be developed by teams of two to five students. A house can have multiple teams or work with another house to create a team. If two houses join forces,the team member limit still remains.Up to five house teams will receive up to $500to pilot their program. Following the pilot period, one winner will be chosen by a panel of judges to receive an additional $1,000 in unrestricted funds for their house,and the opportunity to create a plan to implement across campus.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign:

Article published post-event about the impact of the campaign:
A modest change in Smith house living aims to have a big effect on campus energy use: A new laundry drying-rack system proposed by students in Capen and Morrow is the winner of the college’s first-ever House Sustainability Challenge.

Using portable racks—some store bought and some made by students—the system reduced by nearly 200 cycles the use of dryers in the two houses piloting the program this semester, according to challenge team members.

“Our goal was to give students a simple, accessible alternative to dryers,” explained Yolanda Chigiji ’21.

“We loved working on a project that has the potential to change the whole campus for the better,” added teammate Julianne Borger ’21.

Emma Krasky ’21, Sadie Wiese ’21 and Sophie Guthrie ’21 also were on the project team.

I learned the art of marketing an idea to a large audience and how to be human-centered when making a design

The drying rack idea was one of three finalists selected last fall in the House along with:

A proposal to boost the efficiency of heating systems in Chase and Ziskind houses by recording real-time room temperatures and reporting potential problems to Facilities Management (Yuqing Geng ’21 and Erika Melara ’20).
A program to reduce water use by installing shower-flow regulators in Comstock House (Katie Knowles ’19, Karime Gutierrez ’20).

Finalists were awarded $500 to pilot test their ideas this semester.

At a final challenge competition held at the Campus Center in late April, the three finalist teams used mock infomercials, charts and physical models to help convince the judges that their ideas met student needs, as well as being economically feasible, environmentally sustainable and easy to implement campus-wide.

Residence life director Rebecca Shaw, a judge for the competition, was impressed that the winning project “focused on a real problem—everyone has to wash and dry their clothes. I also really liked that the students built their own racks out of recycled materials.”

Event judge Benjamin Paquette, manager of mechanical trades in Facilities Management, hopes the winning project “will make students more aware of energy conservation and possibly inspire future students to develop more ideas about sustainability.”

René Heavlow, program director at the Conway Center, and Angela Gregory, an Ada Comstock Scholar, also served as judges for the competition.

The Capen and Morrow House team was awarded a $1,000 prize and the chance to help implement the drying-rack program campus-wide next year. The judges were so impressed by the other teams’ presentations that they awarded each of them $250.

For participants, there were additional rewards to taking part in the challenge.

“I learned the art of marketing an idea to a large audience and how to be human-centered when making a design,” said Chigiji.

“To be successful with a program, it’s necessary to communicate constantly with the people involved—in this case, our fellow housemates,” said Borger. “I’m greatly looking forward to spreading our drying-rack program to houses around campus.”

The House Sustainability Challenge was sponsored by Smith’s Conway Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship; the offices of Campus Sustainability and Residence Life; the Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability; and the Design Thinking Initiative.

Name of the campaign (2nd campaign):
Year on Climate Change

A brief description of the campaign (2nd campaign):

Throughout 2018/2019 and the Fall 2019 CEEDS executed an awareness campaign about the college's themed academic year on climate change. The campaign was meant to reach all community members, no matter their primary area of interest and passion to engage them on ways their expertise and focus overlapped with and influenced climate change. Tactics of communication included information sessions for faculty, staff, and students, one on one meetings with numerous academic departments, co-curricular centers, groups within residential life, student organizations, and a dedicated student group. In addition, a student ambassador group was established to do year-long partnership and engagement with student organizations or academic departments of their choosing to sustain a dialogue and generate action.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign (2nd campaign):

During the Year on Climate Change 19/20 there has been a significant increase in non-traditional, non-stem events, workshops, dialogue, activism, and programs related to climate change. These programs have been student, faculty, and staff generated, and have come from all over the college including the poetry center, the design thinking initiative, the art museum, dozens of augmented courses and so on.

A brief description of other sustainability-related outreach campaigns:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.