Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 43.94
Liaison Lisa Kawai
Submission Date June 5, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Soka University of America
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 2.00 Michelle Hobby-Mears
Director of Student Activities and Residential Life
Student Activities and Residential Life
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Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

Soka Student Union Sustainability Committee:
The mission of the Soka Student Union Sustainability Committee is to materialize the university’s noble principle of “[fostering] leaders for the creative coexistence of nature and humanity” through initiating activities and developing policies that instill a culture of resilience and regeneration in the Soka community. The student-run committee achieves this by working in three areas: research, policies, and outreach and education.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The Soka Instructional Garden (SIG) is a facility of the Environmental Studies Concentration that supports academic programs through instruction in composting and gardening. The SIG serves as a venue to learn and practice these skills in an environmentally friendly, healthy and safe manner. The garden is managed by a garden manager and student workers, assisted by Soka's landscaping staff. Students meet weekly in the garden to compost and harvest crops. The SIG works with Bon Appetit, Soka’s cafeteria service, to give students the opportunity to taste fresh, local, and organic produce grown and harvested by students, and is a space for students to directly learn about and engage in the path of produce from farm to fork. The SIG emphasizes and practices organic agriculture. The Environmental Studies concentration offers courses which utilize the SIG for hands-on learning: EOS 280 Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening, and ECOL 211 Sustainable Aquaculture.


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
No

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
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The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

Student gardeners invited a guest speaker for an event in the Soka Instructional Garden. Students were invited to learn about the speaker's research in ladybugs as biological control.

The Student Sustainability Committee worked with Career Services to create a sustainable career lunch talk series, in which an alumni came to speak about her work in corporate social responsibility. They also hosted a sustainability information fair, inviting different environmental groups and companies to come interact with students.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
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Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

In the 2016-2017 Academic Year, Residential Life and Student Affairs held Hope in Action events, where students responded to visual and performance art about environmental justice, race and class justice, and woman's rights and gender equality.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
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Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
No

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:
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The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
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Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Eco-Wing is a themed community in one of SUA’s residence halls that provides a physical and social space in which Soka students concerned about environmental issues can live and grow together. Residents experiment with conservation methods and spreading awareness to other members of the community. Eco-Wing residents are dedicated to continually learning about environmental movements and issues while engaging with the surrounding student body to raise awareness about the environment at the international, national, and local level.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
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Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
No

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
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Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Soka Instructional Garden supports two student jobs. These student employees have the opportunity to learn and teach others about organic agriculture.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
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Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
No

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:
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The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
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Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
75

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.