Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.92
Liaison Christina Goodwin
Submission Date March 5, 2021
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Sterling College (VT)
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Favor Ellis
Dean of Community
Residence Life
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

Social and Environmental Justice Club (SEJC)

The SEJC at Sterling College is a student-driven club that meets to discuss various social and environmentally related issues going on locally and regionally. Many of these apply to the larger context of sustainable communities. Past events attended by members include the Global Climate Strike in September of 2019.


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:

Among the nation’s first college farms, our farm is a big part of our campus, and farm work is well integrated with academic study, the work program, and everyday community life. Students grow 30% of our own food on campus. Students conduct research experiments on the farm and gain hands-on experience growing crops, managing livestock, using the woodlot, and working with draft horses.

Moreover, we lease farmland in Kentucky in order to offer an immersive, hands-on opportunity for students to learn through the tuition-free Wendell Berry Farming Program. This program is a 2-year experience for a cohort of 12 selected students who graduate with BA degrees in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems.


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Sterling College offers a student-run CSA operation; this 18 week CSA is available to faculty, staff, students, and the public. Shares are available during the Summer and Fall months, when the farm is at the peak of production.
The College offers small and large vegetable shares, as well as fresh eggs from the farm, and cut flower arrangements for your office or home (or to give to a friend!). Offerings will vary, but might include: mixed salad greens, assorted roots, brassicas, scallions, garlic, cukes/zukes, tomatoes, kale or chard, peas or beans, herbs, and berries, as available.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

We have a Student Activities Fund, which is managed by students and specifically for student-motivated events and needs on campus; decisions about funding are made by Student Life Council. For example, last year students voted to purchase additional human-powered bicycles for the Green Bikes Program.


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:

Guest speakers on topics of sustainability are a regular occurrence at Sterling, both in the classroom and in the form of public events. Most recently, the College hosted Vandana Shiva, Dr. Michelle Perro, Debal Deb, and Dr. Teresa Mares.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
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:

We have performers come to campus such as A2VT, a hip-hop group made up of refugees from Africa that rap about sustainability and climate justice. These events are motivated by students and funded through the Student Activities Fund.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

Outdoor Education classes at Sterling College follow Leave No Trace principles. For example, Winter Expedition, a first year experiential learning opportunity, gives students an in-depth exploration of experiential education that culminates in a three day, four night trip with the smallest impact possible. For those students interested in a longer wilderness experience to practice Leave No Trace ethics, Sterling offers a semester long Southwest Field Program. Outdoor Education Faculty are trained to be Leave No Trace educators.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
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:

Sustainability is a large theme in new students' first class at Sterling, A Sense of Place. This intensive, course includes sustainability as a major theme through field experiences, readings, and discussions.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

All of the residence halls included on campus are designed to develop sustainable life skills in Sterling College students. Life at Sterling is warm, respectful, and above all, supportive as we all share our individual journeys toward ecological thinking and action.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

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

A Federal Work Program College, Sterling utilizes a number of student employment opportunities that are focused on sustainability. Some of these include Food Systems Analyst, Sustainability Tracking Assistant, and a myriad of Farm Crew-related positions.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
Yes

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

Since 2004, we have been a part of the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility. The pledge reads: "I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work."


The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
Yes

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

We partner with Yestermorrow Design/Build School. Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers courses, certificate programs, and a semester program in construction, woodworking, architectural craft, and sustainable design. Most of these are eligible for Sterling credit. As the partnership page on Yestermorrow states, “Any student can earn continuing education units for Yestermorrow courses through Sterling College, and access AmeriCorps and GI Bill benefits. Sterling undergraduates can integrate coursework at Yestermorrow into their degree with the option to earn minors in Woodworking, Natural Building, or Sustainable Building and Design.”


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