Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.69
Liaison Elizabeth Drake
Submission Date March 6, 2020

STARS v2.2

Swarthmore College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Melissa Tier
Sustainability Program Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

There are 9 student groups considered part of Swarthmore's sustainability Ecosphere': Bird Club, EAT (Enjoy, Appreciate, Taste), Garnet Go Green, The Good Food Project, The Outsiders Club, Serenity Soular, Sunrise, Swat Put A Price On It, and Sync Up for Zero Waste.


Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

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

The College has two vegetable gardens: the Good Food Garden (student-run) and the Our Food Garden (led by a Biology/Environmental Studies course). Both gardens are managed in the summer by student interns hired by the College's Arboretum. The summer interns focus on harvesting and providing food to communities on campus and locally.

Article about Our Food Garden: https://www.swarthmore.edu/news-events/%E2%80%98our-food%E2%80%99-garden-connects-students-and-community-members-to-larger-food-systems

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The Worthmore Free Store is a donation-based enterprise that provides access to room furnishings and other supplies for students who may otherwise face cost or transport barriers in obtaining such items. Complementing this environmental and social mission, Worthmore aims to reduce waste by fostering a culture of reuse and preventing unnecessary purchases. As a “free” store (where all items cost $0), Worthmore is an alternative economic practice that challenges students to think creatively about resource sharing.

Website: https://www.swarthmore.edu/sustainability/worthmore

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

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

The College's Sustainability Committee hosts the Green Initiatives Fund, which is an opportunity to small-sized grants for creative, on-campus sustainability projects.

Website: https://www.swarthmore.edu/sustainability/green-initiatives-fund

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

The College hosted Paul Hawken, founder of 350.org, and Kamuela Enos, a prominent indigenous leader and activist from Hawaii, in a public lecture in December 2019 that discussed solutions to the climate crisis, indigenous practices, and centering marginalized communities in conversations about the climate. In November 2019, the College invited Professor Mimi Sheller to speak about climate change and the resulting migratory patterns in a lecture entitled "Climate Refugees, Kinetic Elites, and the Struggle for Mobility Justice". In October 2019, Professor Sandra Steingraber, author of Living Downstream and pipeline activist, presented a lecture entitled "Waking up to the Reality of Climate Change". In September 2019, Professor Aly Mbaye of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal presented a lecture to discuss the effects of climate change on economies and societies in the Sahel region. In September 2019, Professor Richard Alley gave a lecture on the human impacts of climate change and his work with ice cores in Antarctica for identifying the increasing trends of atmospheric carbon concentrations.

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

The Peace and Conflict Studies and Environmental Studies departments offered a film screening of "Half-Mile, Upwind, on Foot", along with a Q&A session with the filmmaker and anti-pipeline activists featured in the film. In November of 2017, the campus held an exhibition called "What goes Around Comes Around: The Circle of Trash", which aimed to illustrate the lifecycle of trash along with the history of student environmental justice activism at Swarthmore.

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

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

The "Outsiders" Outing Club is dedicated to giving Swarthmore students across all class years and experience levels the opportunity to explore the outdoors through a wide array of activities, including climbing, hiking and backpacking.

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

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


Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

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

The student Green Advisors become experts in and teach community members about composting - as well as reduction/diversion methods more broadly. The College also has student clubs on campus, such as Swarthmore Zero Waste (SZW) that hosts clothing swaps in which students bring in old clothes to donate or trade, in addition to workshops for sewing and mending clothes. We also have student workers hired throught the campus arboretum who tend to onsite vegetable gardens year-round, which provides vegetables for weekly summer vegetable giveaways to community members and students living on campus. Fieldwork, gardening, and food management are also taught through courses under the Environmental Studies major such as Compost and Climate Change and Our Food.

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

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

Many student positions with the Office of Sustainability & Scott Arboretum: Green Advisors, President's Sustainability Research Fellows, Office Interns, Worthmore Move-Out Assistants, Summer Interns, Garden Assistants

GAs: https://www.swarthmore.edu/sustainability/green-advisors
PSRF: https://www.swarthmore.edu/sustainability/presidents-sustainability-research-fellowship
Scott Arboretum Interns: https://www.scottarboretum.org/learn/

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):


A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Annual Crum Woods Clean Up: for the past several years, the College sets aside a day to welcome staff, students, and community volunteers for a collective woods clean-up and meadow planting effort.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Participation: for the past several years, Swarthmore has sent a delegation usually consisting of about 4 students and 2 faculty (each year), to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) as observers, to learn about the negotiations. The students and faculty regularly update a public blog, post from which some faculty choose to incorporate into their lesson plans.
Website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/sustainability/un-conference-delegation

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data for this credit was reported by representatives from the Office of Sustainability and informed by publicly accessible materials on the College website.

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.