Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.09
Liaison Elizabeth Drake
Submission Date March 3, 2023

STARS v2.2

Swarthmore College
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 E. Carr Everbach
Professor of Engineering
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:

A brief description of the student sustainability research program:

In the President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship (PSRF) at Swarthmore College, students learn by leading: by taking stewardship over vital sustainability challenges. The program matches small teams of advanced students with staff and faculty mentors to research, develop, and implement projects in a year-long course and associated internship. In the program’s pilot year, our Fellows are doing all we could have asked: redesigning our waste management system, developing a 3-year vision for campus woods stewardship, implementing Swarthmore's internal carbon price, launching behavioral change strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and creating a system to track sustainability progress across campus. They’re also doing more than we could have imagined. In tackling waste reduction, for instance, Fellows are uniting custodial staff and students by redefining waste as an environmental justice issue. In championing the campus woods, Fellows are connecting faculty and students with grounds and arboretum staff to engage not only the College provost and vice-presidents but also neighboring communities. The pioneering PSRF program, a collaboration between the President’s Office, the Office of Sustainability, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, fosters interdisciplinary collaboration throughout the institution. As students learn, lead, and innovate, they apply their knowledge to pressing needs and produce replicable solutions for our campus and beyond.

Does the institution have a program to encourage academic staff from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:

A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:

Beginning in 2021-22, the ENVS program began a Faculty Affiliates program for faculty outside of the ENVS department who are committed to engaging in environmental and sustainability issues in their classes and research. Faculty Affiliates meet regularly and are offered training, workshop, and idea sharing spaces for engaging in environmental issues and sharing how they are bringing these ideas into their work. More information here: https://www.swarthmore.edu/environmental-studies/envs-faculty-affiliates.

Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:

The Swarthmore Libraries partner with Bryn Mawr and Haverford to offer TriCo Research Guides. Our guides related to Environmental Studies offer some examples of support for sustainability research: TriCo Research Guide: Environmental Studies. On this guide, you'll see links to sustainability-related resources to which the Libraries subscribe, such as: GREENR (https://catalog.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/find/Record/.b4142278) and GreenFILE (https://catalog.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/find/Record/.b3319614). The Libraries actively collect print and digital materials relating to various aspects of sustainability. In terms of Library support for research, my colleagues and I provide instructional support and reference assistance to students in courses that relate to sustainability in various ways.
Here are some of the courses we've worked with over the past couple of years, along with links to the relevant course-specific research guide:
- ANTH 023C: Anthropology of Conservation (Schuetze, Spring 2016)
- HIST 033: Environmental History of the Soviet Union (Weinberg, Fall 2015)
- BIOL 002: Organismal and Population Biology (Miller, Spring 2016)
- BIOL 034: Evolution (Mayack, Fall 2015)

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Information for this credit was compiled by Carr Everbach, Professor of Engineering and Environmental Studies and representatives from the Office of Sustainability.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.