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

STARS v2.2

Swarthmore College
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.50 / 4.00 Elizabeth Drake
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Climate Action Plan (2012): "The College will further develop its Green Advisors Program. Currently Green Advisors are students who have volunteered to be leaders and guides in sustainable living within individual dorms. To strengthen this program Green Advisors should have more support – both in training and in receiving a stipend for their work (as funds become available). Each hall should have one or more Green Advisors. Their duties would include communicating with incoming students about ongoing sustainability efforts on campus, introducing sustainability practices during orientation for first year students, and throughout the year initiating and coordinating efforts in sustainable living in the dorms (including energy conservation practices, waste reduction, recycling and composting). The faculty and staff of the College also need ongoing education and training about climate change and sustainable living. To that end, a second group of Green Advisors will be developed from their ranks. The goal is to have one staff/faculty volunteer GA per building. Together they will serve as resident experts to support sustainable living while working within their immediate community."

Zero Waste Plan: "Education in minimizing each individual’s waste footprint is fundamental to the achievement of the long-term objectives of the waste plan. Different segments of the Swarthmore community offer different opportunities for training and education. Coordination of these segments is critical to accomplishing campus-wide understanding of the best practices for waste management and how they can be incorporated into individual lifestyles." (The plan goes on to describe critical moments of education, including at student & employee orientations.)

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Climate Action Plan (2012):
The College's climate action plan established a goal to achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2035 and recommends strategies for reducing emissions, including modifying heating and cooling policies, increasing energy efficiency, procuring renewable energy, and educating the campus community about climate change and sustainability through coursework, co-curricular opportunities, and community engagement.

Environmental Sustainability Framework (2015):
The College created a set of sustainable building standards for new construction and major renovations of existing buildings. These standards are informed by an in-depth analysis of key opportunities for energy conservation and renewable energy and the most effective areas on campus to manage stormwater. To accomplish this analysis and develop the standards, the Sustainability Framework Committee worked with a consultant team led by the architecture firm Ballinger. The standards were drafted in Spring 2015 and first implemented Fall 2015. Specific targets are outlined in this document for stormwater management, energy and carbon, and green building.

Energy Strategy for Sustainability and Resiliency (2017):
This report was developed to advise the Swarthmore College administration and Board of Managers regarding implementation of a comprehensive energy strategy to ensure the campus has reliable, safe, sustainable, and cost effective energy infrastructure to support the College’s educational mission.

Crum Woods Restoration & Stewardship Plan (2018):
The intention of the plan is to identify a clear and actionable pathway to re-storing the ecosystem functionality and resultant benefits to Swarthmore College and the larger community. https://www.swarthmore.edu/crum-woods-stewardship/reports

Dining Community Commons Project Living Building Challenge (2019):
The new Dining and Community Commons project is pursuing the Living Building Challenge Petal Certification v3.1.

Zero Waste Plan (20220: The Zero Waste plan set targets and lays out strategies for integrating zero waste into campus culture, increasing diversion, and reducing per capita waste generation on campus.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:

The Climate Action Plan, published in 2012, states that a Sustainability Director will be hired to help to integrate sustainability into all aspects of the College's educational mission, operations, community life and culture will oversee the coordination of these activities. This position was established in 2015.

The Strategic Directions plan, published in 2011, sets the following targets related to sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion:
-Invest in sustainable environmental practices, including minimizing greenhouse gas emissions from the College’s own operation and preserving the Crum Woods.
- Develop a comprehensive diversity, inclusivity, and engagement plan that will transform the College into a model workplace and residential learning community in an increasingly complex global world.

Additional details are available in the plan: https://www.swarthmore.edu/strategic-directions

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :

The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):
Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:
Minor theme

The institution's sustainability plan (upload):
Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

Environmental Sustainability Framework (2015), approved by the Board of Managers:  
Vision and Purpose: Swarthmore College has a longstanding tradition of embracing environmental sustainability including simple  living and conservation of resources. As an arboretum campus, the College also has a long history of land  stewardship. The College is a signatory of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment and is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035.  The purpose of the Environmental Sustainability Framework, adopted by the College’s Board of Managers in September, 2015, is to organize the College’s sustainability targets in order for the College to establish goals and prioritize funding for landscapes, buildings, and operations. The 79-page document outlines standards, implementation plans, measurement protocols for tracking progress, and recommended next steps to advance the College’s commitments to sustainability and climate protection.
Implementation Recommendations: Achieving the College’s goals requires a significant commitment of effort and financial resources to support, fund, and prioritize campus sustainability initiatives. Most importantly, success requires the ability to measure improvement and validate project performance, enabling the College to make informed decisions. The Framework includes strategies that will help the College achieve its goals and an implementation checklist to support tracking and reporting of the building guidelines.

The institution’s definition of sustainability:


Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following?:
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability No
SDG Accord Yes
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) Yes
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (2010):
Establishes the College's commitment to carbon neutrality by 2035.
Link: https://bulletin.swarthmore.edu/bulletin-issue-archive/archive_p=446.html

Environmental Sustainability Framework (2015):
Sets standards for College capital projects and facilities operations.
Link: https://www.slideshare.net/secret/l3whisbmifoq7F

White House Act on Climate Pledge (2015):
Hosted by the Obama Administration, this pledge outlines a series of commitments related to education and engagement, emissions reductions, buildings, and water.
Link: https://www.swarthmore.edu/sites/default/files/assets/documents/sustainability/Swarthmore%20White%20House%20Act%20on%20Climate%20Pledge.pdf

Put A Price On It Campaign (2016):
Swarthmore President Valerie Smith was the second signatory of the Put A Price On It campaign's letter calling on elected leaders to take action on carbon pricing. The College is an active proponent of the Put A Price On It campaign, for which our involvement put Swarthmore as a finalist for the 2017 International Sustainable Campus Network Sustainable Campus Excellence Award.
Link: https://www.swarthmore.edu/sustainability/policy-social-action

We Are Still In Signatory (2017):
The College joined over 180 leaders in higher education and over 1,000 leaders in the U.S. in declaring their intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.
Link: https://www.swarthmore.edu/news-events/swarthmore-college-commits-to-upholding-paris-accord

Crum Woods Restoration and Stewardship Plan (2018):
Identifies a clear and actionable pathway to re-storing the ecosystem functionality of the Crum Woods and resultant benefits to Swarthmore College and the larger community.
Link: https://www.swarthmore.edu/crum-woods-stewardship/reports

SDG Accord Climate Emergency Letter (2019):
The College joined universities globally in declaring ""a Climate Emergency in recognition of the need for a drastic societal shift to combat the growing threat of climate change.""
Link: https://www.sdgaccord.org/climateletter

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

This information was assembled by 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.