Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Chelsea Hamilton
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Vanderbilt University
EN-2: Student Orientation

Status Score Responsible Party
-- Reporter Chelsea Hamilton
Sustainability Outreach Coordinator
Sustainability and Environmental Management Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Are the following students provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability?:
Yes or No
First-year students Yes
Transfer students Yes
Entering graduate students Yes

Percentage of all entering students that are provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability:

A brief description of how sustainability is included prominently in new student orientation :

All new students receive educational materials covering sustainability prior to arrival on campus. Additionally, the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office participates in a resources and information fair, which is attended by all first-year students during orientation. All first-year students must participate in a semester-long environmental seminar series, and educational information on sustainability is left in each first-year students’ residence hall room.

At the beginning of each school year, information sessions are held with all Resident Advisors, who then disseminate information to their constituent residents. All student desk workers in The Commons Center and Sarratt Student Center also receive a brief lesson in sustainability initiatives on campus.

A student organizations’ fair is held each fall to introduce new and returning students to service and organizational opportunities on campus, including those focused on the environment and sustainability. Incoming freshmen also participate in Commodores in the Community, a full day of service to organizations at Vanderbilt and in the Nashville community. Past projects have assisted the Vanderbilt Biodiesel Initiative, the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office, and local community gardens. Additionally, the EcoDores program is a peer to peer sustainability educational program that organizes activities and events to get students in their residence halls actively engaged.

First-year students also participate in a program called “Vanderbilt Visions”, which contains presentations with a sustainability theme. Vanderbilt Visions is a key component of an educational program in The Ingram Commons that encourages first-year undergraduates to be empowered and responsible members of the Vanderbilt University community.

“Visions” is a one-semester, university core program that begins during CommonVU week and meets weekly until Thanksgiving break. All first-year students are assigned to one of 92 Visions groups, which connect students from all ten Houses of The Commons and all four undergraduate colleges. Teams of upperclass peer mentors and faculty members (Student and Faculty VUceptors) mentor these small groups as they explore the transitions all experience moving from high school to university life. A syllabus organizes hour-long meetings, but provides groups significant autonomy to chart their own course. SEMO has provided sustainability education modules that are used by the Vuceptors during their Visions courses.

Efforts to reduce waste generated during first-year student orientation and move-in are made wherever possible. Rather than purchasing bottled water, students, families, and friends are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles that can be filled up at water cooler stations throughout The Ingram Commons during move-in. Plastic, aluminum, cardboard, paper, and molded Styrofoam recycling have also been incorporated into first-year move-in operations and events.

The Ingram Commons Cup - Just as Hogwarts has its House Cup, The Ingram Commons has the Commons Cup with ten individual first year Houses competing against each other in academics, intramural sports, House involvement, community involvement and sustainability. The Commons Cup is awarded at the Commons Carnival on the last day of classes. Students in first-year houses compete against each other to conserve as much energy as possible in their own House each year. Each month, the ten residence Houses’ electricity usage data is sent to The School for Science and Math, a joint venture between Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), which offers high school students a four-year, interdisciplinary, research-centered learning experience. The School for Science and Math calculates the houses with the most energy conserved as compared to the same house the previous year. Points are awarded on a sliding scale, and the points are added to each House’s running total to determine placement in The Commons Cup.

Website URL where information about sustainability in student orientation is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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