Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.00
Liaison Alistair Hall
Submission Date March 15, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Vassar College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Alistair Hall
Sustainability Assistant
Dean of Strategic Planning
"---" 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:

The Vassar Greens pursue environmental and social justice through action-based campaigns that create lasting change (from their mission statement).

Vassar Animal Rights Coalition works to promote a cruelty-free diet on campus and in the Poughkeepsie Community. They are best known for their promotion of Meatless Mondays; a pledge to forego meat products on Mondays.

SEED, Students for Equitable Environmental Decisions launched in the 2017/18 school year to serve as an activist hub for the college's carbon neutrality efforts.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
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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:

Vassar Experimental Garden (VEG) was started March 2009 by a group students interested in learning to grow their own food and share gardening skills and information. The V.E.G. is organized through the ResLife office and is designed as a cooperative for students and non-students within the Vassar Community.


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:

Vassar Food CoOp is a student organized CSA that has a weekly on-campus pickup for milk, cheese and produce. The students manage membership, farmer outreach, and CSA-share distribution each week.

Challah for Hunger is a student run group and is a local chapter of the national organization. Student bake and sell challah every week to raise money for causes that actively promote social justice. From the the national website: ""For all the volunteers and many of the customers, Challah for Hunger provides opportunities to be involved in a fun and dedicated community, address humanitarian problems, develop and practice new skills like baking and marketing, gain business and leadership experience, engage in traditions of challah and tzedakah, become involved in advocacy and other forms of activism, and more."


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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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?:
No

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

In October 2015, David Orr gave a campus lecture on "Going to Montana" and how sustainability is a journey we must embark upon.

In February 2016, Rob Phocas '91, the Sustainability Manager of the City of Charlotte, North Carolina gave a lecture ""Where do we go from here: Building Smart Cities” on the use of technology and data collection to promote sustainability initiatives.

In November 2016 Hunter Lovins, professor at Bard MBA in Sustainability and sustainable business leader, discussed “Building an Economy in Service of Life.""

In March 2017, the Office of Sustainability hosted a career panel on careers in sustainability with Vassar alumnae/i.


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

The Office of Sustainability hosted a movie screening of "The True Cost" on the environmental impacts of the fast fashion industry, bringing together various student groups and increasing awareness of global sustainability. A clothing exchange was held afterward.

In Fall 2016, the Collaborative Arts Across Disciplines initiative hosted an Artist-in-Residence to create art and poetry on trees around campus.


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:

Vassar College Outing Club is a student governed organization that aims to stimulate low-impact participation in and appreciation for the outdoors, while offering trained, reliable, and safe outdoor leadership, knowledge and equipment for the community without financial discrimination.


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

In the Fall of 2016, the common reading for the first year class was "The Wildlife of Our Bodies" by Rob Dunn. From the book jacket, "We are trapped in bodies that evolved to deal with the dependable presence of hundreds of other species. As Dunn reveals, our modern disconnect from the web of life has resulted in unprecedented effects that immunologists, evolutionary biologists, psychologists, and other scientists are only beginning to understand. Diabetes, autism, allergies, many anxiety disorders, autoimmune diseases, and even tooth, jaw, and vision problems are increasingly plaguing bodies that have been removed from the ecological context in which they existed for millennia." The book and the related campus lecture explored our relationship with nature and how that relationship has changed and evolved over millions of years.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
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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:

"Vassar has a number of cooperative living arrangements, formally and informally known as: Ferry Haus, Meat Haus, and Other Haus. Ferry Haus are vegetarian or vegan and both emphasize cooperative sustainable living by practicing composting and making and sharing group meals.


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

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

Through the Field Work Office, students may participate in internships with local environmental organizations including Riverkeeper, Clearwater, Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Scenic Hudson, and Sprout Creek Farm.

The Career Development Office hosts Sophomore Career Connections annually, a 2 day workshop for second year students to learn networking and discover potential career paths. There is a dedicated track for students interested in sustainability and environmental careers.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
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Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
No

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:
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The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
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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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