Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.39
Liaison Brian Liechti
Submission Date March 4, 2020

STARS v2.2

Warren Wilson College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Margo Flood
Sustainability Project Coordinator
Finance and Administration
"---" 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:

Some examples of active student groups focused on sustainability include the Local Foods Crew, which coordinates the College's local food sourcing for the dining halls; the Student Divestment group, which coordinated and executed a campaign leading to the college’s policy to divest from fossil fuels; the Recycling Crew which handles all solid waste and food waste from the campus community; SURJ, Showing Up for Racial Justice, which organizes for social justice activities weekly; the WIDE Crew- which offers programs to promote awareness and inclusion on campus; the Bonner Leaders Crew who organizes such activities as the annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser on campus to raise awareness about hunger and food security issues in the Asheville and Buncombe County community; the Environmental and Social Justice Crew who arranges advocacy trips for Warren Wilson students to get involved in regional environmental policy decisions. (https://www.warren-wilson.edu/programs/environmental-policy/)

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:

Warren Wilson’s Garden Crew oversees an 11-acre organically managed garden that grows produce for on-campus consumption, provides a public, weekly community market, and offers a CSA program; the Farm Crew manages a 300-acre farm that produces pasture-raised beef, pork and poultry for on and off-campus consumption; the Forestry Crew manages a shitake mushroom stand with mushrooms served in the dining hall. All of these crews are staffed by professional managers and students who steward the land and grow and manage livestock and produce. The sustainable food system on campus is complemented by the work of students in the vegan cafe, dining hall, and the Local Foods Crew. Food Security has been an area of focus for community engagement at the College for years. Students volunteer with regional community gardens, food banks, and food reclamation projects most notably during annual Service Day, when hundreds of Warren Wilson volunteers work with regional food security organizations. See https://www.warren-wilson.edu/academics/community-engagement/food-security/ for more information on this topic.

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:

In 2000, students requested that the College provide vegan alternative meals. In partnership with Sodexo, the College founded the Cowpie Cafe. A student crew runs this cafe with oversight from Sodexo and two vegan alternative meals a day are provided to the College community. Sage Cafe is another student-run cafe on campus. With regular hours and a variety of food and beverages, Sage Cafe is a central social location on campus that offers a selection of organic and locally produced foods. The student Herb Crew cultivates herbs and processes tinctures and salves for sale to the public.

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 has committed that its Endowment will be divested from fossil fuels (defined as the Carbon Underground 200) within five years from the establishment of this policy (Oct 2015); and the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees will not deploy any new Endowment Fund monies into companies within the Carbon Underground 200. In October 2015, the college also adopted a morally driven investment policy, which follows:
Environmental, Social and Governance Investing Statement on Environmental, Social and Governance Investing Principles
The Board of Warren Wilson College is the “named fiduciary” of the College’s Endowment. The Investment Committee seeks to optimize the financial return to the college to advance the long-term financial interests of the College and support its mission. It is a core value of Warren Wilson College that the College invests in a socially responsible way. A separate Policy on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Investing shall state the Investment Committee’s policies and goals.
ESG practices can have a material impact on the Endowment’s holdings. Consideration of ESG practices of the Endowment’s investments is consistent with the Investment Committee’s fiduciary duties. The Investment Committee understands that investing in a responsible way does not always offer self-evident decisions. There are likely to be products and services that can be used in ways that are both responsible and contrary to a shared notion of responsibility.
The College will seek to invest and maintain investments in entities that have prospects for sustainable growth and profitability, while conforming to socially responsible characteristics.

As of January 2020, the College’s endowment is 99% free of fossil fuel investments. For more information see https://www.warren-wilson.edu/student-life/sustainability

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 adopted a theme for 2017-2019, The Power of Place, to discuss from a broad lens the social, cultural and environmental implications of "place." Such featured speakers as social justice activist Majora Carter, biologist and poet, J. Drew Lanham, and conservationist and policy activist Jay Leutze have presented compelling perspectives on these issues.

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:

Recent examples follow:

In 2019, the Theatre Department hosted The Arctic Cycle (thearcticcycle.org)- Climate Change Theatre Action to promote listening, dialogue and empowerment while enabling people to talk and take action.

Fiddles and Folklore is an annual College event, inviting traditional musicians and craftspeople from the region to participate in a cultural and musical celebration. (https://www.warren-wilson.edu/2018/04/20/fiddles-folklife/)

Plow Day is an annual College event, inviting mule-drawn teams from the region to participate in animal-drawn plowing events and celebrate traditional farming practices.See https://www.warren-wilson.edu/2019/08/30/plow-day/

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:

We have a distinctive major in Outdoor Leadership that teaches Leave No Trace and other ethical environmental principles. In addition we have a wide range of outdoor programs offered year-round through our Physical Education Department and our Outdoor Programs Department that also teach Leave No Trace principles in each activity and/or field course. See https://www.warren-wilson.edu/programs/outdoor-leadership/ for more information.

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:

Yes, food security has been a theme for all first year and new transfer students' orientation for three years. During student orientation, one entire day is dedicated to performing service off-campus with food security nonprofits to build understanding of this crucial regional issue and demonstrate the importance of community engagement in addressing the issues. See https://www.warren-wilson.edu/2019/08/23/service-day/

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:

Yes, students may learn sustainable life skills in one of the many themed dorms on campus or as participants in Wellness Center programs which offer weekly sessions in yoga, meditation, massage and more. There are many themed dorm options, each imparting sustainable life skills of many sorts:

Themed Dorms:

Outdoor Adventure: Students share their love for, and experiences in, the outdoors through trips on and off campus

Alliance Floor: An intentional and supportive community for LGBTQIA-identified freshmen students

Co-op living: Students in this community cook all their own meals (often together) and are off the campus meal plan

Ecodorm Sustainable living: Ecodorm has a student-tended garden; students who live in Ecodorm are expected to limit their use of electricity and commit to not have energy consuming electronics such as blow dryers, curling irons, mini fridges and gaming stations

Wellness- Substance-Free: Students agree not to have non-prescribed controlled substances (including alcohol) or be intoxicated in the building; weekly game nights provide a substance-free fun event on the weekends

Upperclassman Alliance: The Alliance community offers housing for students who identify as LGBTQIA and their allies; programming in this community may be themed around supporting LGBTQIA students such as pride rallies in Asheville, and Tranzmission service projects

Quiet Study: Students in this community agree to keeping the noise levels down so as to ensure every community member is able to study without distractions

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

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

All students at Warren Wilson work on a student crew for a minimum of ten hours a week. There are many crews dedicated to sustainability and others who employ sustainable practices to do their work. Highlights follow of just a few of the 80 campus crews with that practicing ethos:

Recycling Crew
Provides the campus with effective and innovative recycling, composting and waste disposal services and to reduce the volume and environmental impact of waste generated on campus. They strive to run an efficient and environmentally sound operation, to educate the community about effective resource use, and to inspire the community to find creative alternatives to unsustainable consumption patterns.

Wellness Crew:
Promotes wellness for the body and soul by providing on-campus programs.

Spiritual Life Crew:
Promotes a broad and inclusive spirituality dialog on campus.

Local Food Crew:
The Local Food Crew works with the campus Dining Service provider Sodexo on a variety of local food issues. The crew helps build and cultivate relationships between local growers (including our own farm and garden) and Dining Services. We also help educate the campus community about the many benefits of purchasing local and help identify local ingredients at meals.

Environmental Justice Crew
This crew runs programs to engage students in regional issue-based advocacy, voting registration and raising awareness about the connections between environmental destruction and social oppression via campus programs. https://www.warren-wilson.edu/academics/work-program/

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:

A Sustainable Practices Guide for campus is available at our Sustainability website- https://www.warren-wilson.edu/student-life/sustainability. It was developed by a student work crew (it is attached to this form).

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data for this report was gathered from the College website, relevant faculty, staff the Garden Manager and numerous other sources.

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.