Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.69
Liaison Jennifer Kleindienst
Submission Date April 5, 2023

STARS v2.2

Wesleyan University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jennifer Kleindienst
Sustainability 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:
Sunrise Movement Wesleyan's (the campus branch of the national youth-led climate action organization, coincidentally founded by an alum) recent efforts include providing feedback on and co-developing publicity around Wesleyan’s sustainability strategic plan. In April 2022, Sunrise Wesleyan arranged an Earth Day event on campus and participated in a climate strike at the state capitol. The Sustainable Fashion Club aims to promote clothing sustainability through a variety of means, including clothing upcycle workshops and regular bartering/clothing swap/student vendor events. Food Rescue is a student organization that partners with the Eddy Shelter in Middletown to reduce food waste on campus and alleviate food insecurity in our community. By reallocating the excess food, that would otherwise be thrown away, from our dining establishments (Usdan, Pi Cafe, and Summerfields) to the Eddy Shelter, students establish a valuable community connection, and residents of the shelter receive daily meals.

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:
Long Lane Organic Farm is a cooperatively run small farm that uses ecological farming practices to produce food for the Wesleyan University Campus as well as the broader Middletown community. In addition to serving an important nutritional role in the local area, Long Lane is committed to providing the community with opportunities for festive gatherings and open exchanges, farm and food education, and hopes to contribute collaboratively to thought and practice at the nexus of culture and agriculture in general. Long Lane follows a full consensus structure for its decisions and welcomes all members. Long Lane holds a yearly pumpkin festival each fall and May Day celebration each spring in conjunction with the College of the Environment. Local Co-op provides an affordable option for students to purchase local and sustainable food. At the start of each semester, students can choose to get shares of bread, cheese, coffee, mushrooms, produce, seitan, and tofu. Participating students pick up shares weekly and help once each semester with organization and distribution. Over 350 students, faculty, and staff participate each semester. WILD Wes (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan) is an entirely student-run acre-large permaculture site that focuses on rethinking what landscaping could look like. It features native fruiting trees, bushes, herbs, and flowers, and is officially part of the Middletown Pollinator Pathway. WILD Wes and permaculture in general endeavor to create a “wild” space that humans can still benefit from.

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:
Espwesso is a student run cafe with sustainability embedded in its mission: inspiring a shift in coffee consumption towards more sustainable (and tastier) coffees. Espwesso serves direct-source coffees and teas, which allows coffee roasters to work with growers to ensure that equitable practices are used in terms of both sustainability and taste. All Espwesso labor is work-study. Espwesso is entirely financially sustainable, operating exclusively on student "donations" to cover costs. Any surplus revenue is invested in expanded offerings, lowering costs, or investments that increase our means of production. While revenue is not sufficient to cover the cost of recycled napkins, cups, or other eco-friendly paper products, Espwesso encourages all customers to bring their own mugs by implementing a one-point requested donation on paper cups for drip coffee. Espwesso over the past couple of years has further expanded into a space of social sustainability, where we are constantly engaged in the cafe as a site of organization for a multiplicity of student groups on campus. We provide our employees with adequate training in the coffee industry beyond Wesleyan, as well as providing students with opportunities to engage in managing small business models that are applicable to the working world. We have recently been working with the larger Wesleyan community to provide individuals with basic coffee trainings that might aid them in finding jobs in the service industry beyond the university.

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 Wesleyan Green Fund is a student organized, student endowed, and student run fund created for the purpose of providing capital to a variety of environmental projects that would not otherwise receive support, either from the administration or from the larger student activities fund administered by the Wesleyan Student Assembly. Each semester, each student's tuition bill includes a $15 opt-out fee for the purposes of capitalizing the fund. The Green Fund accepts student, faculty, and staff proposals each semester. Projects are chosen for funding based on their ability to increase the University’s use of renewable energy sources, decrease the University’s carbon footprint, and decrease waste. Special consideration is given to projects that explore intersectionality with the aim of “redefining” environmentalism. The Fund’s members work with project applicants to tailor projects and provide financial and managerial support. The Fund exists to spur creativity, innovation, and collaboration within the Wesleyan student body, faculty, and staff, to empower green initiatives on campus. The Green Fund launched in 2010 and was renewed by the Wesleyan Board of Trustees for five-year terms in 2015 and 2020.

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:
Each year, the College of the Environment hosts a number of symposia and annual events. These events are free and open to the public and bring together diverse audiences to learn about, debate, and discuss the most pressing environmental issues of our day. The Schumann Lecture Series brings to campus a number of outstanding experts to speak on a variety of contemporary environmental issues of great importance. Since 2004, the College of the Environment has hosted an annual "Where on Earth Are We Going" symposium. Each year focuses upon a critical environmental topic and has brought to Wesleyan the people who are at the forefronts of these issues. Since 2004, Wesleyan has celebrated Earth Day with a variety of events. Since 2013, Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff have hosted a full month of activities and events exploring the environment, intersectionality, and community connections: https://www.wesleyan.edu/sustainability/resources/events.html.

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:
Wesleyan’s orientation program has evolved to focus on a common reading, which is a book assigned to all incoming freshman and becomes the focus of all orientation programming (alternating between environment-focused and justice-focused themes). First-year students engage in multidisciplinary discussions about the theme and participate in a Common Moment in which the arts are used to catalyze and embody understanding of the theme.

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:
The Wesleyan Outing Club offers regular trips such as biking, hiking, canoeing, and rock climbing, and longer trips over breaks. Past trips have included winter camping in the White Mountains, biking and a Polar Bear Plunge at nearby Miller’s Pond, a sunrise hike up Mt. Higby, and hiking through New England forests near and far. The Outing Club rents out a supply of outdoor gear to students, including sleeping bags, tents, stoves, canoes, kayaks, and cross country skis. When the Outing club members hike or camp they make sure everything in nature is as they found it (following leave no trace principles).

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:
From 2008-2012, the orientation program had an environmental theme. From 2013-2015, the orientation program alternated between themes focused on equity/inclusion and environmental issues. Recent readings have focused on issues of disability, women's empowerment, and racial justice. In the Beyond 2020 strategic plan sustainability section, President Roth committed Wesleyan to alternating between environmental and social themes for common readings. 2022's reading was Guardians of the Trees: https://www.wesleyan.edu/orientation/common-read-2022.html. Each year, the College of the Environment gathers a group of Wesleyan faculty, scholars of prominence from outside Wesleyan, and undergraduate students into a year-long academic think tank on a critical environmental issue. The aim of the think tank is not only to generate a deeper understanding of the thematic issue, but also to produce scholarly works that will influence national and international thinking and action on the issue. The think tank serves as a focal point for the global intellectual community concerned with the environment. Scholars and students in the think tank are expected to produce scholarly works by the end of the academic year. Read more at https://www.wesleyan.edu/coe/thinktank/index.html.

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:
Wesleyan has several environmentally-themed houses: Earth House, Farm House, and Out House. The Sustainability Office holds periodic workshops to educate students on sustainable life skills. Students in the Sustainability Office go door-to-door in houses to educate on issues of composting annually. Eco Facilitators collaborate with Residential Advisors in dorms to host events that include topics related to heating, recycling, compost, laundry, and other issues.

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

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:
The Sustainability Office offers several paid part-time internships each year. In the 2022-23 school year, there were 3-4 positions focused on composting and waste reduction, 2-3 positions focused on student engagement, 2 positions focused on Middletown community engagement, 4 Eco Facilitators coordinators; and 28 Eco Facilitators (peer-to-peer advisors aimed at fostering sustainable habits). Learn more about what each team does at https://www.wesleyan.edu/sustainability/office/internships.html. The Resource Center offers 3 paid internships each year to students. The Spirituality and Sustainability Interns aim to foster a more cohesive, collaborative and inclusive community for students involved in spirituality and sustainability on campus. Through conducting meetings, programs, and workshops in collaboration with both student organizations and the administration, they seek to highlight the intersections between environmentalism, spirituality, and social justice. They aim to not only support student organizations through providing materials and personal resources, but also to be a transformative force for sustainable and spiritual innovations on campus. https://www.wesleyan.edu/resourcecenter/about/Staff.html The College of the Environment offers paid fellowships for students to do research or project-based work under the guidance of a faculty or staff mentor during the summer or fall on projects directly concerned with sustainability and environmental justice. These internships are available to students and faculty across the entire University. The internship awards $4,400 to a successful applicant. Summer internship can be awarded to students doing research off campus and outside the Middletown area as long as there is a well-developed plan for faculty/staff mentorship. In Summer 2022, 34 students received COE internship funding. Read about summer research projects at http://coexist.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2022/09/06/i-know-what-you-did-last-summer/. Bon Appetit Management Company, the College of the Environment, and student-run Green Fund jointly fund paid internships each summer at Long Lane Farm. Students are responsible for growing produce, keeping records, managing Farmers' Market sales, and other farm-related duties. Farm produce is served in Wesleyan dining halls, sold at the Middletown Farmers' Market, and donated to St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen. Green Fund also supports summer student internship positions for the student-run permaculture program WILD Wes; 2 students were funded in Summer 2022.

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:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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