|Submission Date||July 22, 2014|
Western Michigan University
EN-1: Student Educators Program
Does the institution coordinate one or more ongoing student, peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs that meet the criteria for this credit?:
Number of degree-seeking students enrolled at the institution:
Name of the student educators program (1st program):
Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (1st program):
A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (1st program):
Ecothon is an energy reduction, recycling and sustainability education competition among the residence halls each February. The four weighted factors of the competition are energy reduction (25%), Recycling Round Ups (weighed recycling collections; 25%), resident assistant programming on sustainability (rubric used to assess events; 35%), and leadership council involvement (5%). There is an overall winner, as well as energy, recycling and programming category winners for the two geographic areas of campus. The program is facilitated by resident assistants (RAs) and leadership council (LC) members. They promote the competition, encourage resident participation, educate students, and try to elicit behavior change. Depending on the hall, RAs or LC volunteers will go door-to-door weekly to collect and weigh recyclables. Advertised “blackouts” (power down your room and come do something with neighbors) speaks to energy conservation. Both RAs and LCs do bulletin boards, passive programs and active programs on a wide variety of sustainability subjects. Spring 2013 examples include creative ways to reuse items, crafts using recyclable items, making your own water filter with sand, cooking without using your oven (no bake cookies), planting flowers, natural beauty products, sustainable living tips, rewards for turning off your room light, recycling facts and clothing swaps. During Ecothon 2013, there were 49 RA and LC events planned, 2.72 tons of recyclables collected, and six of 11 LCs participated. The overall competition winner receives $500 to purchase a sustainable item for the hall (eg. water bottle hydration station), a tree planted outside the hall, traveling plaque, and $300 for a hall celebration using local foods. The energy reduction and recycling category winner receive a traveling plaque and either $150 for a hall celebration or $200 toward a sustainable purchase.
A brief description of how the student educators are selected (1st program):
Resident assistants are selected via an application (resume, essay questions), group interview and individual interview process. Leadership Council members are volunteer student leaders in the hall who chose to participate or are elected into a leadership council position (eg. president, programming chair, promotion chair).
A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (1st program):
RAs receive two weeks of training prior to students arriving on campus regarding all aspects of their position. Specific to sustainability and Ecothon, RAs can attend a one-hour development session on sustainability program ideas. There are also in-hall conversations and planning for Ecothon that happen with the RA staff team and their supervisors. LC members receive training on how to plan and promote events, as well as other leadership topics like time management, running meetings, and team dynamics.
A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (1st program):
Residence Life allocates each residence hall $3,000 to use for all hall programming activities. Supplies for in-hall Ecothon events come from those funds. Leadership Councils have an independent budget based on their residence hall occupancy. Depending on the hall size, that can be $700-1,300 per semester. Additional one-time funds can also be requested from the Assistant Director of Residence Life who oversees programming and sustainability efforts. Residence Life allocates $2,000 for Ecothon overall and category prize winners. Facilities Management donates the tree planted at the overall winner’s hall.
Name of the student educators program (2nd program):
Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (2nd program):
A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):
Residence Life programming expectations require all residence halls to offer at least one program or event per semester that educates residents on sustainability topics. These programs are planned and implemented by resident assistants, Residence Life student staff members who live on each floor of the residence halls. All sustainability programs are reported on monthly hall program summaries. In addition, resident assistants fill out a program worksheet describing what the program was, evaluating it and summarizing student’s response/feedback to the program. These worksheets are reviewed by the hall supervisor and an assistant director of Residence Life, and log of all sustainability programs offered in an academic year is created. From July 1, 2012 to June 2013, 68 sustainability programs were conducted. Some programs were passive educational campaigns for an entire residence hall, but most were events students could attend. During the time frame stated above, 759 students were reported as attending a sustainability program, or an average of 11 students per event (10 program forms did not indicate audience size). Examples of resident assistant sustainability programs include a clothing swap, reusing objects (T-shirts, plastic bottles, magazines), making totes for shopping, recycling trivia, blackout events (turn off electronics in your room), comparing hybrid and plug-in cars, calculating your carbon footprint, collecting recyclables door-to-door, water conservation, campus tours with a naturalist, and benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.
A brief description of how the student educators are selected (2nd program):
Resident assistants are selected via an application (resume, essay questions), group interview and individual interview process. Successful candidates must have a 2.6 GPA, lived in the residence halls at least two semesters, have excellent interpersonal skills, demonstrated leadership potential and be a positive role model for fellow students.
A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (2nd program):
Resident assistants attend two weeks of training prior to the residence halls opening. Three hours during that time is allocated for programming training, which covers how to plan events, promotion, assessing resident needs, and community building. Additional time is spent in-hall with each staff to further discuss programming specific to that residence hall and developing an event calendar for the semester. In addition to fall training, there are ongoing development/training sessions during the school year. In January, one of those sessions topics is programming about sustainability.
A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (2nd program):
Residence Life allocates each residence hall $3,000 to use for all hall programming activities. Supplies for sustainability programming would come from those funds. In addition, program forms of successful past sustainability programs are available in a binder at each hall and on a shared server for resident assistants to access for ideas.
Name of the student educators program (3rd program):
Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (3rd program):
A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (3rd program):
Wesustain Interns participate in leadership and discovery-driven learning opportunities and are paid to research and work on campus sustainability projects and policies. Interns study campus sustainability initiatives, develop presentations about sustainability programs and opportunities, and deliver office tours, campus tours, and classroom presentations for their student peers.
For example Interns reach new students annually and share information during Orientation Tours, EcoMug distribution, and numerous campus tabling and outreach events (e.g., how to recycle on campus). Interns also recruit students for events, hands-on volunteer opportunities (e.g., harvest), and our Annual Sustainability Events Series. Students working on non-motorized transportation efforts reach out and "tag" bikes with safety and bike repair opportunities in our student bicycle cooperative.
Interns advance rapidly in the Office for Sustainability, serve all students on campus numerous times per year, and become Sustainability Ambassadors. Interns often take on additional responsibilities like program management and best practice research.
Interns activities are highlighted across our social media platforms.
A brief description of how the student educators are selected (3rd program):
Internships are recommended for sophmores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students and they require a six month commitment of 4-8 hours per week. Internship applications are accepted on a rolling basis at the Office for Sustainability and are highly competitive. Students are encouraged to volunteer, secure a part-time position, or complete a sustainability-related course before applying for internships.
A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (3rd program):
Each year, cohorts of Interns:
-View presentations on campus sustainability
-Participate in several group discussions per month on sustainability topics
-Review campus sustainability initiatives and ongoing projects
-Train as tour guides
-Develop shout-outs for classroom promotion and recruitment
-Complete leadership development exercises and team building outings (e.g., high ropes)
-Provide regular feedback to the Office for Sustainability through surveys and brainstorming sessions
A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (3rd program):
A subset of the "Green Jobs" provided through the Office for Sustainability are reserved for Wesustain Internships. More than $60,000 is available annually. Office for Sustainability full-time staff maintain office and field space for daily research, meetings, permaculture, and residential living (for Gibbs House Fellows). Staff supervise, mentor, and evaluate intern performance and recommend advanced opportunities.
Name(s) of the student educator program(s) (all other programs):
Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by all other student educator programs:
A brief description of the program(s), including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (all other programs):
A brief description of how the student educators are selected (all other programs):
A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (all other programs):
A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (all other programs):
Total number of hours student educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually:
The website URL for the peer-to-peer student outreach and education program(s):
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.