Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.23
Liaison Sarah Williams
Submission Date July 24, 2023

STARS v2.2

Whitman College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Sarah Williams
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability, Facilities Services
"---" 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:

Whitman College has numerous student groups, with many focused on sustainability (environmental, social, and economic sustainability, justice, wellness, and more). These groups include but are not limited to: ASWC Sustainability Chair + Committee, the Climate Change Coalition, Glean Club, and the Organic Garden.

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:

The Whitman Organic Garden was created in 1997 by four students with the help of staff and faculty. We produce eggs and we grow a wide variety of annual and perennial vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The garden is also a space dedicated to spiritual renewal, meaningful labor, and community vitality. The Organic Garden is a place where students and community members can hangout, play with chickens, get dirty in the soil, and enjoy the process of creatively growing and eating food. Enjoy a nighttime walk to the garden, sit under the gazebo, pick some basil. The Organic Garden Student Club maintains the garden and organizes events to open the space up to everyone. During the school year, the garden is run by volunteers, and during the summer we hire interns to keep the garden going. In an effort to improve soil fertility, the Organic Garden often accepts contributions of food scraps from Whitman students and community members. In our simple but effective compost system, the Garden turns the contributed waste into rich soil used to grow more food. Open Gardens are periodic events when the garden is open to anyone and everyone who wants to be involved. All you have to do is show up! Open Gardens are announced through the organic garden listserv, garden@lists.whitman.edu. During winter months, there are no Open Gardens due to the weather.


It is the mission of the Whitman College Glean Team to raise awareness on issues pertaining to food insecurity in the Walla Walla area. We hope to engage the Whitman community as well as the greater Walla Walla community through harvesting and donating fresh produce to the Blue Mountain Action Council food distribution warehouse. BMAC then distributes the donated produce to the food banks within the Walla Walla area. In addition to encouraging participation on regular gleans throughout the harvest season, our mission will be accomplished through on campus film showcases, symposiums, and other events related to gleaning and food insecurity. This past season we harvest and donated over 39,000 pounds of produce that would have otherwise been wasted.


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:

The Whitman Organic Garden is a student-run enterprise that sells some of their produce to Bon Appetit - our foodservice provider. https://www.whitman.edu/campus-life/student-clubs-and-organizations/organic-garden.

The role of the Sustainability Committee is dedicated to building a sustainable campus, keeping in mind the three pillars of equity, economy, and environment. We envision and work towards a world where our practices and actions make responsible use of resources to uplift one another. We help orient ASWC projects towards healthy development for a broad, inclusive Whitman community. We recognize and address the intersections of social justice and environmentalism by advocating for mindful policies through ASWC and the Whitman Administration.

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 Whitman College Sustainability Revolving Loan Fund (SRLF) is a $50,000 line of credit designated for campus improvements that significantly benefit Whitman's sustainability efforts by conserving resources and improving efficiency. All loans are expected to generate savings that result in a 100% payback within three to ten years. Approximately $10,000 is available each year. The SRLF will be replenished through the savings accrued from the implementation of the project. Proposals will be reviewed by the SRLF Proposal Review Committee. The Treasurer's Office and the Campus Sustainability Coordinator manage the project review process and the fund. https://www.whitman.edu/campus-life/sustainability/resources/sustainable-revolving-loan-fund

ASWC Green Fund: The purpose and chief goal of the Green Fund shall be to transform student sustainability policy initiatives into realities that enrich the campus in practice and principle. Policies of the ASWC Senate and Finance Committee: The Finance Committee shall set criteria for approval of requests at the start of each year, and shall judge each request and make recommendations accordingly. Requests less than or equal to five hundred dollars ($500.00) shall require a majority vote of Finance Committee for approval. Requests greater than five hundred dollars ($500.00) but less than or equal to one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) shall require a majority vote of the Finance Committee and a majority vote of the Senate for approval. Requests greater than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) shall require a majority vote of the Finance Committee and a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Senate for approval. In the case that a request greater than $500 need approval sooner than the next senate meeting, the Executive Council may vote in place of the Senate. The request shall require a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote from the Executive Council. http://goaswc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Green-Fund-Request-Form-GREEN.pdf

The Whitman Investment Company (WIC) is a student run, actively managed investment portfolio of over 1.3 million dollars. We aim to educate students in investment analysis and provide opportunities for students to purse careers in finance. Recently Whitman has decided to push for more sustainable investing by incorporating ESG analysis into the school's endowment investments. As a student run branch of the endowment, it is important to highlight ESG values within WIC’s educational process and investments. We have created a standardizing process that yields quantifiable ESG ratings. These ratings are then used in Cost of Capital adjustments, creating an ESG adjusted DCF which is weighted into our final valuation for companies we are analyzing. https://whitmanwic.blog/estimates/wic-models/

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 Sustainability department hosts a speaker series during the school year in which students are invited to attend during lunch to listen to other students, faculty, staff, and/or special guests. Our guest speakers give a lecture on their current research, how it relates to sustainability, and how our student body can be involved.

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:

In 2021, The Maxey Museum hosted Maya Lin's Confluence Project.
The project originated at Whitman as an exhibition in the Maxey Museum entitled “Along the Columbia River: Maya Lin and the Confluence Project.” It is featured as part of the series “Extraction: Art at the Edge of the Abyss,” which platforms work that deals with climate change and environment. The project seeks to bring native voices into conversation about the expedition and to challenge the Eurocentric narratives that permeate discussions regarding Lewis and Clark

“This exhibit also explicitly connects the Confluence Project with climate change and the environment,” Reynolds said. “If you go to visit any of the sites, they are fascinating and can be very poignant and moving… I’ve also had the experience of going there and it being underwhelming. But at these locations there is a ton of work. I think this exhibit goes into the complexity.”

The Stevens Gallery in 2022 highlighted "Period Poverty" and the inequity and stigma surrounding menstruation.

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 Outdoor Program fosters personal growth, facilitates learning and creates recreational opportunities through skills and risk management training, leadership development, and environmentally sound trips in a supportive community. The Outdoor Program runs trips most weekends throughout the school year. These are open to all Whitman students. Trips include kayaking, hiking, climbing, rafting, skiing, snow-shoeing, ice climbing, and more. The trips are designed for beginner through advanced skill levels. The Rental Shop is the hub of the Outdoor Program where students and community members can rent or purchase equipment from the shop for personal use. The Rental Shop manages all of the equipment used on OP trips and classes. Scrambles are first-year trips that run each year right before freshman orientation. Scrambles are a week long and include hiking, climbing, sea kayaking, whitewater kayaking, and rafting. The Climbing Center is Whitman College's state of the art climbing wall. The wall is open to Whitman students, faculty, staff as well as their family members and guests. Classes and clinics take place at the climbing wall each week. The Outdoor Program also facilitates many of the Sports Studies and Recreation Activities (SSRA) classes on campus. We offer a variety of classes each semester, many of which include weekend trips to give students hands-on outdoor experience with their new skills. The Bob Carson Outdoor Fund was established in 2012 to help with some of the fees associated with the Outdoor Program's activities. Students can inquire at the OP rental shop for more information about his helpful resource. Whitman College Outdoor Program won The David J Webb Program Excellence Award in 2013, from the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE). The award honors an outstanding non-profit outdoor program which has provided dynamic and innovative services to its participants, demonstrated professionalism and high standards of conduct and contributed to the outdoor community at large by sharing information and assisting other programs. All of our outdoor programs include strict Leave No Trace guidelines.

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:

The academic theme is a continuation and extension of the 2021-22 theme, "Climate Reckonings, Climate Justice." By continuing to use Climate as an organizing concept, we expect faculty who integrated climate into their classes can reuse those resources and lessons learned in courses this coming academic year. We also hope that other faculty who discovered connections with the theme can now use this opportunity to associate some portion of their courses to the revised theme.

By highlighting "Action", we are explicitly inviting the Whitman community to focus on ways in which we can make an impact on climate issues internally and locally. A major focus this year will be a speaker series organized by student leaders that will forefront local and national change-makers on the issue of climate. In addition, we seek to partner with local leaders and institutions , to engage the community in meaningful conversations on issues impacting our region. Our aim is to not only acquire a broader understanding of issues, but to offer opportunities for the Whitman community to take part in solutions.

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:

Established in 1981, the Environmental House, more commonly known as the “Outhouse,” has 6 bedrooms and comfortably houses an average of eight residents and one Resident Assistant. The Outhouse focuses on environmental and ecological issues by educating Whitman students about the environment.

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

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

Whitman's Office of Sustainability employs 3-4 Recycling Assistants to run the college's recycling program and two Bike Share Assistant to run the college's Bike Share program. Sustainability Assistant positions and internships are also available on an as-needed and project basis. The Whitman Internship Grant provides funding for internships at many external organizations that are sustainability-focused.

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:

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.