Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.01
Liaison Paul Mathisen
Submission Date May 23, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Liz Tomaszewski
Facilities Systems Manager/Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Department
"---" 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:

Student Green Team: A student-governed organization with aims to increase sustainable efforts and awareness on campus through trips, events, and campaigns. Notable events are the Annual Waste Audit, the Sustainable Car Show, the Energy Efficient Lighting Fair, and the E-Waste Drive. Global Humanitarian Alliance works on creating sustainable solutions to problems involving water, sanitation, and hygiene in third world countries. Engineers without Borders helps support community-driven development programs worldwide through partnerships that design and implement sustainable engineering projects. Engineers without Borders works to improve the quality of life, most recently in Guachtuq Guatemala. Enactus is a social entrepreneurship organization. Habit for Humanity-WPI helps working class families own their own home through "sweat equity." The WPI Branch of the Food Recovery Network recovers uneaten food from WPI dining halls and transports it to be donated to food shelters in Worcester. The WPI Veg Club provides support and resources to current vegetarians and vegans and other interested students, and promotes the ethical, health, and sustainability benefits of vegetarianism and veganism on campus.


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

Seedling planting is a program associated with the Biology Department's greenhouse. This program involves students in greenhouse activities, such as propagating plants by taking cuttings. Sustainable agriculture methods are employed. WPI's greenhouse, Center for Sustainable Food Systems, and Bioloogy department have a partnership with the Worcester Regional Environmental Council where WPI students care for vegetable seedlings in WPI's greenhouse. These seedlings are being prepared for YouthGROW, an urban agriculture-focused youth development and employment program for low-income teens. Students and faculty have started a "mushroom log project" on campus grounds, and are currently waiting for mushrooms to grow in stored logs.


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:

Gompei's Goat Cheese is a student-run business headquartered at WPI that sells a healthy goat cheese on campus. The cheese is produced on a nearby farm.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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:

The IGSD (Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division) has regular speakers each year that focus their talks on sustainability themes. This group sponsor lectures on topics related to sustainability: recent lectures include Marouane Smaili from the Moroccan NGO Dar Si Hmad, which is harvesting water from clouds; a talk on the Syrian refugee crisis, including environmental impacts; Perspectives on Chinese food, including environmental impacts; a talk from an alum who worked in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak and addressed issues of sustainability there; a talk about the refugee migration crisis in Germany, including environmental impacts; a talk on big data and population health; a lecture by the author Sandy Tolan about human and environmental sustainability in the Middle East. The Sustainability Office has regular speakers in a program called #DiscussingGreen that focus on general sustainability topics such as Food Insecurity in our Community, Worcester's Water - Its Origins, Delivery and Drought Conditions, and Adding Sustainability to your Academic Program. The Sustainability Office also hosts sustainability-themed presentations where experts discuss important issues, such as Worcester's Water, Sustainability at Boston University, and Urban Methane Leaks.


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

Many of our lectures, films, and other cultural events are related to sustainability. All of our events are aimed primarily at WPI students. Our theatre program focuses on sustainability in building sets (reusing old materials). Our film series often includes titles with the theme of sustainability. Recent titles include "Blind Shaft" (about Chinese coal mining), Apocalypto (about the end of Mayan civilization, with historical parallels to today), The Milagro Beanfield War (about water rights), Timbuktu and Bamako (both about political and environmental degradation in Mali) , Sleep Dealer (about human and environmental degradation in Tijuana).In addition, we offer many courses related to sustainability: philosophy and the environment, literature and the environment, environmental history, the Concord Writers, the Raven the Whale and the Woodchuck (includes Thoreau, Emerson, Whitman, Melville, and others who write about the natural world and human-natural interactions), etc. Students may approach their HUA requirement by studying the topic of sustainability in a cross-disciplinary way.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
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:

"The primary goals of the WPI Outing Club are to promote outdoor activities and bring together people with common interests in the outdoors. The Outing Club promotes activities related, but not limited to: Camping, Rock Climbing, Hiking and Mountaineering, Boating, Slacklining, Mountain Biking, Skiing and Snowboarding. Throughout each year we promote many fun trips and events such as: beginner hiking trips to mountains in the northeast, camping trips, climbing at our very own bouldering wall, The CAVE, and at local crags in New England, slacklining on the quad, as well as many other things.
Annual events include several hikes, white-water rafting, a Wilderness First Aid certification course, and an overnight in Central Rock Worcester."


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

The Great Problems Seminar (GPS) is a key part of WPI's first year experience. In this two-course introduction to university-level research and project work, teams of first year students and faculty step outside their disciplines to solve Great Problems, most of which are strongly connected to sustainability. For example, 2016 GPS topics included "Food Sustainability," "Recover, Reuse, and Recycle," "Biosphere, Atmosphere, and Human Fears." "Heal the World," "Humanitarian Engineering," "Ignorance is not Bliss," and " The World's Water."


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

Student and Staff Eco-Reps: These eco-reps are learning about ways to live and work more sustainably on campus, and they help to raise awareness about energy and resource conservation, recycling and waste minimization, with their peers in their living and learning environments.


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

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

The Student Sustainability Intern is a student job whose purpose is to assist the Sustainability Office in planning sustainability events, updating the WPI Sustainability website, assisting with sustainability surveys, and overseeing student eco-rep program. The Sustainability Summer Intern compiles data and develops the annual WPI Sustainability Report and assists to update the sustainability website.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
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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