Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.79
Liaison Lindsay Crum
Submission Date Aug. 3, 2020

STARS v2.2

Yale University
EN-1: Student Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.42 / 4.00 Scot Bearss
Sustainability Outreach Manager
Yale Office of Sustainability
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Number of students enrolled for credit:
13,433

Total number of students served by a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program:
6,608

Percentage of students served by a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program:
49.19

Name of the student educators program (1st program):
Residential College Sustainability Liaisons

A brief description of the student educators program (1st program):

The Residential College Sustainability Liaisons are a group of 16 undergraduates that assist in the implementation of the Sustainability Action Plan for their college. All 14 Action Plans follow a shared template and sequence of programming to ensure that critical topics such as climate action, materials, food, health and well-being, and more are covered. However, because each college has its own distinctive culture we developed a tailored document for every college. To ensure ongoing engagement and authentic programming, the Office hired 16 Sustainability Liaisons – one to two per college – to work closely with their Operations Managers to implement their plan and to innovate ways to embed sustainability into the culture of the student body.


A brief description of the student educators program’s target audience (1st program):

All Yale College students.

Each College Action Plan is structured around nine themes, one for each month the students are on campus: Move-In, Leadership and Empowerment, Food Systems, Climate Action, Materials, Technology, Well-being, Travel and Transportation, Built Environment and Stewardship, Move-Out. This gives structure to the Liaison’s communications, which include monthly sustainability newsletters, series of action-oriented posters and stickers, Climate Action pledges, and pop-up events.

The Liaisons are often inspired by their Action Plans and end up leading a number of innovative yet replicable student-engagement projects across a wide range of sustainability focus areas. For example, this past year one college saved over 400 gallons of water in one week when their Liaison launched the One-Song Shower Challenge, a campaign to encourage students to using a Spotify playlist of 3-minute songs. Another college tested the effectiveness of eye-catching posters about the carbon impacts of actual menu items for a week in its dining hall for its Environmental Impact + Diet Pilot Project – the results were compelling enough to 9 other colleges joined the effort for a second test. The Liaisons teamed up with the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale to establish the Yale Thrift, a monthly pop-up clothing swap program that communicates about the impact of the textile industry and offers equitable ways to refresh wardrobes without cost.

Students apply through the Student Employment portal and go through a selective interview process with their college’s Operations Manager. Each of the 14 colleges’ Sustainability Liaison is selected based on their knowledge around and passion for sustainability, their communication, teamwork, community building skills, and their willingness to drive inclusive and sustainable culture shifts in their college community, among other factors. The position is open to all students living on-campus.

The Sustainability Liaisons go through a series of two orientation events to prepare them to conduct peer outreach.
The first session includes the Full Time Staff member from the Office of Sustainability and the cohort of Liaisons to begin breaking the ice and building community among the group. Together, they walk through each college’s Sustainability Action Plan and begin making a monthly plan for implementation. It includes time to brainstorm about long-term college sustainability initiatives and innovative pilot projects that might not be spelled out in the plan. Environmental justice is stressed in this session as a crucial part to sustainability programming to ensure that Liaisons are engaging their student community with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in mind. This time is also spent going over specific job requirements, including bi-weekly accountability updates and other logistical concerns.

The second session includes all of the Liaisons, the full Office of Sustainability team, all of the Operations Managers, as well as campus leaders from key operational departments such as Hospitality, Energy Management, Waste Management, and more. These campus leaders will give an introduction to the work that they do and the resources that they can provide to the Liaisons. The goal of this session is to give the Liaisons a high-level understanding of the campus-wide sustainability initiatives to be able to best inform their peers, as well as to help the Liaisons understand how they fit into the university’s sustainability priorities.

These sessions ensure that before embarking on their new role, the Sustainability Liaisons have a working knowledge of their college’s action plan, the historical sustainability work conducted at their college, as well as the ways in which their work connects to the university-wide Yale Sustainability Plan 2025. Throughout the school year, the Sustainability Liaisons meet monthly as a group to discuss shared successes and challenges, to plan out the forthcoming month’s outreach activities, and to find opportunities for cross-campus collaboration. The Liaisons also receive ongoing support in weekly small-group or one-on-one meetings with their Operations Manager and/or Office of Sustainability staff.


Number of trained student educators (1st program):
14

Number of weeks the student educators program is active annually (1st program):
36

Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per trained student educator (1st program):
7

Total number of hours worked annually by trained student educators (1st program):
3,528

Website URL where information about the student educators program is available (1st program):
Name of the student educators program (2nd program):
Yale School of Public Health Sustainable Waste Reduction At Yale

A brief description of the student educators program (2nd program):

Sustainable Waste Reduction at Yale School of Public Health (SWAY) was founded in 2017 as a student organization to promote environmental stewardship at Yale School of Public Health (YSPH).


A brief description of the student educators program’s target audience (2nd program):

The target audience is the entirety of the YSPH community (faculty, staff, and students).
In its inaugural year SWAY established a BYO campaign to promote an internal cultural shift at YPSH towards reducing unsustainable disposable item use and transitioning to reusable items instead. In this initiative SWAY procured and distributed reusable food and beverage containers to the entire YSPH community to avoid the use of disposable items (paper, plastic, Styrofoam) and stop current unsustainable food/catering disposable item practices.

SWAY committee members met regularly with the student leader to discuss tasks, review protocol, and brainstorm ideas. In these regular meetings, any problems were also discussed and reviewed to find solutions. These meetings were de-facto continuing training sessions for team members.

This past year, SWAY hosted two "pie days" to encourage the use of reusable containers, by providing pie.


Number of trained student educators (2nd program):
2

Number of weeks the student educators program is active annually (2nd program):
36

Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per trained student educator (2nd program):
2

Total number of hours worked annually by trained student educators (2nd program):
144

Website URL where information about the student educators program is available (2nd program):
Name of the student educators program (3rd program):
Environmental Stewardship Commmittee

A brief description of the student educators program (3rd program):

All Yale School of the Environment (YSE) students are engaged in sustainability education and outreach through the work of the Environmental Stewardship Committee.

Students are hired to work on the ESC who are inspired by the idea of providing stewardship of our school community, and expanding our community’s understanding of our impacts on the environment. Students work in teams to engage their peers on a variety of issues from energy efficiency, to waste management, to sustainable procurement, to long range sustainability planning. Students leverage past reports from ESC researchers to give them a sense of the history of stewardship at YSE. For many projects, students seek professionals, professors, and practitioners of many sorts to help inform their strategies and the broader learning going on at YSE. Peer-to-peer education in recent years has included outreach about the benefits of reuse (including the ongoing promotion of reusable containers for use at food carts); educating the community about electronic waste through multiple e-waste recycling drives; conducting a “carbon challenge” to continually raise awareness about energy usage as part of the University’s Carbon Charge program; and educating community members about foraging and agroforestry in urban settings. These efforts served to educate students and the School community at large.


A brief description of the student educators program’s target audience (3rd program):

All Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies students are targeted for sustainability outreach by the Environmental Stewardship Committee.

Interviews are conducted that identify students particularly inspired by the idea of stewardship of our learning community. We connect students to past reports from ESC teams to give them a sense of the history of stewardship. On particular issues or areas of outreach, we seek professionals, professors, and practitioners of many sorts to help inform our strategies.


Number of trained student educators (3rd program):
5

Number of weeks the student educators program is active annually (3rd program):
36

Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per trained student educator (3rd program):
6

Total number of hours worked annually by trained student educators (3rd program):
1,080

Website URL where information about the student educators program is available (3rd program):
A brief description of all other student peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs:
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Number of trained student educators (all other programs):
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Number of weeks, on average, the student educators programs are active annually (all other programs):
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Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per student educator (all other programs) :
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Total number of hours worked annually by trained student educators (all other programs):
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Grand total number of hours worked annually by trained student sustainability educators (all programs):
4,752

Hours worked annually by trained student sustainability educators per student served by a peer-to-peer program:
0.72

Website URL where information about the student sustainability educators programs is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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