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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.06
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date April 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Columbia University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Allie Schwartz
Assistant Manager
Environmental Stewardship
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that fall into the following categories?:
Yes or No
Active student groups focused on sustainability Yes
Gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems Yes
Student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes Yes
Sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills Yes
Conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles Yes
Sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences Yes
Programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills Yes
Sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution Yes
Graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions No
Other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives No

The name and a brief description of each student group focused on sustainability:

Columbia CSA: This program through Roxbury Farm (Kinderhook, NY) allows students and community members to purchase a share of the farm.

Columbia EcoReps: A group of students working in partnership with Columbia’s department of Housing and Dining in order to make Columbia’s campus more environmentally sustainable.

Columbia Students for Animal Protection: This group supports animal-friendly policies at Columbia University and throughout the world.

Columbia University Environmental Biology Society: CUEBS approaches the biosphere from an academic point of view and aims to encourage environmental appreciation and education at all levels within the Columbia community.

Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development: Consilience is a global online publication dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary dialogue on sustainable development.

CoreFoods: Core Foods is Columbia’s Student-Run Organic Food Co-op. Currently located in JJ’s Place, they focus on providing a wide selection of local and organic food right on Columbia’s campus.

EarthCo: A Columbia/Barnard student coalition working to improve the local environment by promoting recycling on campus, organizing gardening and clean-ups in local parks, sponsoring environmental forums, and coordinating Earth Week activities on the Columbia campus.

EcoLions: EcoLions is a club at Columbia University devoted to the sustainability of Columbia University Athletics.

Food Sustainability Project: CUFSP organizes the campus garden open to all that serves both as a source of “real” food and an example of the potential for urban agriculture and community development through the act of growing food.

Green Builders: GB@C is a student group at Columbia University dedicated to sustainable design, products and materials, green building practices, and sustainable development.

JTS Eco-Reps: An environmental advocacy and action student group dedicated to changing the attitude and ways of the JTS community and infrastructure.

SEEJ (Students for Environmental and Economic Justice): Barnard and Columbia group dedicated to advancing ecological sustainability and labor rights.

The Columbia University Partnership for International Development: CUPID is a student-led effort across Columbia University to facilitate multidisciplinary dialogue, awareness, and action on international development.

Energy Club: The Energy Club is committed to educating Columbia Business School students about the energy industry, increasing awareness regarding career opportunities, and helping members take advantage of those opportunities.

Engineers Without Borders: The Columbia University chapter of Engineers Without Borders aims to address the problems facing people both locally and abroad by leveraging the skills, talents and passions of Columbia University students and the partnerships formed with our organization.

Environmental Law Society: ELS is a student-run organization whose purpose is to promote the furthering of skills and knowledge in environmental law.

Green Business Club: engages students, the Columbia Business School community, and business leaders across industries on the intersection of business and sustainability.

SIPA Energy Association: dedicated to complimenting the education of the International Energy Management and Policy concentration, connecting SIPA students with practitioners in the energy sector, and educating students about career opportunities in the field.

Social Enterprise Club: The Social Enterprise Club empowers students to create social value in private and public enterprises.

Student Environmental Coalition for Sustainability (SECS): The SECS shall create and provide a community for the growing number of environmentally oriented and focused students within SIPA and Columbia, as a whole.

Delta GDP: The Growth and Development Project, or Delta GDP, is a group of students dedicated to exploring innovative methods of self-sustaining economic growth in developing countries.

Scientists and Engineers for a Better Society: SEBS’ mission is to bring awareness to Columbia about scientific and technological issues of social relevance.

CU Global Brigades: CU Global Brigades is the Columbia chapter of the national Global Brigades organization, which empowers students to lead service trips to developing countries.

Greenborough: Greenborough is the environmental special interest house, serving as a living laboratory for environmental lifestyle choices in the Columbia community.

4local: 4local is a sustainable food group dedicated to providing students with fresh local, vegetarian and organic cuisine. 4local prepares and sells meals to the Columbia community at affordable prices and hopes to one day open a student-run café.

Earth Institute Student Adisory Council (EISAC) is a student body that serves the Columbia University community by promoting relationships between student groups, developing events and panels, and assisting with student-interest program planning. One of the key tasks of the Advisory Council is to advise and suggest improvements to the professional resources that will help students gain more experience in the field of sustainability. The Council is comprised of two students each from the School of International and Public Affairs, General Studies, Barnard College, the Business School, the Law School, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia College, the School of Public Health, the School of Journalism, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Additional website URLs where information about the student groups are available:
Scientists and Engineers for a Better Society http://www.columbia.edu/cu/sebs/
Green Umbrella https://www.facebook.com/pages/Columbia-University-Green-Umbrella/312801592090776
CU CSA http://justfood.org/csaloc/manhattan/columbia-university-csa
CU EcoReps http://cuecoreps.wordpress.com/
Columbia Students for Animal Protection http://www.columbia.edu/cu/csap/
Columbia University Environmental Biology Society http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cuebs/index.html
Consilience http://www.consiliencejournal.org/
Corefoods http://www.columbia.edu/cu/corefoods/ ; http://theflyingbeet.wordpress.com/
CU Earthco https://www.facebook.com/CUEarthCo
CU Food Sustainability Project https://www.facebook.com/pages/Columbia-University-Food-Sustainability-Project/180945055289625 or http://gosustainable.blogspot.com/
JTS Ecoreps https://www.facebook.com/people/Jts-EcoReps/1109120995
CU Students for Environmental and Economic Justice http://www.columbia.edu/cu/seej/
CUPID http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cupid/
CU Engineers without Borders http://www.cuewb.org/
Columbia Business School Energy Club http://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/students/organizations/ert/mission.html
CU Environmental Law Society https://sites.google.com/site/clsenvlawsoc/
Green Business Club http://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/students/organizations/gbc/
Human Rights Working Group http://www.sipa.columbia.edu/students/hrwg/
Social Enterprise Club http://columbiasocialenterprise.org/sec/


The website URL where information about student groups is available:
A brief description of gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems:

Columbia has a 1500 square foot rooftop garden on the Morningside Campus, which is managed by students with the support of Facilities. The garden was founded by the CU Food Sustainability Project (CUFSP), a student group which allows students participate in organic gardening on campus. Student volunteers coordinate maintain the garden year-round. The garden is on its third growing season, and the bulk of the produce grown is kale and tomatoes, most of which go to the volunteers at harvest time. The project hosts a Harvest Meal each year, and shares the dinner with residents of the local General Grant Houses Community Center, as a way to interact with the community and raise awareness of nutrition and other food issues. Watering for the garden is done manually with a hose, and there is also a rainwater catchment to reduce water use. CUFSP maintains a composting center for its own use in the garden, as well. CUFSP hosts potlucks about once a month with produce from the garden when available, accompanied by movies when weather permits.


The website URL where information about the organic agriculture and/or sustainable food systems projects and initiatives is available:
A brief description of student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes:

CoreFoods is a student run non-profit organic cooperative. The mission of CoreFoods is to provide students and members of the Columbia community with affordable and nutritious foods produced in a sustainable way. CoreFoods offers organic, local, vegan, and vegetarian foods, such as Country Choice Quick Cooking Oatmeal, Glutino Gluten Free Chewy Bars, Stash Premium Organic Teas, and Woodstock Farms Vegetarian Gummy Subs. Members volunteer for one to two hours per month and help with operational tasks such as pricing and inventory. In return, they receive a 10% discount on products.

Columbia University’s various student organizations are also launching a major campaign to raise awareness about the fight against malaria in Africa through student-run enterprises, including:

Barnard-Columbia Undergraduate Public Health Society (BCUPHS)
Efforts towards the Malaria Campaign include selling Povertees t-shirts to raise awareness about malaria in Africa and the Millennium Promise organization. Povertees was started by three Columbia University students last year when they decided it was time to help end poverty in Africa. The t-shirt slogans include: "Sustainable Development is Sexy," "Debt...Drop It Like It's Hot," and "Jeff Sachs is my Homeboy." For more information go to: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/publichealth/

Columbia University's Partnership for International Development (CUPID)
CUPID will be working hard to promote the bed net campaign to raise funds in all the graduate schools across campus. Each school will be responsible for putting on at least one event throughout the campaign. CUPID members will work with other development-focused clubs in each school on these events. Additionally, CUPID is planning to host an awareness-raising event on campus in Mid-November to raise interest in the campaign throughout the broader student-body.

Additional URL: http://earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/44


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprise(s) is available:
A brief description of the sustainable investment or finance initiatives:

Incorporated as a non-profit and staffed by Columbia Business School students, Microlumbia provides growing microfinance institutions with pro-bono consulting services and debt capital while stimulating interest in the field among a new generation of future business leaders.

The mission is to help alleviate global poverty by providing the Columbia Business School (CBS) community the means and opportunities to become lifelong contributors to the field of microfinance.

Microfinance is a financial service that gives very poor people very small loans (microcredit) to help them grow tiny businesses.

For CBS students, they offer education and investment management and consulting opportunities.

Additional information on the fund: http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2007-11-20/student-funds-get-responsiblebusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment or finance initiatives is available:
A brief description of conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

There is a wealth of sustainability events on campus throughout the year. On any given week, events ranging from student group activities to sustainability lectures to colloquiums are posted both on the Environmental Stewardship’s website and the Earth Institute’s website, as well as on the main Columbia events page. Major events include: State of the Planet, EcoPalooza on Earth Day, which features professor lectures, entertainment and performances, and free prizes, giveaways and food; Earth Week, which is a week packed with myriad sustainability events all through the campus; Columbia Business School’s Social Enterprise Conference , the Law School Center for Climate Change Law events, the Sustainability Management Symposium, an annual Energy Symposium and the International Sustainable Development Research Society’s annual, three-day conference.

Additional URLs of major events related to sustainability held on campus:
http://earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/1774
http://calendar.columbia.edu/sundial/webapi/get.php?vt=detail&id=44480&con=standalone&br=ei_brand
http://environment.columbia.edu/
http://www.columbiasocialenterprise.org/conference2012/
http://www.law.columbia.edu/centers/climatechange
http://www.environment.columbia.edu/events/sustainabilitymanagementsymposiumleadershipandinnovation
http://www.cuenergysymposium.com/spring-2011/keynote.html


The website URL where information about the event(s) is available:
A brief description of cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

For Earth Week, EcoReps usually puts together an art piece that demonstrates an aspect of sustainability. For example, the group created a tree and then hung plastic bags on it to show the amount of plastic bags used and it was an art piece as it was an intricately and creatively sculpted tree. It was also an educational piece about plastic bag use, recycling, and reusable bag use.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts event(s) is available:
A brief description of wilderness or outdoors programs for students that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The Columbia University Hiking Club organizes hiking trips throughout the tri-state area over the course of the academic year. New students may sign up to join the Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program (COÖP) for a hiking, biking, or rafting trip for a few days prior to orientation. Throughout the year, COÖP provides camping and hiking equipment available for rental too.

Additional URL: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/9695384


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Green Monday is a global sustainability initiative that is designed to promote green lifestyle choices. At Columbia, Green Monday focuses on four themes: recycling, food and nutrition, paper waste reduction, and energy conservation. Weekly tips and challenges for our undergraduate residential community make it easy and fun to incorporate environmentally-friendly habits into daily routines.


The website URL where information about the theme is available:
A brief description of program(s) through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

In Woodbridge Hall rooms 7H, I and J, there are designated model rooms that demonstrate sustainable features. The model rooms were designed with the intent to standardize sustainable living space. The rooms have bamboo flooring, low flow toilets, sink faucets and showerheads, low VOC paint was used, Energy Star rated appliances were installed and have recycled glass counter tops.
The EcoReps committees hold different events during which students can learn sustainable practices. Additionally, as a part of Green Monday, EcoReps has worked with Housing and Environmental Stewardship with the Recycling Roadshows which teach proper recycling techniques and habits to students in residence hall lobbies.
Additionally, a living green wall was installed in Carman Hall to provide improved indoor air quality and will display signage about its environmental benefits.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-focused student employment opportunities:

For post-graduate sustainability-focused employment opportunities, the Columbia Center for Career Education offers workshops on how to find these jobs and offers a lot of support for students who are interested in this area as the path post-grad is not as clear in this area as with other careers. Sustainability-related full-time jobs and internships are also available and posted on LionShare which is the school's job portal. Career counselors who have specific knowledge in this area are also available to students.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportuntities is available:
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A brief description of graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledge program is available:
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A brief description of 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:
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Emma Tuzinkiewicz, a senior in Columbia College, helped to complete this section.

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.