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  • AASHE-STARS

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

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 51.92
Liaison Jonathan Lantz-Trissel
Submission Date July 26, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Eastern Mennonite University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jonathan Lantz-Trissel
Sustainability Coordinator
Physical Plant
"---" 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:

Earthkeepers - started by students, faculty and staff in the early 70s as a very successful recycling program, the group now is student run and focuses on education and outreach, hiking in the wonderful national parks and forests nearby and operating the chicken and composting initiatives on campus. They also annually fund 4-6 mini-grants for sustainability initiatives and pilot projects across campus.

Sustainable Food Intiative (SFI) - run the five campus gardens, beehives, orchard, summer CSA and campus produce market. They also have screened movies on food and advocate for food production on campus.

Peacefellowship - campus peace and justice group, sponsors events and hosts speakers on campus.

DivestEMU - group dedicated to divesting the institution's resources away from the fossil fuel industry and reinvesting in green energy.


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:

EMU has five gardens spread out across campus raising produce for the campus cafeteria, in the summer for the school's Community Support Agriculture (CSA) project, and for sale at a weekly farm market on campus to the campus and wider community. Students do 90% of the work and planning with some logistical help from the Grounds Dept., a faculty advisor who previously ran a CSA, and a cooperative relationship with food service. The gardens are not certified organic, but they are no-spray and use organic growing methods. In addition, the campus has a considerable flock of chickens that are raised on non-GMO feed and are cared for by student volunteers under a head coordinator. Eggs produced are provided to faculty, staff, and students at a discount.


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:

The Common Grounds coffeehouse opened in 2001 after Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), a business student club, and the University Accord, the campus mediation, facilitation and restorative discipline service, received a grant for the project. The enterprise quickly established itself as a campus mainstay and continues to be managed by 5 students and staffed by 15 student baristas. After grant funding ended in 2009, the University's Student Life Division took the coffeehouse under its wings.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

The university has an investment club that is student run. Students of all majors and investment experience join the club to gain further investing knowledge and gain real life experience with trading stocks while keeping a socially conscious mind. Starting in 2009, the club was allotted $20,000 to invest in the stock market while keeping sustainability in mind.

In addition, DivestEMU is a group formed in the 2016 school year, focused on exploring the possibility of divesting EMU funds and investments from the fossil fuel industry and reinvesting them in arenas dedicated to green energy.


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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:

Sustainability is one of the major themes in EMU's Suter Science Seminars, a series of monthly science seminars by outside researchers and teachers oriented toward undergraduate science students. In addition, on-campus groups such as EarthKeepers and SFI provide a variety of events throughout the year to involve the campus community in sustainable initiatives and activities.


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:

Every few weeks there are new art showings in the gallery adjacent to Common Grounds Coffeehouse. Many of these are products of students and faculty, and they often have themes of social and environmental sustainability. In addition, EMU theater occasionally does productions with themes of humanity's relationship to the environment and greater world.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
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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 wilderness seminar is a three-week leadership immersion in the backcountry, including climbing, backpacking, caving, canoeing, outdoor navigation, and a three-day solo. Students also participate in a cross-cultural study to develop global awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures.


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 EMU Common Read is often focused on aspects of EMU's ethos, and this year's was Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta. Itäranta’s work is fiction, imagining a future world of rising seas, widespread drought and military control of the remaining freshwater supplies. The debut novel, which she wrote simultaneously in English and her native Finnish, was published in 2012 and won the Kalevi Jäntti Literary Prize for young authors and the Young Alexis Kivi Prize the following year.


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?:
No

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
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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 Sustainable Food Initiative is partially funded through the university, and allows for several work study positions over the semester and over the summer. These positions help keep campus gardens and initiatives up to par. In addition, there is funding for the Office of Sustainability to hire an intern over the semester to assist with various tasks, including STARS evaluation


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
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Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
Yes

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

Since 1987, the “Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility” has been offered at colleges and universities throughout the world to help build a global community of responsible graduates improving society and the environment through the workplace.

The EMU senior class officers have tailored the language of the pledge to fit EMU’s mission. In so doing, they have renamed it the “Graduation Commitment.” Graduates who have taken the commitment wear green ribbons during commencement.

EMU graduation commitment: I commit myself to a lifestyle of social and environmental integrity and will seek to improve these aspects of the community in which I work.


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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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.