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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 68.76
Liaison Kimberly Williams
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

George Washington University
EN-1: Student Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Shannon Ross
Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution coordinate one or more ongoing student, peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs that meet the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

Number of degree-seeking students enrolled at the institution:
25,040

Name of the student educators program (1st program):
Eco-Rep Program

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (1st program):
7,000

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (1st program):

Eco-Reps help with events such as Earth Hour, Recyclemania, Eco-Challenge and Earth Month throughout the year, just to name a few. Eco-Reps are a part of the student-run Campaign GW, an ongoing forum for students to directly share their ideas with the administration and participate in the decision-making process on future GW campus development issues, including sustainability. Eco-Reps target their outreach to the number of students served (above), which are all students living on campus in the residence halls.

During RecycleMania, Eco-Reps host an annual waste-sort event where they spend an afternoon sorting through waste to highlight how our community can improve recycling and waste reduction efforts.

GW Eco-Reps are the driving force behind Eco-Challenge, hosting small and large events in their residence halls and across campus designed to educate their peers about water and electricity reduction. During Eco-Challenge, Eco-Reps participate in several trainings where they learned how to perform energy audits of buildings. Many of them share what they learn with their residence halls.

Eco-Reps regularly staff tables at events and host trainings to help inform their peers about the importance of sustainability and provide updates regarding the university’s sustainability advances. They provide sustainability updates through a newsletter, which is distributed to a listserv of about 22,000 members of the GW community (primarily current students).


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

Student peer educators volunteer to serve as Eco-Reps.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (1st program):

Eco-Reps receive many types of training throughout the year. Through monthly meetings students learn about sustainability initiatives on campus, share best practices with each other, and discuss outreach events.


A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (1st program):

The Eco-Rep program is coordinated by one full-time staff member and two part-time student interns who help to recruit students, facilitate their activities and provide education and training. Financial support is provided for use in outreach events and trainings. In 2014, CampaignGW sponsored two Eco Reps to participate in Green Seal's annual gala, at which the Eco Reps presented on GW's sustainability initiatives.


Name of the student educators program (2nd program):
Planet Forward

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (2nd program):
20,000

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):

Planet Forward engages young people and innovators in search of solutions to the biggest sustainability challenges facing our planet. Through media, teaching and convening Planet Forward empowers new voices and elevates compelling ideas. For example, in 2013, The Feeding the Planet Summit gathered students from all over the country to join the debate on the key agricultural and food security issues that face our growing world. In addition to student questions and videos that were part of the summit, students participated directly in a town hall and contributed their thoughts on the summit in blogs and videos. In the 2013-14 school year, more than 75 Planet Forward videos were produced by students, an estimated 25,000 students voted in the Climate Leadership Awards video contest that included student-produced video entries from universities nationwide, and 350,000 unique visitors came to the Planet Forward website.

Materials for Planet Forward are sourced from many GW student educators. Sustainability 1001 (the university-wide undergraduate course on sustainability) students and students minoring in sustainability are regularly encouraged to create short videos of their research, internship or campus activities. Another source is the 200 students who are enrolled in the World on a Plate course. The final project for this class requires students to produce educational videos about sustainable food policy and outcomes.


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

Graduate assistants for Planet Forward are in the School of Media and Public Affairs and receive full scholarships and stipends for their work. They are selected on a competitive basis. Planet Forward works in consortium with numerous universities and as part of the collaboration, staff skype with students in classrooms across the country, providing instruction and feedback on storytelling techniques. Students self-select when it comes to submission of videos and uploading content on Planet Forward.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (2nd program):

Student educators are provided a general tool kit that helps them understand the art of storytelling, its importance in agenda setting and advocacy, and best practices in media arts. Embedded in the delivery of storytelling techniques is the notion of social justice and work is carried out through the prism of innovation and with the objective of elevating solution-based dialogue and ideas.


A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (2nd program):

Graduate assistants for Planet Forward are in the School of Media and Public Affairs and receive full scholarships and stipends for their work. Planet Forward was created and is led by Frank Sesno, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs and former DC Bureau Chief for CNN. Planet Forward has one fulltime staff member and 2 graduate research assistants. The program overhead is also contributed by the university through use of facilities.


Name of the student educators program (3rd program):
Sustainable Student Leaders

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (3rd program):
300

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (3rd program):

The Sustainable Student Leaders (SSL) program is designed to connect student leaders from a variety of green organizations at GW. Through the SSL listserv, student leaders send and receive emails to one another about upcoming sustainability-related events and volunteer opportunities. In addition, monthly meetings are held to provide another opportunity to receive updates on sustainability initiatives on campus. The primary purpose of the SSL meetings is to allow the student leaders to get to know one another and to join forces on upcoming projects that have similar themes and objectives. The meetings also serve as a platform for group discussions and a means to address any questions or concerns. The number of students served by this program (above) include both the student leaders of the organizations that attend each year, as well as the students who participate in those student groups, who receive a report out on the meetings from the student leaders.


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

Sustainable Student Leaders are selected based on the role they play in their green organization. Those who are on the executive board or play a very active part in their organization are encouraged to be a part of the program. The Office of Sustainability reaches out to new sustainable student organizations to encourage their participation in the group.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (3rd program):

Sustainable Student Leaders are provided with materials they request to better educate themselves and their peers about topics that are of their organizations’ interest. They are also given brief informational presentations on topics such as GW’s ecosystem enhancement strategies and proper recycling practices. There are 3-4 meetings per semester, and at each meeting an interactive presentation is given, with information for students to disseminate through their respective groups.


A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (3rd program):

A staff member from the Office of Sustainability maintains the listserv and sends out frequent updates about upcoming sustainability-related events. This staff member also leads the monthly SSL meetings and facilitates peer-to-peer discussions. Per student leaders’ request, the Office of Sustainability staff publicizes green organizations’ events and aids in providing student leaders with the resources they need to successfully carry out their events. Materials and other minor costs associated with this group are contributed by the Office of Sustainability.


Name(s) of the student educator program(s) (all other programs):
Sustainability Internship Program

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by all other student educator programs:
16

A brief description of the program(s), including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (all other programs):

Internships are a great way for students to gain exposure to sustainability on campus and to build their resume experience in the field. The Office of Sustainability has had interns working in the office since it opened in 2009, bringing in students who have worked in a variety of capacities:
• Undergraduate interns have played key roles in event planning and research of sustainability issues and best practices;
• Graduate interns have assisted with student engagement activities, such as Eco-Rep coordination and managing our faculty/staff engagement efforts - the Green Office Network;
• Summer interns have researched the feasibility of a green campus fund, designed and launched sustainable procurement policies for GW, and created a sustainable water use video to enhance student engagement on the issue;
• Interns manage the outreach and coordination of the Green Office Network with offices across campus;
• Interns have contributed significantly to the research, content, and development of GW’s Climate Action Plan, GWater Plan, and Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy– the three components of GW’s strategic plan for sustainability practice;
• The student garden manager position helps manage and coordinate the work in on-campus garden;
• Interns in conjunction with Eco-Reps take leadership roles in coordinating Green Move-Out providing assistance;
• Interns assist with meter-reading and recycling efforts throughout the year.

Students outside of the Office of Sustainability also work with the Zero Waste team and the Energy and Environmental Management team on their efforts throughout the university to improve water and environmental efficiency and recycling efforts, among other endeavors. The number of students served are the most recent year's total who are working in these offices.


A brief description of how the student educators are selected (all other programs):

Students apply to serve as interns with a formal cover letter and resume responding to explicit and extensive job descriptions. They are then interviewed by staff and selected through a competitive process.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (all other programs):

Students receive training on the job during their internships. Internships generally begin with an overview of GW's sustainability initiatives and programs helping to provide students with the context for their work. They are involved in staff meetings to learn the context of working within a complex organization, and are provided ample opportunity to interview administrators and faculty, peer institutions, and organizations with expertise in the area of their internship. Interns are also trained in project management and reporting as they interface with their supervisors (e.g. weekly reports, project timelines, project scope, draft deliverables, etc.).


A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (all other programs):

Student interns are paid for their work, and full-time staff manage them throughout the year.


Total number of hours student educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually:
---

The website URL for the peer-to-peer student outreach and education program(s):
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Planet Forward is a GW-led effort that engages students across many colleges and universities in sustainability dialogues both here and abroad. Formally, Planet Forward has a consortium of 12 partner schools.

Hundreds of GW students are engaged in sustainability-related internships on- and off-campus. Example of on-campus internship: four students worked on the Sustainable Plate Symposium in 2014-15. Off campus example: students that have interned at the World Wildlife Fund. See short video here: http://www.planetforward.org/media/webisodes/sustainability-a-minor-with-major-impact

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.