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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 Silver
Overall Score 58.08
Liaison Kristi Wiedemann
Submission Date March 13, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Princeton University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 2.00 Shana Weber
Director
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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 No
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
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 No
Programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills No
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:

Greening Princeton:
By cooperating with all University departments, educating and engaging the campus community, and recommending and facilitating change, Greening Princeton pursues this mission and advocates the University’s leadership in environmental responsibility.

Students United for a Responsible Global Environment (SURGE):
SURGE’s mission is to combat global climate change by catalyzing the transition from awareness to action, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the Princeton community, and engaging as active citizens to promote changes in policy and legislation. The organization has also hosted the former governor of New Jersey, has worked with the Sierra Club, 350.org and Oceana. SURGE also hosts Princeton University’s fossil fuel divestment campaign.

The Sustainable Fashion Initiative (SFI):
Dedicated to cultivating a culture of sustainability in the fashion industry that is grounded in the conviction of young consumers to live, create, and shop purposefully. SFI aims to shift the industry mindset towards a conceptual framework that values fashion as a positive visual and tactile representation of self, and as a powerful vehicle for human empowerment and sustainable development around the world. Through their programs, SFI promotes a socially and environmentally responsible understanding of fashion, provides a discovery platform for sustainable lifestyle options, and investigates practices that will enhance sustainability in the fashion industry as a whole.

Greening Dining:
This group has been collaborating with Campus Dining since 2002 in an effort to adopt more sustainable practices in the dining halls. Together they have worked to develop Campus Dining sustainable practices and policies, including increasing organic and local food options, implementing tray-free dining and ensuring that food waste is sent to local farms or composted.

Notable accomplishments of student-governed groups:
Greening Princeton, SURGE, and other sustainability-focused groups have co-organized an annual Earth Day celebration for several years, the most recent of which was in spring ‘14. Each celebration has student performers, free sustainable and local food, and information about green student causes. Each event was attended by hundreds of students.

In ‘13/’14, Greening Princeton completed a highly successful mixed recycling pilot and communications campaign. As a result, mixed recycling is being rolled out during ‘14/’15 in all student dormitories. It will be rolled out in 2015 in all faculty and staff buildings. Greening Princeton and the Office of Sustainability will continue to coordinate a communications campaign to educate campus members about the changes to their recycling system.

In ‘13/’14, SURGE organized a campus energy competition, “Do it in the Dark.” The Engineering Department collected baseline energy data for a week before the start of the competition; the competition was not announced during the data gathering process to help ensure an accurate baseline. The competition lasted for a month and was judged by which of the six residential colleges saved the most energy. Alongside the competition, SURGE ran a communications campaign to promote the competition and to teach students about how they could save energy. By Earth Day, the end of the competition, the top three residential colleges saved 11,876 kWh, or enough energy to power 312,538 laptops or 494 Nissan Leaf Electric Cars.

SFI has hosted an annual Sustainable Fashion Week for three years, the most recent of which was in spring ‘14. This included a fashion show with clothing made out of sustainable materials; free DIY workshops; and speaker panels.

In 2013, Greening Dining debuted GoViv, a reusable container program that is accessible to customers dining in Café Vivian in the Frist Campus Center. More recently, Greening Dining has added “Food for Thought” signage to napkin holders in dining halls and hosted veggie night+/flexitarian dinners and presentations.


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:

The Princeton Garden project is a student-run initiative overseen by the Office of Sustainability. The group’s mission is to educate the campus about the American food system and its implications for the environment, health and nutrition, culture and the future.
The garden is maintained by paid student managers throughout the academic year, and by interns during the summer. The Project models a sustainable food production system on campus and offers opportunities for all students to engage with the garden through planting and harvesting and attending community-building events. There are two primary garden plots: a 1.5 acre plot north of Forbes College at 79 Alexander Street, and another near the South Patio outside of the Frist Student Center. The produce is regularly provided to dining halls, campus food cooperatives, and special campus events.


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

Princeton University hosts many conferences, speaker series, and related events throughout the academic year which are targeted to student audiences. A few recent examples that relate to sustainability include:

1. Oil, Energy, and the Middle East: Administered between 2007-2013, this project was aimed at achieving a better understanding of the causes behind the tightening of the global oil supply; the prospects for increasing supply and the future of the oil industry; the political, economic, and security outlook for the Middle East; nonconventional oil, alternative energy and fuel sources; and the interplay between all these issues and carbon emission control. Based in the Institute for Transregional Study of the Department of Near Eastern Studies (NES), this project is a joint collaboration between NES and the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI). As of 2007 it has been designated one of the funded projects of the PEI’s Grand Challenges Initiative. In addition to sponsoring a postdoctoral program of at least two visiting fellows per year, the project’s activities include a lecture series of invited speakers, an annual conference and courses offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The project also organized trips for students and faculty to Saudi Arabia, the major oil producing country in the Middle East, to meet with experts and administrators as well as visit production and processing facilities. Recently, the rising tensions with Iran are a particular area of study and research, and in this regard OEME held an international conference on nuclear energy and security in October 2013 in Doha, Qatar. This project and event series is not student-governed. http://www.princeton.edu/oeme/events/

2. How Climate Works: This one day symposium, hosted in 2012, taught the fundamentals of climate change for scholars, students, and the general public. The symposium featured several speakers who are renowned within the field, including The New York Times’ award-winning DotEarth blogger, Andrew Revkin. Each lecture is available online as a video for individuals to watch at their leisure. This event was not student-governed. http://www.princeton.edu/pei/events/climateprimers/

3. Environmental Humanities in a Changing World: this two-day conference, hosted in 2013, focused on the growth of environmental issues in the humanities, including literature, art, music, history, religion, philosophy, and more. This two-day conference not only brings together leaders from a range of fields in the environmental humanities, but also prominent artists producing work with environmental import. The goal is to both provide succinct overviews of these fields and introduction to this art, as well as to consider how these various approaches can work together for the future of our planet. The conference was free and open to the public, and students were encouraged to attend. The conference was sponsored by the Princeton Environmental Institute as a 2013 Taplin Environmental Lecture Series, and featured many other departmental sponsors. This event was not student-governed. http://www.princeton.edu/pei/events/changingworld/


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

During the past three years, Princeton has hosted an assortment of cultural arts events that relate to sustainability and have students as the intended audience. The following are recent examples:

1. Environmental Comedy: As part of the Princeton Environmental Institute’s “What Arts & Humanities Are Good For,” Princeton hosted a series of environmental comedy events in 2014. The first, “That’s Not Funny! A Panel on Environmental Comedy,” featured Yoram Bauman, a stand-up economist; Nathanael Johnson, a journalist at Grist.org; and Jenny Price, a writer, artist, environmental historian, and the 2014 Barron Visiting Professor for the Environment and the Humanities at Princeton University. The panel featured discussion of why environmentalism isn’t funny, and why it desperately needs to acquire a sense of humor.
http://www.princeton.edu/pei/news/archive/?id=12445

A related event was also hosted: “The Late Night Comedy Show with Stand-up Economist Yoram Bauman Plus Student Opening Acts.” The event featured Bauman and student opening acts, many of whom were participating in the Princeton class, “ENV 346: The Environment Can Be Funny.” http://www.princeton.edu/pei/events/viewevent.xml?id=598

2. Earth Day Celebration: For several years, students have organized an Earth Day Celebration featuring a wide assortment of student dancers, musicians, and improv comedy troupes. Some of the performers altered their usual set to include entertainment specifically related to sustainability. http://sustain.princeton.edu/news/earth-day-picnic


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

The Outdoor Action (OA) Frosh Trip Program is Princeton's oldest and largest pre-orientation program for incoming freshmen. The OA Frosh Trip is a six-day outdoor trip held the week prior to Orientation Week. The trip follows Leave No Trace principles and has grown to include participation from over 50 percent of each incoming class. Each year, more than 100 new student leaders are trained in Leave No Trace Practices through the University’s partnership with the national Leave No Trace Organization. Student leaders then provide instruction to over 700 students annually in the practices.


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

Princeton offers students many sustainability-focused student employment opportunities.

For example, the Office of Sustainability hires paid student interns to supplement and develop a variety of Office activities and initiatives. Current internships focus in art, communications, peer-to-peer education, sustainable food education and production, green tours, performance tracking, and videography. (http://sustain.princeton.edu/involved/jobs)

Additionally, the Princeton Environmental Institute offers undergraduate internships designed to complement their academic interests with independent research and project experiences in the summer. (http://www.princeton.edu/pei/undergrads/internships/) The Institute also provides extensive research opportunities to graduate students. (http://www.princeton.edu/pei/grads/research-opportunities/)


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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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.