|Submission Date||July 22, 2014|
Dean of Strategic Planning
The EcoLeaders program was an idea initially discussed by both the College Committee on Sustainability (CCS) and the Vassar Greens, a student group as a way to engage more members of the Vassar community on sustainability issues. The two groups worked together, along with support from the Office of Residential Life, to design the EcoLeaders program during the Fall of 2013. Spring 2014 is the first semester the program was implemented. The program was designed to allow individuals interested in taking a leadership role on sustainability issues to have a structure and support system that empowered them to realize their ideas and effectively implement them. The position is volunteer-based and requires a commitment of 1-3 hours a week.
The program seeks to train individuals in each of the dorms, as well as senior and off-campus housing areas, to serve as leaders on sustainability in their living spaces. The first corps of 12 EcoLeaders (one in each of the 9 dorms, 2 from senior housing, and one off-campus representative) each implemented a project on an issue related to sustainability (i.e. waste management, water conservation, etc.), while collaborating with one another and receiving administrative support from CCS. These projects are targeted at specific living spaces (i.e. Main Dorm), departments (i.e. Vassar Athletics), as well as at the student body at large.
A brief application was sent out to all the students. Applicants were interviewed by Alistair Hall and EcoLeaders were selected based on what they hoped to accomplish and their leadership potential. Students were given preference based on dorm (i.e. all students from Main were considered for the position of Main EcoLeader), except in cases where there were no applicants from a specific dorm.
The EcoLeaders received one general training at the beginning of the semester on Leadership skills. This training was conducted by Alistair Hall, assistant for sustainability activities. After the initial training, the EcoLeaders met regularly in smaller groups to plan out their proposed projects for the semester. during this meeting, EcoLeaders received additional training on running campaigns/projects, setting appropriate "SMART" goals, etc.
The EcoLeaders are encouraged to work with one another and independently throughout the semester. However, they also are in contact with both the assistant for sustainability activities and a student intern on CCS. CCS provides support, training, and guidance for the EcoLeaders. Additionally, the college has made a small budget to help implement the programs/projects the EcoLeaders implement during the semester.
Vassar also has an internship program, which employs six to seven students a semester as interns for the sustainability committee. In addition to committee educational outreach, each intern works closely with an administrative office on campus on sustainability matters. The intern positions are listed below, along with the administrative office that they work most closely with:
1. Buildings and Grounds intern (Building and Grounds department)
2. Purchasing intern (Purchasing office)
3. Local Foods intern (Campus Dining office)
4. Zero Waste Intern (Campus Dining; Custodial Services)
5. Education intern (Residential Life office, EcoLeaders, Student Government)
6. Community Relations intern (many different offices)
7. Communications Intern (many different offices)
This arrangement not only gives the student interns experience as educators, but it also gives them experience in the practical aspects of sustainability actions because they help these offices in their sustainability activities.
The internship program is competitive. Students apply to become interns by submitting a written application and are interviewed by members of the committee.
The interns are trained and overseen by the assistant to sustainability activities and the sustainability representative in the office with which they work. The interns have bi-weekly individual meetings with the Sustainability Assistant and weekly team meetings, in which they receive support for their projects and participate in ongoing leadership trainings and discussions.
The 7 intern positions are work-study and offer full time employment (8-10 hours/week) for the selected students.
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.
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.