One way that we live up to the college mission of taking “imaginative and responsible action in the world” is by walking the walk of sustainability. Through increasing energy efficiency, becoming carbon neutral in fuels burned on campus and electricity, using local foods, supporting regenerative organic agriculture, reducing consumption and waste, divesting our endowment, and ongoing evaluation of our progress, we work to minimize our footprint and take care of the earth.
Goddard offers a BA in Sustainability and an MA in Social Innovation and Sustainability. In addition, students pursue a wide range of self-directed studies in sustainability in all our programs. Due to the flexibility of Goddard’s low residency model, these studies are carried out throughout the US and as far away as Mexico, Guatemala, and Africa.
Climate Literacy Group Study
Goddard offers a three credit group study for undergraduate students titled “Climate Literacy; Science, Action, Justice, Resilience.” The Study covers the principles of climate science, how we can measure and reduce our carbon footprints, the effects that climate change is having on social-ecological systems worldwide, clean energy options, climate change psychology and education, climate justice, and how we can implement solutions and make our communities resilient.
In 2018 with the completion of our biomass heating system and our membership in a community solar system, Goddard became carbon neutral in fuels burned on campus and electricity. Our biomass heating system heats the whole campus with woodchips and eliminates our use of heating oil. We are members of a community solar system that provides three quarters of our electricity. Our forests absorb about 200 more tons of CO2 than we produce so that we have surpassed carbon neutrality and become carbon negative.
Food Service: Most of our foods come from local organic farms, and we make our baked goods in the Goddard kitchen from whole wheat grown in VT. Vegan and vegetarian options are available at every meal. We have no vending machines.
Waste: All food scraps are composted on campus, and the compost is used in our gardens and offered to community members for their gardens. Paper usage is reduced through virtual storage and double sided printing. There are recycling bins in every building. We follow a green purchasing policy to minimize the footprint of products purchased.
Transportation: Sharing rides to and from residencies is facilitated with our web based ride share board and the community center bulletin board. We have partnered with the Green Mountain Transit Agency to provide bus service to the campus for students, employees, and community members. We provide a well-maintained fleet of bikes for students and employees to get around campus and ride to places of interest during residencies.
We divested the Goddard endowment in January 2015 and moved the funds into two fossil fuel free accounts at Trillium Asset Management in Boston.
We offer a comprehensive sustainability listserv. Members receive a weekly message about current news, events, and resources.
National Climate Leadership Award
In 2013, Goddard was one of ten colleges chosen to receive the National Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature, the support organization of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
Goddard is a member of AASHE, the ACUPCC, and the EPA Green Power Partnership, and a supporter of 350VT.
Goddard is also member of the Planetary Heath Alliance, a consortium of universities, NGOs and other partners hosted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Center for the Environment. Planetary health is a field focused on understanding and addressing the human health impacts of accelerating human caused disruptions of natural systems, and on promoting environmental stewardship.