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, localizing food and product sources, practicing and 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 Change Group Study
Goddard offers the group study “Climate Change, Science, Action, Justice, Resilience.” The study covers climate science, how we are changing the climate, how to reduce our carbon footprints and adapt to climate change, clean energy options for our communities, climate action groups, the effects that climate change is having on social-ecological systems worldwide, climate justice, and how we can raise awareness about climate change.
Sustainability Entrepreneur’s Grant
Once a year, Goddard students who are starting a business that provides solutions to sustainability issues can apply for a $2,500 Sustainability Entrepreneur’s Grant to fund the development of the business. Applications are due by January 1.
In 2007, Goddard signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. A sustainability committee was formed, and we conducted a carbon inventory, created a climate action plan, and began working to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency with a goal of carbon neutrality by 2020. To that end, the college is working in the following areas:
- Energy: By retrofitting buildings, upgrading equipment, and switching to CF and LED bulbs, we have reduced the use of heating oil and electricity by 31%. This has resulted in reducing carbon emissions from these sources by the same amount. In the fall of 2015, Goddard College signed on with groSolar to develop a 500-kilowatt project that is expected to offset about 68% of the College’s total electricity load with solar energy.
- Food Service: Nearly all our food comes from our organic campus garden and greenhouse and from local farms within a few miles of the college. We are working towards making the food served in the cafeteria 100% sourced in Vermont. 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 the garden 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 student and employee use. The bikes are used to get around campus and for local touring to places of interest during residencies.
- Green Revolving Fund: We have a green revolving fund that is a dedicated source of capital for sustainability projects. This is “funded” by the cost savings resulting from energy efficiency upgrades and continues to replenish itself.
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.
In 2014, Goddard became the third college in Vermont to divest its endowment of fossil fuel companies. The endowment funds are now in a portfolio that has no fossil fuel exposure.
Goddard maintains a comprehensive sustainability listserv. Members receive a weekly message of timely news, events, and resources.
Goddard is a member of AASHE, the ACUPCC, and the UVM Sustainability Faculty Fellows Program, and a supporter of 350VT.