Connecticut College has long been a leader in both environmental stewardship and social justice. Starting in 2011, with the hiring of the first sustainability coordinator, the College committed to a broad view of sustainability – with the recognition that the wellbeing of both the environment and people are critical to the continued thriving of the College, as well as society and the planet.
Since 2011, Connecticut College’s focus on sustainability has continued to develop. In May 2013, the College published its first Sustainability Plan, outlining 14 priorities for the next few years. One of these was the development of an Office of Sustainability, realized just months later in Fall 2013. The Office is now co-led by the assistant director of sustainability and the Suzi Oppenheimer ’56 Faculty Director. Each year, several teams of students, each led by a student Senior Fellow, carry out projects in many different areas of sustainability.
In 2016, sustainability was included as one of the major goals of Connecticut College’s new strategic plan, "Building on Strength." Our new Campus Sustainability Plan, developed by a Sustainability Planning Task Force with representatives from across campus, was adopted in 2018. This plan is a detailed explanation of the actions and priorities we will take over the next 10 years to accomplish the sustainability goals outlined in the College’s Strategic Plan.
In parallel with developing this sustainability strategic plan, the Office of Sustainability and the Environmental Model Committee collaborated to collect data and assess our current status in a range of areas related to sustainability. We submitted these data to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and in March 2018, Connecticut College earned a Silver STARS rating. In June 2021, we completed our second STARS report and earned a Gold rating. We were able to increase our score by almost 20 points in three years by developing new sustainability initatives and working with departments across campus on deeper data collection. Read our STARS report.
In October 2019, we released our first annual report documenting the progress we have made in the first year of implementation of the Campus Sustainability Plan. As future annual reports are released documenting our progress, they will be added here as well.
View this timeline below to see some of the sustainability milestones at Connecticut College.
|1911||Connecticut College founded to provide higher educational opportunities for women|
|Connecticut College Arboretum established||1931|
|1952||Bolleswood Natural Area designated for long-term ecological studies|
|Human Ecology (now Environmental Studies) major first offered||1969||1969||Environmental Model Committee Established|
|Campus wide recycling program begun (one of the first in the nation)||1970|
|1973||Unity House founded to support multicultural students|
|Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment established||1993|
|Earth House formed||1994||1994||First Environmental Coordinator hired|
|1996||Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy established|
|College signs carbon offset agreement with Reforest the Tropics||1999|
|2001||Renewable Energy Fund (now Sustainable Projects Fund) begun|
|Sustainability Fellows Program initiated||2012||2012||New London Hall reopens after a green renovation and receives LEED Gold|
|2013||Office of Sustainability established|
|Suzi Oppenheimer '56 Faculty Director of Sustainability appointed||2014|
|2016||First Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion hired|
|Campus Sustainability Task Force convened||2017|
|2018||Connecticut College awarded Silver ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education|