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    2017 State of Sustainability Report


    In 2014 the Office of Sustainability at Colorado College released its first State of Sustainability Report.  This report followed the first Sustainability Assessment, Tracking and Rating System (STARS) report created in 2014 and was intended to condense and disseminate the full STARS report.  The State of Sustainability Report provided a benchmark for the college’s performance across broad sustainability recommending specific strategies for a holistic systems approach to the integration of educational, engagement, operational, and planning outcomes.

    Many of those recommendations have been realized in the four years since the benchmark report through the impressive efforts of the Campus Sustainability Council, Facilities Services, individual academic departments, student efforts and persistence, support from the administration and the Board of Trustees, and countless individuals who are dedicated to making Colorado College a model for sustainability at all levels.  As a result, Colorado College moved from a STARS® Silver status in 2014 to Gold in 2015, and has remained at that level since. This year, Colorado College opened the doors of Net-Zero Tutt Library, serving as a reminder of the college’s sustainability initiatives and an example moving forward for new and renovated buildings.

    This report outlines where priority actions outlined in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 sustainability reports have led to substantial improvements and, in some cases, where the college has regressed substantially in its sustainability performance.  For the purposes of this update, substantial change in performance is defined as a change of more than 0.5 points in the STARS® weighted scoring system in any one category compared to 2016.

    Additionally, this report is the first to reflect the STARS report under Version 2.1.  While the report is substantially similar to that of version 2.0, certain reporting fields have been removed or combined, and the scoring criteria for others has shifted.

    This document is meant to be accessible to all interested in sustainability and the future of Colorado College.  It provides recommendations to the Campus Sustainability Council while providing information to college and local community members regarding the sustainability efforts that are ongoing at Colorado College as detailed by the AASHE STARS report.  Last year, the CSC created a sustainability action plan to provide sustainability goals, responsibilities, anticipated costs, and responsible parties for the next few years. The action plan was created to increase the college’s STARS score and overall sustainability.  This document uses the college’s 2017 STARS scoring and incorporates current and future efforts outlined in the sustainability action plan.

    Long-term Sustainability Goals

    The overarching goals guiding all sustainability efforts in the next few years have been created by the Steering Committee of Campus Sustainability Council.  These goals inform every initiative regarding sustainability.

    Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2020 as previously committed to in the Campus Climate Commitment (Formerly the ACUPCC). The Steering Committee recommends the following schedule, with the judicial use of carbon offsets in the interim:

    • Scope 1 neutrality by 2025
    • Scope 2 neutrality by 2020
      • 100% energy self sufficient
    • Scope 3 neutrality by 2030
      • All offsets locally based or owned by CC

    Reach STARS Platinum by 2020

    • Simultaneously increase Sierra Cool Schools Ranking
    • Utilize the model STARS worksheet created in 2017 to brainstorm possible areas for improvement.

    Increase Sustainability Funding to $1 Million per year by 2019

    • Increase funding by $250,000 annually through 2019 (proposed in FY2016)
    • Quantify savings from sustainability projects and redirect towards this increased funding

    STARS® Framework

    The Colorado College 2017 State of Sustainability Report, in a similar approach to the 2016 report, is organized around the STARS® organizational model.  Individual college goals and efforts, such as efficiency upgrades, community engagement, and carbon neutrality, are captured in this robust metric.

    In 2017, the STARS® organizational model updated to version 2.1 from 2.0.  Versions 2.0 and 2.1 differ only slightly in certain reporting fields. CC’s 2017 performance across sustainability indicators in the STARS® outline is as follows: (green indicates a significant increase over 2016; red indicates a significant decrease since 2016; significant is defined as a change of more than 0.5 points in the STARS® weighted scoring system).  For categories in which total points possible changed from 2016 to 2017, 2016’s score was taken as a percentage (points received / points possible) and was applied to the possible points available in the 2017 report. That number was then compared to the score received in 2017 as mentioned above to determine a significant change.

    Curriculum 20.42/37.00
    Research 14.27/18.00
    Campus Engagement 14.62/21.00
    Public Engagement 10.58/15.00
    Air and Climate 6.95/11.00
    Buildings 3.25/8.00
    Food & Dining 2.92/8.00
    Energy 4.59/10.00
    Grounds 2.92/4.00
    Purchasing 5.32/6.00
    Transportation 4.90/7.00
    Waste 5.40/10.00
    Water 7.00/7.00
    Coordination & Planning 5.75/8.00
    Diversity & Affordability 9.16/10.00
    Investment & Finance 2.69/7.00
    Wellbeing & Work 3.78/7.00
    Exemplary Practice 2.00
    Innovation 4.00



    Curriculum refers to formal education programs and courses that address sustainability.  The primary function of Colorado College as an institution of higher education is to educate students.  CC is uniquely positioned to prepare students to understand and address sustainability challenges as it trains and educates further leaders, scholars, workers, and professionals.  In offering courses that cover sustainability issues, Colorado College has helped to equip its students to lead society to a sustainable future.

    CC saw a decline in performance in the curriculum category since the 2016 year.  CC decreased specifically in the Academic Courses category and the Learning Outcomes category.  Both decreases were mainly due to the change in scoring criteria from STARS 2.0 to 2.1. With the decrease in the Academic Courses reporting field, scoring is based on the percentage of classes offered that are either Sustainability courses or courses that include sustainability.  Last year, the total sum of courses was inadvertently counted in both categories, overestimating the total number of sustainability designated courses on campus.

    For the 2017 academic year, courses were separated and identified specifically as either Sustainability Courses or courses that include sustainability.  Colorado College reported that 6.29% of all courses offered are sustainability course offerings.

    Below are the top initiatives at work regarding sustainability in the curriculum:

    1. The Office of Sustainability has been working on creating a sustainability thematic minor for students at CC.  Staff in the office hope the certificate is piloted in Fall 2018. The Academic subcommittee of CSC has outlined goals to continue to support the process of creating the certificate in the future.
    2. Through the Office of Sustainability, the college has also defined sustainability learning outcomes, which are critical in identifying courses with sustainability content and in developing a sustainability thematic minor.  Information about the learning objectives and an application for courses to be considered for the sustainability designation is available.
    3. The Office of Sustainability will offer an adjunct course in the 2018-19 academic year to improve students’ professional development in sustainability.  The adjunct is designed to provide students with the knowledge that would be expected of an entry-level sustainability professional and is designed to allow students to achieve a professional credential.


    Colorado College improved in the research category since the 2016 year.  CC increased specifically in the Research and Scholarship and Open Access to Research subcategories.  Where previously unreported, we recorded CC’s Intellectual Property and Copyright policy, which states the college’s support for the concept of open access.  Open access to research is supported by Tutt Library through Digital CC, an archival, institutional digital repository that collects and preserves the creative and intellectual output of the CC community.  CC also improved in the Research and Scholarship subcategory due to the increase in the number of faculty engaged in sustainability research. 15.25% of Colorado College’s faculty engaged in research are engaged in sustainability research.


    Air and Climate

    The Air and Climate subcategory pertains to CC’s measurement of and action to reduce greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions.  In 2009 Colorado College signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, outlining its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2020. Since 2006, the college has recorded and published yearly inventories of greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air-Cool Planet Campus Carbon Calculator™.  The inventory covers scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Colorado College is also a pilot campus for the tool SIMAP through the University of New Hampshire. The tool uses traditional categories of Greenhouse Gas Emissions such as fleet vehicles, purchased electricity, and food to calculate a carbon footprint and adds a nitrogen footprint module.  This module offers additional insights into areas where CC can significantly and effectively reduce emissions, primarily in scope 3.

    The college saw no significant change in the Air and Climate category since 2016.

    Below are the top initiatives at work regarding air and climate:

    1. The college continues to pursue its goal of carbon neutrality by 2020.  The college and CSC are continuously working on innovative strategies to meet this goal.  For example, CC is partnering with the local D11 school district on a small-scale pilot project to reduce emissions in cost-effective ways at the school, thereby allowing CC to verify carbon offsets through reductions from its efforts while providing electrical savings to a public school.
    2. CSC has set a goal to investigate the carbon footprint of field sciences with the ultimate goal of offsetting these emissions.
    3. CC has purchased local renewable energy credits and carbon offsets to mitigate the additional footprint taken on through the merger with the Fine Arts Center.
    4. CC continues to actively work with Colorado Springs Utilities to find ways to provide up to 100 percent of our energy usage with renewable energy.  Doing so would eliminate all scope 2 emissions.


    The buildings subcategory pertains to steps that Colorado College is taking to improve the sustainability performance of its buildings.  Buildings are one of the largest users of energy and the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions on campus. They also use significant amounts of potable water.  By designing, constructing, and maintaining buildings in ways that provide a safe and healthy indoor environment for inhabitants while simultaneously mitigating the building’s impact on the outdoor environment, Colorado College can address the sustainability of its buildings. 

    Colorado College saw no significant change in Buildings since the 2016 report.  Colorado College continues to require that new buildings, additions to existing buildings, or existing building renovations should minimize building life-cycle costs, direct and indirect, relating to energy use, maintenance, waste disposal and occupant health & productivity.  Life-cycle costs should be based on a “whole-building perspective”, rather than from the perspective of individual building systems or components.

    Not included in CC’s 2017 STARS report is the new Tutt Library, the largest academic library designed to achieve net-zero construction.  The library opened for fall semester in the 2017-18 academic year. Included in the project is a geothermal energy field beneath Armstrong Quad, 115-kilowatt rooftop solar array, 400-kilowatt offsite solar array, green roof-top garden, and a 130-kilowatt combined heat and power system.  The net-zero energy Tutt Library received one of three 2017 Innovation Awards from the National Association of College and University Business Officers and will be included in 2019’s STARS report.

    Below are the top initiatives at work regarding buildings:

    1. CSC has set a goal to make Olin Hall's replacement/renovation a highly energy efficient laboratory building.
    2. The Campus Sustainability Council and the Office of Sustainability are working to provide options for a net-zero or near net-zero ice arena with the construction of the Robson Ice Arena.  Honnen Arena, the campus’ current ice sheet, is by far the most energy intensive building on our campus. Reducing the energy use of a similar replacement facility to near zero would be a marked improvement on the campus’ overall building performance.
    3. CSC is continuing to certify offices under its Green Office Program.

    Food and Dining

    Rastall Cafe

    Rastall Cafe

    The Dining Services subcategory pertains to efforts at Colorado College to help build a sustainable food system.  Modern industrial food production often has deleterious environmental impacts. Pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture can contaminate ground and surface water, which has potentially dangerous impacts on wildlife and human health.  Furthermore, the often long-distance transportation of food to CC produces greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution. Additionally, farm workers are often paid substandard wages, subjected to harsh working conditions, and exposed to dangerous pesticides.  Colorado College can use its food purchases to support local economies; encourage safe, environmentally friendly farming methods; and help alleviate poverty for farmers.

    The college improved in this category however still only claims less than 40% of possible points.  Colorado College’s primary dining services contractor, Bon Appetit, has a published sustainable dining policy which states that they are committed to healthy and sustainable dining at Colorado College.  The quality of products being purchased is assessed based on local, ecological, fair trade, and humane expenditures.

    The dining service contract is up for renewal in 2018 and is being actively negotiated.   Student groups and the Office of Sustainability are hopeful that this renegotiation will allow for further improvements in this category.


    Colorado College continues to address its energy consumption through conservation and efficiency and by switching to cleaner and renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar.  Energy consumption directly impacts our greenhouse gas emissions, impacting global climate change. Energy costs are also one of the most volatile operating expenses the college grapples with.  Reducing our overall energy use and becoming self-sufficient to the largest degree possible stabilizes these costs and allows us to better plan for future costs while reducing our associated greenhouse gas emissions.

    Utility Cost Summary 2017

    The college saw no significant change in its energy score this year.

    Avoided Utility Cost

    Below are the top initiatives at work regarding energy:

    1. The Green Sciences subcommittee of CSC is working to reduce the energy use of laboratory sciences.
    2. The Office of Facilities Services has multiple projects underway that will reduce total energy use and increase energy sourced from renewables.


    Native plant garden, Bemis Hall in background

    Native plant garden, Bemis Hall in background

    The Grounds subcategory recognizes and recommends areas where Colorado College plans and maintains its grounds in accordance with sustainability principles.  Beautiful and welcoming campus grounds can be planned, planted, and maintained without the use of toxic chemicals and while protecting wildlife habitat, and conserving water and resources.  Colorado College has excelled in sustainable landscaping by means of its centralized irrigation control system, use of non-potable water, and placement of several native plant gardens on campus.

    The college saw no significant change in its grounds score in 2017.  However, in the spring of 2017 the college was officially certified as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.  This means that tree care and health on campus is standardized and trees will henceforth be cared for by our campus arborist and supported by the tree campus committee made up of both faculty and students.  The Tree Campus USA certification was the main goal set out for sustainability in grounds in last year’s report.

    Below are the top initiatives at work regarding grounds:

    1. Guide future campus landscape projects to ensure planting areas favor xeric and native species over water-intensive Kentucky Bluegrass grass.
    2. Actively remove grass from unnecessary areas on campus and replant these spaces with water-sense and xeriscape landscapes.
    3. Educate the campus and Colorado Springs community on the benefits of planting species that are less water-intensive and better suit for the semi-arid climate of Colorado.  This can be accomplished by community led xeriscaping projects and placards that call out campus xeriscaping locations.


    Colorado College can use its purchasing power to help build a sustainable economy.  Each purchasing decision represents an opportunity for CC to choose environmentally and socially preferable products and services that support companies with strong commitments to sustainability.

    The college saw an increase in the purchasing category since 2016.  The college did exceptionally well in the Sustainable Procurement subcategory of purchasing.  CC has published sustainability criteria that seek to support sustainable purchasing across commodity categories institution-wide.

    There are no current initiatives by CSC or the OoS to improve sustainability in purchasing, although there is room for future improvement primarily in Office Paper Purchasing, Inclusive and Local Purchasing, and Guidelines for Business Partners.


    Transportation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants that contribute to health problems such as heart and respiratory diseases and cancer.  Due to disproportionate exposure, these health impacts are frequently more pronounced in low-income communities next to major transportation corridors. In addition, the extraction, production, and global distribution of fuels for transportation can damage environmentally and/or culturally significant ecosystems and may financially benefit hostile and/or oppressive governments.

    The college improved its score in transportation for 2017.  This improvement was mainly seen in the Employee Commute Modal Split section and some in the Support for Sustainable Transportation section.  This was due to an increase in the percentage of (now 65%) employees that use more sustainable commuting options as their primary method of transportation.

    Below are the top initiatives at work regarding transportation:

    1. The Office of Sustainability is working with Facilities Services and Transportation to add a per-mile surcharge to vehicle fleet usage for the purpose of purchasing regionally-based offsets for fleet vehicle usage.
    2. In 2017 the Office of Sustainability partnered with Mountain Metro Transit to provide all students with unlimited access to bus routes using their student ID.  This program is funded with student activity fees allocated by the Colorado College Student Government Association.
    3. Colorado College is an anchor sponsor and has been actively working with Colorado Springs Downtown Business Partnership to launch PikeRide, a bike share program for the City of Colorado Springs.  CC will have two kiosks located on campus and all students will have annual memberships to the program.


    The Waste category highlights management practices and areas where Colorado College can improve by moving toward zero waste by reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting.  These actions mitigate the need to extract virgin materials, such as trees and metals. It generally takes less energy and water to make a product with recycled materials than with virgin resources.  Reducing waste generation also reduces the flow of waste to incinerators and landfills, which produce greenhouse gas emissions, can contaminate air and groundwater supplies, and tends to have disproportionate negative impacts on low-income communities.  Waste reduction and diversion also save Colorado College costly landfill and hauling service fees. In addition, waste reduction campaigns can engage the entire campus and broader community in contributing to a tangible sustainability goal.

    CC increased its score in the Waste category since 2016.  This is mainly due to the reporting of construction and demolition waste, which was not applicable in the 2016 report.  Recycling construction and demolition debris is a priority at Colorado College.  The college diverted 44.7 percent of construction and demolition waste from the landfill or incinerator through recycling, donation and/or other forms of recovery.

    Below are the top initiatives at work regarding waste:

    1. Facilities services, Sodexo, Bon Appetit, and CSC have worked to install uniform waste, compost, and recycling centers across campus.  This is an expanded program from an initial pilot in the Worner Center. These containers clearly designate waste streams and are intended to increase the college’s diversion rate from a landfill.  The college has also designed a campus-wide waste diversion standard with bins designated for landfill, single-stream recycling, and compost waste. This standard was largely deployed in spring of 2018.
    2. The CSC plans to work to reduce the number of pages printed on a year-to-year basis in the future.  With the addition of Papercut, printing was made more efficient and easier, which has resulted in an increase in number of pages printed per person.  The Office of Communications has already begun to email students and faculty their printing history in an effort to decrease printing.


    his category applies to efforts and recommendations to protect water quality.  Because pumping, delivering, and treating water are major energy users, Colorado College can help reduce energy consumption and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy generation by conserving water.  Likewise, conservation and effective stormwater management are important in maintaining and protecting finite groundwater supplies. Water conservation and effective stormwater management also reduce the need for effluent discharge into local surface water supplies, which helps improve the health of local water ecosystems.

    The college earned all possible points both the Water Use and Rainwater Management categories.  The college reduced its water use per weighted campus user, per unit of floor area and per unit of vegetated grounds.

    The grounds department implements a number of water-saving landscaping strategies across campus and is continually improving those.

    The Office of Sustainability offers a three-day water tour as part of its Sense of Place program to follow the source of water to Colorado Springs.  Water in Colorado and in the western United States is a particularly salient sustainability issue.


    Campus Engagement

    CC saw a decline in campus engagement category performance since the 2016 year.  While we experienced a significant decrease by the definition of over .5 total points in campus engagement, the total point decrease was only by 1.3 points.  This was mainly due to the decrease in points earned in the student educator’s program subcategory, which is scored based on the percentage of students served by a peer educators programs.  CC is committed to reporting accurate numbers without any overlap in this section.

    Below are the top initiatives at work regarding campus engagement:

    1. The OoS has created a permanent paraprofessional position.  This person - generally a recent college graduate - will facilitate and coordinate interns and volunteers in the OoS and continued sustainability efforts.
    2. The T.R.E.E. Semester in Environmental Education began in the fall of 2015.  The program involves a partnership between Colorado College and Catamount Center, an environmental nonprofit organization that operates the Catamount Mountain Campus in Woodland Park.  Undergraduate participants teach about 100 hours of environmental education over the course of the semester in the outdoors and in K-12 classrooms. The program will continue in the 2016-2017 school year.

    Public Engagement

    The Public Engagement category recognizes efforts that give back to our community through community service, engagement, and partnerships.  Volunteerism and the sense of compassion that community service helps develop are fundamental to achieving sustainability. From tutoring children to removing invasive species to volunteering in the community, students, faculty, and staff can make tangible contributions that address sustainability challenges through community service.  Community engagement can help students develop leadership skills while deepening their understanding of practical, real-world problems. Colorado College can contribute to our campus community by harnessing our financial and academic resources to address community needs. In addition, we can contribute to sustainability broadly through inter-campus collaboration, engagement with external networks and organizations, and public policy advocacy.

    CC saw a decline in the public engagement category since the 2016 year.  The decline in public engagement is mainly due to the change in reporting framework from STARS 2.0 to STARS 2.1, which eliminated the Community Stakeholder Engagement subcategory, where CC had previously earned all available points.

    Planning and Administration

    Coordination, Planning, and Governance

    This subcategory recognizes the institutionalizing of sustainability at Colorado College by dedicating resources to sustainability coordination, developing plans to move toward sustainability, and engaging students, staff, and faculty in governance.  Staff and other resources help CC organize, implement, and publicize sustainability initiatives. These resources provide the infrastructure that fosters sustainability within CC. Sustainability planning affords an institution the opportunity to clarify its vision of a sustainable future, establish priorities and help guide budgeting and decision making.  Strategic planning and internal stakeholder engagement in governance are important steps in making sustainability a campus priority and may help advocates implement changes to achieve sustainability goals.

    The college saw a decrease in this section since 2016.  This was mainly due to a change in reporting fields and scoring from STARS 2.0 to STARS 2.1.

    Diversity and Affordability

    This category recognizes efforts at Colorado College to advance diversity and affordability on campus.  In order to build a sustainable society, diverse groups will need to be able to come together and work collaboratively to address sustainability challenges.  People of color and low-income communities tend to suffer disproportionate exposure to environmental problems. This environmental injustice happens as a result of unequal and segregated communities.  To achieve environmental and social justice, society must work to address discrimination and promote equality. The historical legacy and persistence of discrimination based on racial, gender, religious, and other differences makes a proactive approach to promoting a culture of inclusiveness an important component of creating an equitable society.  Higher education opens doors to opportunities that can help create a more equitable world, and those doors must be open through affordable programs accessible to all regardless of race, gender, religion, socio- economic status and other differences. In addition, a diverse student body, faculty, and staff provide rich resources for learning and collaboration.

    The college saw a negligible change in the Diversity and Affordability section in 2016.  Initiatives regarding diversity and affordability are largely being pursued by the Colorado College administration, The Butler Center, Office of Financial Aid, and the President’s Office.

    Investment and Finance

    Colorado College can support sustainability by investing in companies and funds that, in addition to providing a strong rate of return, are committed to social and environmental responsibility.  Investing in these industries also supports the development of sustainable products and services. Finally, CC can engage with the businesses in which we are invested in order to promote sustainable practices. 

    The college saw an increase in this section from the 2016 report.  This is mainly in part to the implementation of a formally established and active committee on investor responsibility (CIR) that makes recommendations to fund decision-makers on socially and environmentally responsible investment opportunities across asset classes.  The CIR is in charge of submitting proxy votes in the interest of voting for socially responsible and environmentally ethical practices of the companies invested in through JW Bristol Holdings.

    The investment subcommittee of CSC has provided an institutionalized proxy voting process at Colorado College, including a “how-to” document for future proxy voting committees.

    Below are the top initiatives at work regarding investment:

    1. The Investment subcommittee of CSC is working with the CC Investment Club to create a portfolio managed by a diverse group of students under strict sustainability criteria. 

    Wellbeing and Work

    This subcategory pertains to Colorado College’s incorporation of sustainability into its human resources programs and policies.  The college’s people define its character and capacity to perform; and so, its achievements can only be as strong as its community.  CC has bolstered the strength of its community by making fair and responsible investments in its human capital. Such investments include offering benefits, wages, and other assistance that serve to respectfully and ethically compensate workers and acting to protect and positively affect the health, safety, and well-being of the campus community.  Investment in human resources is integral to the achievement of a healthy and sustainable balance between human capital, natural capital, and financial capital.

    The college saw a decrease in this category since 2016.  This is due to slight decreases in the employee compensation and assessing employee satisfaction subcategories.  Colorado College continues to pay living wages to all of its employees and to all of its contracted employees.

    Exemplary Practice

    STARS 2.1 introduces a new type of credit to the Innovation & Leadership (IN) category of STARS, called Exemplary Practice credits. Exemplary practice credits are optional and recognize specific initiatives that demonstrate sustainability leadership. Unlike Innovation credits, which are time-limited, Exemplary Practice credits may be claimed in multiple submissions as long as the criteria are being met at the time of submission.

    CC reports on all fields it feels address the many active sustainability initiatives on campus.

    Below is a list of the exemplary practice credits the college submitted in the 2017 STARS report:

    Sustainability Course Designation

    Professors can register their courses as either sustainability-focused courses (T1), which explicitly concentrate on at least three of the objectives listed in the course application and the potential relationships between them, or sustainability-related courses (T2), which focus on one of the objectives listed in the application and perhaps contemplate connections to other topics (objectives following AASHE guidelines).

    Green Athletics

    The college’s green athletics includes offering a fan bus to transport students to World Arena for all Colorado College Hockey home games.  Additionally, Washburn Field is a synthetic turf field, eliminating chemical and potable water use, Olson, Stuart and Autrey fields are grass athletic fields all watered with non potable water.

    Green Event Certification

    The Green Event Certification is meant to challenge CC Students and Community members to think of the environment when planning and executing events on Campus.  This criteria was built with student events in mind but can be easily applied to community events. The Colorado Eco-Event Criteria is broken into 3 categories: Waste, Food & Drink, and Other.

    Certified Green Cleaning

    Colorado College has been certified under the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) Cleaning Industry Management Standard for Green Buildings (CIMS-GB) since July of 2015.

    Grounds Certification

    As of Spring 2017, CC's campus is officially tree campus certified, meaning tree health is standardized for the coming times.  All campus trees will henceforward be cared for by our campus arborist and supported by the tree campus committee made up of both faculty and students.  A tree care plan created by the committee will marshal tree management. Students will be taught how to support tree health and plant xeric trees and gardens on Arbor Day each year.

    Bicycle Friendly University

    The Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors.  The BFU program provides the roadmap and technical assistance to create great campuses for cycling. CC was named a Bicycle Friendly University in the fall of 2015 at the Bronze level.

    Natural Wastewater Systems

    Colorado College employs Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to handle its wastewater.  CSU exceeds its permit requirements to ensure that water is treated in a way that minimizes potential harm to local waterways.  As a secondary treatment to wastewater, CSU employs the use of bacteria and other microorganisms which are fed oxygen which allows them to grow and consume other organic materials.  Nitrifiers convert ammonia into nitrogen gas while other micro-organisms aid in the removal of phosphorus. All micro-organisms are then removed through settled and are reused time and time again.  The facility utilizes ultraviolet (UV) light to disinfect wastewater, which eliminates bacteria and enhances the quality of wastewater discharge. The treatment plant has adapted these methods to replace its previous use of gaseous chlorine.


    Innovation A: Center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum

    The Sustainability Across the Curriculum workshop is designed to help faculty develop an outline or course module that broadens the sustainability course offerings at their institution.  Participants engage in exercises that foster a broad and deep understanding of sustainability, including reflection, field trips, and group discussion to support the development of a greater sense of place.  Being a center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum opens our workshops up to all AASHE member institutions and shares our best practices and professional development for faculty.

    Innovation B: Net-Zero Tutt Library

    Architectural rendering of post-renovation Tutt Library

    Architectural rendering of post-renovation Tutt Library

    Colorado College's newly renovated Tutt Library is a model of environmental stewardship and innovation.  The new library is a major contributor to the college's goal of carbon neutrality by 2020. The library is heated and cooled by a continuous loop geothermal system.  A plan for the library to produce zero annual net carbon emissions with zero net energy (natural gas and electricity) consumption has successfully been implemented. The library is in its final commissioning phases.

    Innovation C: Community Engaged Scholars Program

    The Engaged Scholar program is a new program that develops and supports students' commitment to and capacity for sustained, informed, and deliberate community engagement.  By enrolling in the program, students commit to: (1) consistently engage in community work throughout their undergraduate careers, and (2) take an effort to learn from, and apply learning to, those experiences.  These engagement opportunities include the opportunities provided by the social and environmental for-profit and non-profit agencies in the local community. Throughout the program, students integrate this engaged work into a reflective portfolio that helps them to articulate their personal story of engagement and illustrate their commitment to bridging practice and theory in the service of a public good.  The community engaged scholars program gives meaningful recognition for sustained engagement over several years. The program also accounts for paid engagement, making it accessible to students who cannot afford to participate in unpaid engagement.

    Innovation D: Nitrogen Footprinting

    Colleen Orr ‘17 along with professor Rebecca Barnes and Sustainability Director Ian Johnson for the first time have completed a nitrogen footprint for Colorado College.  By assessing our carbon footprint alongside our nitrogen footprint the possible carbon and nitrogen savings associated with ongoing sustainability practices, as well as those under consideration, we will be able to rank sustainability activities and opportunities; helping to inform decision making.


    Colorado College has made exemplary strides in sustainability performance within the past year and sustainability continues to be a centerpiece of our strategies to remain relevant to our students and the world moving forward.  Indeed, sustainability is a prominent piece of our strategic plan and the master plan and is exemplified in our daily actions, including our continued drive towards carbon neutrality, Tutt Library as a net-zero energy/net-zero carbon building, and our increasing portfolio of sustainability courses.  Our STARS® Gold benchmark rating is evidence of the ethic and practices that permeate the administration, faculty, staff, and students at our college. By using this widely accepted and comprehensive metric, we have made solid improvements in our performance and have a clearer map of where to head in the coming years.

    The Colorado College 2017 State of Sustainability Report provides the self-check on the efforts that we have begun over the past year.  Our status as a STARS® Gold institution validates many of the efforts begun over the past years as well as re-focuses our efforts in new areas as we strive to become a STARS® Platinum institution and a premier sustainability example while providing the finest liberal arts education in the country.


    The Colorado College 2016 State of Sustainability Report is produced by the Colorado College Office of Sustainability in close collaboration with the Campus Sustainability Council, the Dean’s Office, and the Office of Sustainability interns.  This document has been co-authored by Ian Johnson, Bryna Coyle, and the Office of Communications but is the work of the many people noted below. STARS® data used in this report have been compiled by Ian Johnson, Bryna Coyle, and Katy Dupree between September 2016 and May 2017.6.

    Colorado College Campus Sustainability Council


    Karen To, Communications

    Hannah Ryder, Office of Sustainability Intern

    Mark Smith, Professor of Economics


    Office of Sustainability

    Ian Johnson, Sustainability Director

    Katy Dupree, Office of Sustainability Paraprofessional

    Jonah Seifer, Office of Sustainability and State of the Rockies Paraprofessional

    Kelsey Maxwell, Communications Intern

    Bryna Coyle, State of Sustainability Intern

    Cory Page, Buildings and Grounds Intern

    Rebecca Glazer, Community Engagement Intern

    Hannah Ryder, Curriculum Development Intern

    Danny Rodriguez, Residence Life Intern

    Andrej Blazhevski, Website Maintenance and Development Intern

    Wayan Buschman, Swap Space Manager



    Marion Hourdequinn, Philosophy

    Kat Miller-Stevens, Economics & Business



    Lyrae Williams, President’s Office

    George Eckhardt, Campus Planner

    Tom Allen, Sodexo

    Laura Rosendo, Major Gift Officer, Development

    Darren Ceckanowicz, Technical Director, Environmental Program

    Mark Ferguson, Campus Operations and Plant Manager

    Cecelia Gonzalez, Horticulturist

    Ryan Hammes, Director of Outdoor Education

    Austin Kumm, Bon Appetit

    Randy Kruse, Bon Appetit

    John Lauer, Associate Vice President for Student Life

    Leslie Weddell, Director of News and Media Relations

    Leonard Ortman, Controls Specialist

    Tess Powers, Director of Faculty Research Support/Research Compliance Officer

    Mike Siddoway, Associate Dean of the Faculty

    Michael Brubaker, Mechanical Services Engineer

    Jordan Radke, Director, Collaborative for Community Engagement

    Justin Weis, Associate Director, Residential Life and Housing

    Dez Stone Menendez, Director of Innovation

    Denise Sheridan, Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator

    Don Herbst, Media Services

    Enid Ruiz-Mattei, Senior Budget Analyst

    Scott Palguta, Men’s Soccer Coach

    Melanie Alexander, Assistant Director of Recreation



    Sabrina Heitmann, EnAct Co-chair

    Sierra Melton, EnAct Co-chair

    Max Kronstadt, CCSGA

    Brianna Apodaca, CCSGA

    Luke Henningsen

    Local Community Members

    Frank Kinder, Colorado Springs Utilities

    Alicia Archibald, Bestway

    Jane Ard-Smith, Colorado Springs Sierra Club

    Ryan Trujillo, Sustainability Director, Colorado Springs

    Linda Kogan, Sustainability Director, UCCS

    Colorado College Administration, Faculty, and Staff

    Jill Tiefenthaler, President

    Mary Frances Kerr, Special Assistant to the President

    Robert Moore, Vice President for Finance and Administration

    Mike Edmonds, Vice President of Student Life/ Dean of Students

    Sandra Wong, Dean of the College/Faculty

    Mike Siddoway, Associate Dean of the Faculty

    Tom Allen, General Manager, Sodexo

    Lisa Brommer, Associate Director, Human Resources

    Pam Butler, HR Manager

    Paul Buckley, Assistant Vice President/Director of The Butler Center

    Chris Coulter, Director of Facilities Services

    Don Davidson, Interim Director of Purchasing

    Stacy Lutz Davidson, Controller/Assistant Treasurer

    Portions of text in the category and subcategory descriptions of this document are used with permission from the AASHE STARS® 2.0 Technical Manual