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Vassar EcoLeaders

Vassar Sustainability trains a corps of EcoLeaders to take meaningful action in their residential spaces while learning valuable change-making skills.

As part of the program, EcoLeaders will be offered leadership development training, education about and involvement in Vassar’s operations, and a programming budget for implementation of a project of their choice. The year long program will include a field trip, networking, and conclude with a thank you dinner for their dedication to making Vassar more sustainable.

Vassar Sustainability defines ‘sustainability’ for this initiative and its other programs on campus as focusing on the interconnectedness of ecological, economic and social concerns to create a better future for all. For EcoLeaders this will play out in organizing a program, like a study break, that addresses sustainability directly, helping with outreach for Vassar Sustainability events, and in managing their own semester long project.

Furthermore, because a central tenet of sustainability is collaboration, EcoLeaders will have the opportunity to work closely with and learn from each other and the Sustainability Interns on issues and projects.

The Role

EcoLeaders will act as sustainability representatives of their respective living spaces, and aim to accomplish one or more of the following:

  • Support the creation of more sustainable spaces (ex: Monitoring, maintaining and/or creating signage, consulting on zero-waste events)
  • Act as a resource for students on sustainability knowledge (ex: Having Vassar specific statistics on sustainability on hand)
  • Development and implementation of a sustainability project (ex: Waste reduction, a blog series, community survey, energy conservation, water use, etc.)
  • Development and implementation of a study break (ex: a tap water taste test, garbage bin waste audit, TED Talk discussion)
  • Foster collaborative relationships with custodial staff and residential house leaders (ex: attending specific house team meetings to speak about dorm-specific sustainability initiatives, promoting discourse between staff and students on sustainability)

The Time Commitment

EcoLeaders will be expected to devote 1-2 hours a week to the program. This will include attending an introductory retreat and regularly scheduled large and small group meetings with other the EcoLeaders and Sustainability Interns, in which there will be updates, reading discussions, and trainings.

Vassar Sustainability’s Commitment

EcoLeaders will work closely with the College Sustainability Coordinator and Sustainability Interns over the course of the semester. Together we are all seeking to create a more sustainable Vassar and so strive to operate via consensus and ‘safe space’ principles. At times our visions of what a more sustainable Vassar looks like may differ, but regardless we commit to actively listening, addressing concerns and working collaboratively on solutions.

Email sustainability@vassar.edu to get involved!