Wesleyan has made a number of institutional changes to promote social and environmental sustainability, especially in the areas of climate change, institutional structures, and creation of a student-managed Green Fund. Many of these changes have been implemented through collaborations with university resources and students, such as SAGES (Sustainability Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship)the Committee for Investment Responsibility (CIR), and The Office for Equity & Inclusion.

The initiatives below show what we plan to do via our 2016-2021 Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) and what we have already accomplished. See pages 9-15 in the SAP for more details.

What We're Working On

  • Sustainability Resources
    1. Provide students with resources to promote effective sustainable change - in development
    2. Develop ways to engage with the Middletown and larger community on sustainability - ongoing, creation of student Sustainable Middletown internship
    3. Establish student sustainability project support system - in development
    4. Recruit new SAGES members - ongoing
    5. Increase involvement of SAGES members - ongoing
    6. Increase knowledge and skills of SAGES members - ongoing
    7. Wesleyan recognizes the commitment of SAGES members - complete
    8. Increase number and diversity of viable applications to the Green Fund - ongoing
    9. Consolidate grant and funding opportunities into a centralized location - complete
    10. Develop a list of potential projects for fundraising opportunities - ongoing 
  • Institutional Support
    1. Involve the Sustainability Office and Office of Equity & Inclusion in the next Strategic Planning process - complete; Beyond 2020 Sustainability Addendum released 2019
    2. Involve the Sustainability Office and Office of Equity & Inclusion in the next Master Planning process - completed 2016 with Sasaki pre-planning process; sustainability not one of final principles
    3. Evaluate investment manager candidates with respect to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues - complete
    4. Update the Sustainability Action Plan with extensive community involvement - began Fall 2019, will accelerate in Fall 2020
  • Evaluation and Publicity
    1. Publish and advertise the first sustainability progress report - complete
    2. Continue to submit Usdan food waste weights to EPA Food Recovery Challenge - complete, due each March
    3. Complete ACUPCC progress reports - complete, due each May
    4. Continue to complete STARS evaluations - completed December 2019

What We've Done

  • Sustainability Resources
    1. The Wesleyan Sustainability Office, established in 2012, promotes inclusive and equitable environmental sustainability among students, faculty, staff, and the community. It strives to develop a diverse shared understanding of the short and long-term effects of Wesleyan on people and the planet. It catalyzes and advocates for new and existing programs and dialogues to create an empowered community that models individual and collective environmental and social responsibility and effects meaningful sustainable change. The Office's mission statement can be found here
    2. SAGES (Sustainability Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship) is a group of over 50 faculty, staff, and student volunteers who discuss and take action on sustainability issues, ideas, and projects. 
    3. The Wesleyan Green Fund is a student-run fund that manages approximately $85,000 per academic year, and has funded 40 different sustainable initiatives from students, faculty, and staff
    4. Committee for Investment Responsibility (CIR) is an all student advisory committed that seeks to represent and empower the Wesleyan community in fulfilling Wesleyan’s shareholder responsibilities.
    5. The Office of Equity & Inclusion provides leadership and accountability to resolve systemic inequities for all members of the Wesleyan community through a metrics-based approach to research, education, and service, by promoting a healthy, thriving campus climate and a community of excellence.
    6. A user-friendly Green Fund website was created explaining the application and funding process. 
  • Institutional Support
    1. Wesleyan has completed three STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System) evaluations - the first in 2013, the second in 2016, and third in 2019 to measure and track its environmental, social, and economic sustainability progress in areas of academics, engagement, planning, and operations.  
    2. In 2007, President Michael S. Roth enthusiastically signed the Campus Leadership Carbon Commitment (previously the American College and University Presidents' Carbon Commitment), which committed Wesleyan to carbon neutrality by 2050.  Wesleyan has recorded its annual carbon emissions since 2008 and reduced emissions about 15 percent from 2008 levels.
    3. Wesleyan is committed to meeting 100 percent of student financial need.  Students from families earning less than $60,000 annually are offered a loan-free financial aid package.  To keep Wesleyan affordable, tuition increases are capped based on inflation.  A three-year option reduces the cost of a Wesleyan education by 20 percent.
    4. Starting in 2015, staff performance reviews include sustainability as a core competency, evaluating employees on their demonstration of knowledge and application of sustainable practices, including waste minimization and energy conservation.
    5. The Wesleyan retirement benefit offers investments in TIAA and Fidelity, both of which offer socially responsible investment options as well as the ability to choose investments outside of Wesleyan-selected investments. 
    6. Social and environmental sustainability were a part of the pre-planning process for Wesleyan’s next strategic plan, led by Sasaki Associates and Eastley + Partners.  
    7. In 2014, Wesleyan University and Second Nature collaborated to create a map of the most recently reported greenhouse gas emissions data from colleges and universities participating in the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The map was conceptualized by Professor Mary Alice Haddad and built by Harvard University's Center for Geographic Analysis.
  • Evaluation and Publicity
    1. A plan for SAP implementation was established, including quantification methods, metrics, timing, and format for an annual sustainability report.
    2. An annual sustainability progress report was created.
    3. Wesleyan submitted greenhouse gas reports to the Climate Leadership Campus Carbon Commitment in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
    4. Wesleyan continues to complete AASHE's STARS Evaluations and to publicize our ratings


Jennifer Kleindienst, Sustainability Director
(860) 685-3242