Engagement Initiatives

Through events, Earth Month, Green Office Certification program, and other programming, signage, media coverage, and fostering sustainability leadership, Wesleyan strives to expand sustainability knowledge and skills and integrate sustainability into the campus culture and the residential experience, as well as in the Middletown community. Wesleyan has already made strides in engaging the campus community through student internships, events, and leadership opportunities. 

The initiatives below show our strategies derived from our 2016-2021 Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) and what we have already accomplished. See pages 16-19 in the SAP for more details.

Jennifer Kleindienst, Sustainability Director
(860) 685-3242

What We're Working On

  • Student and Employee Engagement
    1. Include a statement of Wesleyan’s priority of sustainability in job postings 
    2. Install new sustainability initiatives signage 
    3. Build connections between students working on social justice and environmental issues
    4. Publicize Wesleyan’s STARS ratings and reports and make them accessible 
    5. Feature sustainability topics in campus and external print, digital, and social media 
    6. Integrate the Eco Facilitators program and Residential Life 
    7. Expand Green Team 
    8. Incorporate sustainability into Wesleyan Student Assembly Student Budgetary Committee (SBC) funding awards 
    9. Conduct annual in-service workshops for Residential Life student staff 
    10. Develop and pilot sustainability workshops and trainings for students, faculty, and staff 
    11. Integrate sustainability, equity, and inclusion into First Year Matters 
    12. Establish a series of annual interactive programs
    13. Connect all sustainability-related student groups with faculty or staff members
    14. Investigate methods of assessing sustainability literacy

What We've Done

  • Campus Events
    1. Develop and pilot a basic Green Office Certification Program to administrative offices 
    2. Since 2013, Wesleyan has held Earth Month during April, with a variety of events led by students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members.  
    3. For several decades, Wesleyan has organized an annual celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The 2016 theme was environmental justice, with speaker Dr. Dorceta Taylor.
  • Student Engagement
    1. Student interns work for the Sustainability Office focusing on environmental sustainability issues and their intersection with equity and inclusion:
      • 2 Sustainability Interns manage energy conservation and the Waste Not collection/sale, as well as other sustainability-related engagement programs and events.
      • 3 Composting Interns manage the residential composting programs and dining hall food waste reduction.
      • 14 Eco Facilitators serve as peer advisors who are paired with first-year dormitories and learn learn how to effectively encourage sustainable lifestyles.  
      • Eco Facilitators Coordinators manage the EFs program.
    2. Student interns in other offices work specifically on issues of equity and inclusion:
      • 1 Dwight Green ’70 Memorial Intern coordinates efforts to facilitate dialogue, respect, and community among students from diverse backgrounds.
      • 1 Queer Community Intern works with the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development to help maintain the Queer Resource Center, a student-run office, library, and meeting space.  
      • 2 Student of Color Interns provide peer assistance, advocacy, and support to multi-cultural and ethnic student organizations on issues of social justice and the intersections of identities. 
    3. In 2015, the Wesleyan Student Assembly spearheaded constitutional changes to make the WSA more transparent, accessible and inclusive.  The new Student Life Cluster combines the previously separate Sustainability, Finance, and Facilities Committee and Student Affairs Committee.  An  Environmental Sustainability Committee within Student Life will include liaisons to the Dining Committee, Sustainability Task Force, Sustainability Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship, Major Maintenance Committee and Transportation Committee.
    4. The Sustainability Office publishes a sustainability bookmark, dorm room tips, heating tips, and recycling information for incoming students. New student packing lists have information on sustainable products and the Waste Not tag sale.
    5. Each year during orientation, first-year students engage in multidisciplinary discussions about a central theme and participate in a Common Moment, in which the arts are used to catalyze and embody the understanding of themes such as environmental justice, water, global climate change, or hunger.  
    6. Each year, Residential Life student staff participate in a 12-15 hour social justice training program that explores identity, inclusion and allyship.
    7. There are over 20 sustainability-related student groups focusing on farming, food and food justice, waste reduction, divestment, biking, outdoor adventure, climate change, and sustainable landscaping.  In addition, over 40 student groups are devoted to ethnic, religious, disability, and gender identity.  
    8. Residential Life has several student residences dedicated to students interested in different aspects of sustainability.
    9. In 2013 and 2014, Wesleyan ran three JouleBug competitions for students.  JouleBug is a IT company aimed at using social networking technology to help make it fun and easy to develop a culture of sustainability.


  • Employee Engagement
    1. Since 2014, the Green Team, a group of administrative assistants and other staff members, have focused on improving the sustainability of campus offices by purchasing sustainably, reducing energy consumption, reducing waste, and fostering a culture of sustainability in their departments.
    2. Administrators and Faculty of Color Alliance is a volunteer organization that provides fellowship and support to all students, faculty, and staff, paying particular attention to the needs of the people of color in the community.
    3. The Women at Wesleyan initiative actively engages faculty and staff in education, networking and mentoring processes leading to enhanced awareness, empowerment, and transformation of women.
Jennifer Kleindienst, Sustainability Director
(860) 685-3242