Civic Engagement, Sustainability, & Environmental Justice

Wesleyan's Sustainability Office is part of the Allbritton Center, Wesleyan's home for civic engagement on campus.  Allbritton's work focuses on three areas: Sustainability and Environmental Justice, Education and Youth Development, and Reimagining Justice.  Learn more about how to get involved in the Middletown community and beyond in sustainability and environmental justice work below.

Sustainable Middletown Initiatives

Since 2017, the City of Middletown has participated in the statewide Sustainable CT initiative; since 2018, a Wesleyan Sustainable Middletown Intern has collaborated with the City's volunteer-led Sustainable Middletown team and City employees to expand and enhance City-wide sustainability efforts.
  • Participate in Local Government

    The Middletown Government Participation Guide was developed in collaboration between the Wesleyan Sustainability Office and the Middletown Sustainability Team with the goal of demystifying the process of getting involved in local government. It helps Wesleyan students and the broader Middletown community to figure out where to start, how to participate in meetings, and how to sustain long-term involvement. 

    The Guide was first conceived to address the misconceptions or gaps in information that keep people from participating in local government, with particular concern to those disadvantaged by that lack of information.  Since work on it began in Winter 2020, it has undergone a rigorous revision process with input from Middletown residents, City staff, and Wesleyan's Jewett Center Community Partnerships. 

    The Guide was last updated in November 2021.

  • Add to the Sustainability Course Project Library

    The Sustainable Middletown Team and Intern have facilitated collaborations between Wesleyan professors and individuals in Middletown on civic engagement projects broadly related to sustainability and environmental justice. By integrating Middletown-focused projects into classes, Wesleyan students become more engaged with their community and simultaneously support initiatives that may otherwise lack the necessary resources to be completed.

    To this end, the Sustainability Office has created a project library to help Middletown residents identify Wesleyan professors or specific classes that share a focus with a project in Middletown and for Wesleyan professors can also note their interest in collaborations, and select projects that best fit their courses. 

    Submit a project idea to the library!

    Past projects include:

    • GIS solar panel mapping: As part of the course E&ES 280: Introduction to GIS (Fall 2020), students mapped ideal locations for city-owned solar panels in GIS.
      Course taught by Kim Diver, Associate Professor of the Practice in Earth and Environmental Sciences and Board Member of the Middlesex Land Trust.
      Community partner: Michael Harris, Energy Coordinator, City of Middletown
    • Mobile Solar Generator: As part of the course IDEAS 170: Introduction to Design and Engineering (Fall 2019), students designed and built a solar-powered roving generator, a sustainable alternative to non-renewable generators. 
      Course taught by Greg Voth, Professor of Physics, and Daniel Moller, Assistant Professor of the Practice in Integrative Sciences
      Community partner: Jen Kleindienst, Wesleyan Sustainability Director and Chair of Clean Energy Task Force
    • POCD Input: As part of the course ENVS 197: Introduction to Environmental Studies (Spring 2019), students reviewed Middletown’s draft 2020 Plan of Conservation & Development (POCD) and made recommendations in several areas relating to sustainability.
      Course taught by Rosemary Ostfeld, Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
      Community partners: Stephen Devoto, Professor of Biology, Wesleyan University and Chair, Middletown Planning & Zoning Commission; Joseph Samolis, Director of Planning, Conservation, & Development, City of Middletown

Allbritton Center Opportunities

The Allbritton Center provides many opportunities for students to engage with the community, reflect and integrate their experiences into their coursework, and develop their social entrepreneurial skills.

Student Groups

Several Wesleyan student groups engage with the Middletown community on sustainability and environmental justice issues, including Bread Salvage, Food Rescue, GRO Dreamville, Habitat for Humanity, Long Lane Farm, Sunrise Wesleyan, WesCFPA, and WesNEAT.