The College considers sustainability as a factor in all institutional decisions.

You can see Wellesley's focus on sustainability in trayless dining at The Lulu, in ongoing transition to more efficient outdoor lighting, in fairly traded coffee at all dining venues, in installation of electric car chargers, or in the replacement of paved parking lots with viable low-maintenance landscapes over the last several years, as in Alumnae Valley (above). 

You probably can't see it, but still benefit from a shift to integrated pest management and removal of invasive plant species, more energy-efficient heating and cooling systems being installed, and more local vendors being used to supply College needs.

Green on Campus

Wellesley understands planning for the long haul, and leads by example, just as its students do. The long-term remediation of Lake Waban and the surrounding wetlands, badly polluted by a paint factory operating on its shores more than 100 years ago, has yielded an inviting waterfront to say nothing of a healthier habitat for turtles, birds, fish, and humans. 

Student-led initiatives in recent years have included a bike-share program to allow for getting around Wellesley without fossil fuels; the annual Sustainable Move-Out, an effort to reduce the waste stream by programmatically donating clothing and household goods discarded by students leaving campus; a social recycling platform called Green Bean; and in concert with residential life staff, creation of a green living coop for a housing option dedicated to sustainability.

Sustainability is not an isolated initiative charged to one division, but woven into the fabric of campus life, and evidenced across innumberable divisions and departments. Examples include:

One-time events sponsored by organizations such as the Wellesley College Economics Student Association sponsored a visit by Kenyan social entrepreneur Teddy Warria to discuss sustainable development. The 2010 Communicating Science Symposium keynote speaker was "father of global warming" James Hansen. The Wellesley College Center for the Environment and Project Handprint produced a series of symposia called The Future of Food, free and open to the public.

Beyond Campus

Students bring their own commitment to sustainability to Wellesley, sharpen it, and take it back out to the world again.

Ana Lucía Medrano Fernández '13, for example, applied for and received funding for her project to bring clean energy to the rural poor of Guatemala. The funding came from The Kathryn Wasserman Davis 100 Projects for Peace program. (Davis, a class of 1928 graduate, established the program on her 100th birthday!)

Three Wellesley students have won GRO Fellowships from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which provide $50,000 and research opportunities to 40 promising American students who are interested in pursuing careers in environmental studies.

Alumnae who have thought and acted on behalf of the environment over the decades include:

  • Catlin Powers '09, sustainability entrepreneur
  • Claire Schlemme '06, local food entrepreneur
  • Dorrie Pizzella '80, environmental administrator
  • Wendy Paulson '69, birder, conservationist, and educator
  • Eva Sommaripa '63, organic farmer and champion of sustainable living
  • Elizabeth Barlow Rogers '57, urban planner
  • Helen Hays '53, ornithologist and environmentalist
  • Kathryn W. Davis '28, philanthropist and environmentalist
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas 1912, conservationist and naturalist

Happening Now

For more information about current initiatives, please visit the Office of Sustainability website.