Greening Wellesley

“Wellesley College considers environmental sustainability to be an important component of its core mission. As part of this commitment, the college will consider sustainability as a factor in all institutional decisions. Members of the Wellesley community have individual and collective responsibility for environmental stewardship.”
                                                                                             -Adopted April 2007 by President Diana Walsh

Wellesley as an institution is becoming more environmentally conscious, with the help of these organizations and offices:

The Office of Sustainability. The Office of Sustainability works on initiatives including a Bike Share Program and a Waste Reduction Program. The Office is also responsible for an annual Sustainable Move in/Move out initiative, which allows students to donate used clothing and household items as they move out of their dorms. These items are then sold to incoming students each fall as they return to campus, with proceeds benefitting sustainable programs at Wellesley.

Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability The Sustainability Committee consists of administrative, faculty, staff, and student representatives working to implement greener institutional policies at Wellesley.  Its main functions are to 

  • Advise the President on policies, priorities, and significant issues relating to environmental sustainability at the College.
  • Develop policies and priorities regarding how environmental sustainability should be factored into College operations and decisions.
  • Gather opinions from the College community on issues related to environmental sustainability, including conducting surveys as needed.
  • Serve as a consultative body regarding relevant college initiatives.
  • Work in conjunction with ERD and CCAP in supporting educational and curricular initiatives and share data regarding environment
  • sustainability with the college community.
  • Make recommendations to Academic Council about policies relating to environmental sustainability.

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety: This office works with individuals and departments to ensure that Wellesley complies with all applicable environmental, health, and safety regulations and standards. The EHS office also provides information on environmental conditions on campus, such as the quality of the campus water supply.

Facilities Management Department: These are the folks that really make the campus run – they are responsible for custodial services, maintenance, grounds, motor pool, and they run the college’s highly efficient co-generation power plant.

WEED: Wellesley Energy & Environmental Defense (WEED) is a student organization that works to raise environmental awareness on campus and pursue environmental change in the broader world community. Among its activities, WEED sponsors lectures and talks pertaining to environmental issues, engages in environmental activism both on- and off-campus, and works with the House Presidents' Council to oversee the Eco-Rep program in the residence halls.

Wellesley College Responsible Endowment Initiative: This is a group of 8 or so students who are working to increase the transparency in Wellesley's proxy voting process and investments. Transparency, at least in direct holdings, is something many similar colleges have been able to achieve, and will encourage awareness and involvement around shareholder responsibility and a socially just and green investment strategy.

Students have also contributed to various research projects relating to environmental issues on campus. Specifically, the capstone ES course, ES 300, is generally focused on a current environmental issue at Wellesley. Past projects have included an assessment of Wellesley's greenhouse gas emissions and a comprehensive analysis of a green sports center renovation.