• Break Free From Plastic Campus Pledge

    College of the Atlantic’s All College Meeting (ACM) voted to endorse the P.L.A.N. #BreakFreeFromPlastic Pledge on April 10, 2019. President Darron Collins signed the pledge in May 2019, making COA the first college in the US to commit to the Break Free From Plastic Pledge.  


    1. Establishing a purchasing policy which, by 2025, eliminates campus and campus food vendor procurement of all non-essential, non-compostable, single-use disposable plastics. This includes restrictions on:
    • Single-use plastic utensils
    • Single-use plastic straws* & stirrers
    • Single-use plastic food serviceware (cups, plates, bowls, trays, sauce dishes, lids, etc)
    • Single-use plastic clamshells & to-go containers
    • All polystyrene (Styrofoam™ and similar) food service products
    • Single-use plastic-lined cups and bowls (coffee cups, soup bowls, snack boats, etc)
    • Single-use plastic-wrapped condiments, sauces, and seasonings (butter, jelly, peanut butter, creamers, sugars, salt, pepper, etc)
    • Individually-packaged items with bulk alternatives (napkins, oyster crackers, individually wrapped fresh baked goods, mints, toothpicks, etc)
    • Single-use hot beverage packets unnecessarily packaged in plastic (K-Cups, plastic-wrapped tea bags, etc)
    • Plastic shopping bags

    Note: The following “solutions” are not acceptable under this pledge:

    • Incineration (“waste-to-energy”) as a “recycling” option
    • Food-contaminated, “recyclable” single-use plastics (Plastic that has come into contact with food is typically no longer recyclable, regardless of the original plastic material, e.g. plastic clamshells)
    • “Biodegradable” plastic options that are not certified compostable**

    * Accessibility should be at the forefront of food-service vendors’ efforts when working towards restricting single-use disposable plastic. Implemented policies should restrict disposable products while accommodating all users of the system, including people who have different abilities, dietary restrictions, financial limitations, or other needs. A variety of voices should be included at the decision-making table to consider diverse needs and limitations. In no situation should a “ban” on a plastic item, such as plastic straws, supercede the needs of individuals.

    ** “All compostable products should be certified as conforming to ASTM or other international standards in order to prevent greenwashing, and to ensure that the products do not create problems for composters or the environment. Meeting the ASTM standards (D6400 or D6868) requires individual ingredients to be tested for biodegradability (consumed by microorganism), and the finished product to disintegrate (physically break down during composting), as well as be tested for plant toxicity and heavy metals. Certification in the U.S. is provided by BPI, The Biodegradable Products Institute.” https://compostingcouncil.org/compostable-products-task-force/2. 

    1. Due to the present lack of viable alternatives, and other barriers to removal, the following single-use plastic items are presently excluded from the above restrictions. However, College of the Atlantic commits to keeping an eye towards plastic-free alternatives in future procurement decisions and policies regarding these items:
    • Pre-packaged plastic-wrapped retail items (chip bags, granola bar wrappers, candy bar wrappers, water/soda bottles, toiletries, etc)***
    • Plastic trash and recycling bags
    • Plastic wrap for use during food prep (this does not refer to individually wrapped food items, as noted above)
    • Plastic and polystyrene (Styrofoam™) packaging from incoming orders
    • Single-use plastics used in academic settings (e.g. lab equipment)
    • Single-use plastics necessary for health or safety purposes (e.g. medical plastics)

    *** Accessibility should be at the forefront of food-service vendors efforts when working towards restricting pre-packaged plastic-wrapped retail items. In locations where fresh, local, and/or unpackaged food or water is unavailable, food security and accessibility are paramount.  While these items are a major source of plastic waste on campus, we recognize that infrastructure shifts will need to occur to ensure that food options are still available and accessible to all before pre-packaged plastic-wrapped retail items are restricted and/or removed.

    1. Investment in education, resources, and infrastructure to assist in the Plastic-Free Campus transition. This includes:
    • Education on plastics and College of the Atlantic’s commitment to plastic-free alternatives for all incoming and current students, staff, faculty, and, if possible, on-campus contractors and community members.
    • Expanding resources and infrastructure for compost collection, institutional reuse, repair and sharing opportunities, and general waste reduction practices. Possible examples include: water bottle refill stations, bulk laundry detergent, bulk and package free snack options, reusable menstrual product options, and reusable to-go container programs.  
    • Adjusting procurement guidelines to encourage investment in durable and useful products across campus departments. This also applies to promotional and giveaway items.

  • Campus Environmental Initiative

    In the Fall of 1996, the All College Meeting formally approved the following
    Campus Environmental Initiative as College policy. The mission of College of the Atlantic Campus Environmental Initiative is to prioritize an environmental responsibility into all policies, programs and practices. The Initiative will directly stimulate the development of projects that enhance the sustainability of both the educational and physical landscape.

    The core of the initiative is a strategic plan to be used as a reference for staff, faculty and students. The plan identifies aspects of management where resources are not environmentally and economically efficient. In such areas community members will work to implement more sustainable alternatives. The Campus Environmental Initiative aims to teach all community members about local and low-impact living and operating and to develop College of the Atlantic into a showcase of sustainability. The success of the Initiative will be evaluated periodically through environmental audits that evaluate its progress in achieving
    the following goals and commitments:

    1. College of the Atlantic is committed to instituting environmentally and socially responsible purchasing policies.
    2. College of the Atlantic is committed to reducing campus waste.
    3. College of the Atlantic is committed to the maximization of energy efficiency and to using sustainable energy sources.
    4. College of the Atlantic is committed to enhancing sustainability in land-use and building planning.
    5. College of the Atlantic is committed to encouraging low fossil-fuel transport.
    6. College of the Atlantic is committed to providing curricular opportunities of study of campus and local environmental issues.
    7. College of the Atlantic is committed to utilizing regional and organic food sources.
    8. College of the Atlantic is committed to environmentally and socially responsible development and investment.
    9. College of the Atlantic is committed to green public outreach.
    10. College of the Atlantic is committed to enabling access of tools for sustainability.
    11. College of the Atlantic is committed to a physical infrastructure, institutional practices and personal behaviors that will foster public health.

    (Passed 1996)

  • COA Landscape Policy

    Approved by the All College Meeting May 25, 2022


    As COA continues to grow in terms of students, staff, and faculty, we intensify the use of the campus grounds. We may be approaching the point where campus life centers only on humans and we fail to extend our sphere of care to the other animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria that we depend upon and with whom we share our campus.

    Our campus is a “living laboratory” and should be managed to better provide experiential learning. We have the responsibility to improve accessibility to natural resources for those with mobility or other issues that make it difficult to access native flora and fauna off campus. Many of our students are coming to COA from areas that have undergone significant urbanization and/or the privatization of nature. Our campus environment provides essential learning opportunities for all students, but particularly for those who are underserved in this regard. Furthermore, our landscape and the built environment should be welcoming to all who come here.

    In addition, land use is an essential aspect of global climate impacts, and can have either a positive or negative influence on the carbon emissions from campus. All landscape use involves tradeoffs and a complex balancing of competing interests. Therefore, a one-size fits all approach of a fixed landscape use policy will not serve our needs. This policy proposes a prioritizing tool and a decision-making process for current and future uses of the campus landscape. It is also meant to be forward-looking and not simply reactive to proposed development on the campus. The goal of this policy is to ensure the thoughtful stewardship of the primary Bar Harbor campus. A similar approach might be developed for COA’s farms, the Cox Protectorate, the islands, and Northwoods Ways in the future.

    COA Landscape Policy and Decision-making Framework

    I. The Landscape sub-committee of CPBC will oversee the development of a campus landscape database. To this end it will coordinate efforts to:

    A. Complete a survey and mapping of important biological landscape resources on campus consisting of:

    i. seasonal data collection along permanent transects set up across campus.

    ii. Organization and management of arboretum data.

    iii. Management of data collected by students, faculty and staff via the mobile app, iNaturalist.

    These surveys would be used to assess building sites prior to the decision to build. These surveys should be updated on an ongoing basis and include data from the phenology database.

    B. Compile a document that contains all of the specific landscape-related legal restrictions for the campus. These would include the special land-use provisions pertaining to campus property along Route 3, the Shoreland Zone along the ocean and streams, consent agreements, set-backs adjacent to private abutters, and general Land Use provisions applicable to the campus such as lot coverage, etc.

    i. Ensure that the surveys and applicable laws are publicly available to all COA community members in an easy to locate format.


    II. Decision-making framework for the siting of future buildings, structures, and other landscape development such as roads, paths, and parking.

    Whenever any entity proposes to site a building, structure, road, or major path on the campus, the following steps will be followed:

    A. The acting entity must notify and consult with the Campus Planning and Building Committee on the siting determination, including at least two possible siting options, with preference given to modifying existing structures or using the footprint of existing structures.

    B. The acting entity must complete an ecological assessment prior to siting the buildings, structures, permanent installations, roads, and impermeable paths. This assessment should include habitat analysis and a list of woody and herbaceous plants, fungi, birds, insects, amphibians and other animals for each proposed site as listed in i. – iii. above. The ecological assessment should also include accounting of carbon sequestration in the soil and standing biomass on the site.

    C. Upon completion of the ecological assessment, the college must utilize ecological criteria to prioritize siting options. These criteria will include such factors as connectivity, infiltration, biodiversity, and management intensity.

    D. Impacts on increased labor needed for future site management must be part of the planning assessment for new construction and, ideally, should be accounted for in the development of the construction budget.

    E. Final siting decisions will be made in consultation with the Landscape Subcommittee of CPBC, faculty who utilize the campus in their teaching, head gardener, and the lead grounds person. CPBC will be responsible for determining that the guidelines of this policy have been followed and will then record its final siting decision in committee minutes.

    F. Failure to assess potential siting decisions with careful application of the above steps will render the siting decision void and vulnerable to timely challenge by any community member at ACM.


    III. Landscape guidelines for construction

    A. CPBC will ensure that specific landscape plans for new buildings will be developed prior to breaking ground on the building. These plans should increase our accessibility goals by connecting new construction with the existing surrounding landscape.

    B. CPBC will ensure that contractor agreements include plans to reduce and remediate disturbance as outlined herein and elsewhere in campus policies.

    C. Prior to breaking ground on the new building, dedicated funds will be set aside for landscape remediation, and new landscape installation and management.

    D. Any trees or shrubs removed for the construction of a new building will be replaced pursuant to the tree and shrub replacement policy ensuring that these plants will replaced like-for-like – unless the landscape subcommittee determines that this is unwarranted under the circumstances or if the removed plant is an invasive species such as Norway maples. In these cases, an alternative desirable replacement will be planted. At the request of CPBC, diversity of species on campus may be enhanced by substituting a desired species for a tree or shrub that is being removed.

  • Containerized Water Policy

    The purpose of this policy is to further College of the Atlantic’s demonstrated commitment to general environmental sustainability, including responsible purchasing practices, reduction of campus waste, and reduction of energy and fossil fuel use, as outlined in Articles I, II, III and V of the Campus Environmental Initiative.

    Because the Board of Trustees has discontinued its use of bottled water,

    Because water containers contribute to waste and the depletion of natural resources through the containerization and transportation process,

    Because there is controversy over the sustainability of the commodification of a resource as essential to existence as water,

    And acknowledging that we have access to safe, potable drinking water at College of the Atlantic,

    Be it resolved that College of the Atlantic will not buy, sell, accept or distribute containerized water.


    1. The term “College of the Atlantic” includes all employees or volunteers of the college while they are operating for or in conjunction with the College as an institution on college property or at college events.
    2. Containerized water includes bottles, jugs, cartons, and any other form of commercially packaged water intended for single-use.
    3. Sparkling water is not included in this policy. However, this policy discourages the purchasing of sparkling water as a substitute for containerized water.


    College of the Atlantic shall not purchase, accept gifts of, sell, or distribute containerized water on college property or at college events. At events where the college serves other beverages (soda, juice, coffee, etc.) it will provide equal opportunities for people to drink tap water.

    The College may act contrary to this policy in the case of a tap water quality or water access emergency, as declared by the Director of Public Safety, or in the case of a pandemic.

    (Passed 2010)

  • Discarded Resources and Material Management

    Approved by the All College Meeting on May 4, 2022

    1. Introduction

    College of the Atlantic (COA) recognizes human activities have altered Earth’s systems and acknowledges that the effect of our resource consumption on the planet is greater than we can sustain. In 2015, the European Environmental Agency pointed out that humans’ “use of material resources has increased ten-fold since 1900 and is set to double again by 2030” (European Environment Agency. (2015). Waste Prevention In Europe - The Status In 2014. Retrieved from http://bookshop.europa.eu/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/EU-Bookshop-Site/en_GB/- /EUR/ViewPublication-Start?PublicationKey=THAL15006) and that the “escalating demand may jeopardize access to some essential resources and cause environmental harm.” The problem of overconsumption and uneven distribution of resources is fundamentally rooted in the increase of resource wastage and pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 report shows that 42% of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions are a result of our unsustainable production, consumption, and disposal of resources and is therefore a core issue of the 21st century (“Sustainable Materials Management.” (2012): n. pag. Sustainable Material Management: The Road Ahead. US EPA, 2009.Retrieved from http://pdf.wri.org/weight_of_nations.pdf, accessed Jan 2020).

    COA’s educational philosophy is human ecology: a field that seeks to “understand and improve upon the complexities that connect human beings to their built, social, and natural environments” (https://www.coa.edu/about/administration/president/, accessed Jan 2020). In this vein, COA has carried out sustainability policies and initiatives to reduce wastage and align the school’s practices with its educational philosophy. These efforts have involved, but are not limited to, a zero waste graduation in 2005, a non-packaged water policy, the Earth Charter, and the Break Free from Plastic pledge. However, as of 2022, COA has a long way to go to become zero waste, as defined in the Principles and Definitions section of this policy.

    COA recognizes its roles and responsibilities as a member of the local community, the state of Maine, and the world. Chief among those responsibilities is environmental and social stewardship. The College acknowledges the need to discard resources in order to function, but at the same time, recognizes that those materials should not be wasted, but recovered. The College will also take responsibility to reduce its overall resource consumption. This document sets out COA’s vision and guiding principles in regard to Material Management; the end goal is minimizing discarded materials produced by the operations, maintenance, and daily activities of the College.


    2. Aim of Policy

    The aim of this policy is to support and improve College of the Atlantic’s discarded resources and material management, which affects all campus operations and COA-sponsored events. It will address the College’s resource consumption and disposal by guiding the community in improving its reduction and diversion rates of discarded resources.

    COA is committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship, and will implement sound Material Management and Zero Waste practices through resource conservation, reduced resource consumption, environmentally and socially responsible purchasing, and discarded resource diversion practices and opportunities in accordance with a Zero Waste framework and the College’s observed needs.


    3. Principles and Definitions

    Zero Waste is defined by the Zero Waste Alliance (2020) as a goal for social, environmental, and economic justice.

    “Zero Waste: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharge to land, water, or air that threatens the environment or human health.” (Zero Waste Definition. Zero Waste Alliance. Retrieved from http://zwia.org/zero-waste-definition/, accessed March 2020.)

    COA’s twelve Zero Waste principles are: reduce, reuse, repair, redesign, repurpose, replenish, research, reach-out, refuse, reconsider, remember, and recycle (The 12Rs are inspired by the 9Rs developed by Chintan, Environmental Action and Research Group. The prefix “re-” implies involved and continued action, and emphasizes COA’s position as a dynamic institution which has the power to engage with the world. These principles will guide the COA community in recognizing and reconsidering our consumption and disposal of resources as interactions with the world around us, and changing our actions accordingly.

    “Waste” is a word that carries associations of loss, excess, disposability, and valuelessness. In this policy, waste is not used to describe the physical resources discarded on campus, but as a verb. This is similar to the Zero Waste Movement’s use of the term “to waste”: to unnecessarily discard a resource so that its value is not realized. All materials that are discarded on campus are defined as Discarded Resources–both divertible materials, such as redeemable bottles and apple cores, and currently non-divertible materials, such as petroleum- based dental floss.

    For the purpose of this policy document, “Discarded Resource Management” and “Material Management” will refer to the procedures and practices designed to achieve a reduction in resource consumption and wastage, an increase in resource reuse, and a mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Material Management (MM) is a term that attempts to capture the full lifecycle of materials from raw resources to products, to end disposal. Discarded Resource Management (DRM) is a term specific for the management of disposed materials, and combines all forms of reduction, reuse, and diversion. Together, MM and DRM, establish a holistic approach to resource production, consumption, and disposal.

    DRM, establish a holistic approach to resource production, consumption, and disposal.


    4. Scope

    This policy applies to all College activities, infrastructure, and operations. This includes College-owned facilities and land, as well as College-sponsored activities throughout the year. The College has limited control of what individuals bring onto campus or what faculty, staff, and students consume off-campus, but will inform and promote resource stewardship and Zero Waste principles. Off-campus College activities will follow Zero Waste principles, but the College also acknowledges its interconnectedness to the global economy and local communities and recognizes the limits of local infrastructure and customs.


    5. Goal

    This policy originally set a goal of 90% diversion of discarded materials by 2025 based on the weight of the College’s discarded resources in 2015. The interim goal is 70% diversion by 2020, with additional efforts to reach 100% diversion beyond 2025 as further commitment, infrastructure, and knowledge advance.

    In the triennial review of this policy, COA recognizes that the diversion metric does not measure reduction in resource consumption and disposal, and rather incentivises recycling and composting. Therefore, we set an additional goal: 20% reduction of the weight of discarded materials by 2025 based on the College’s baseline data in 2015, and adjusted for community expansion.


    6. Action

    College of the Atlantic commits to taking the following steps in pursuit of 20% reduction of the weight of discarded materials and diverting 90% of campus-associated discarded materials from landfill and incineration by 2025 :

    • Follow the Zero Waste business principles developed by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZW Business Principles. Zero Waste International Alliance. http://zwia.org/standards/zw-business- principles/, accessed March 2020).
    • Establish a Zero Waste culture on campus by integrating it into the curriculum and other activities on campus, so members of the campus community will leave as Zero Waste leaders.

    6.1. Infrastructure:

    While needs vary among buildings and facilities, this policy shall be applied, at the minimum, in the following ways to new and existing buildings:

    • Development of infrastructure will be grounded in Material Management and Zero Waste principles.
    • COA’s outdoor campus will remain a carry-in-carry-out landscape without any public “trash” receptacles. Access to discarded resource stations will at all times be available to guests.
    • All College-owned buildings––including recently purchased off-campus College-owned student accommodation and newly constructed buildings––must have recycling and composting receptacles, signage, and discarded resource information; no recycling and composting receptacles should be farther than the closest bathroom.
    • Within College-owned buildings, no single non-diverted “trash” receptacle may exist without accompanying composting and recycling receptacles, and signage of where to find other receptacles. Although the Municipal Review Committee contract with Fiberight would allow in theory for single-stream recycling, it is vital that the landfill, compost, and all recycling receptacles remain separate in order to maintain the Zero Waste principles of this institution. The educational value of multi-stream recycling is immense: separating materials requires intentionality, whilst creating a habit of recycling in the COA community. Most importantly, multi-stream recycling maintains the standard of recycling - ensuring that which is discarded can be recycled. Keeping the discarded resource receptacles separate will help COA as an institution reach its Zero Waste goals.
    • All kitchens must have composting and recycling receptacles.
    • The campus must dedicate a space for reuse, repair, and storage of discarded resources.
    • All individual offices and dormitory bedrooms are private spaces in which the policy infrastructure does not apply.

    6.2. Management:

    Building a Zero Waste culture necessitates reduced consumption and disposal, sustainable purchasing, analyses of entire material lifecycles, encouragement of extended producer responsibility, material reuse, product repair, and disposal diversion. COA shall, at a minimum, continue at the 2016 level of discarded resource and material management efforts such as facilitating move-in and move-out support for each academic year and having compost available across campus for all community members. Each office and facility will take responsibility in developing its respective commitments to the above.

    6.3. Planning:

    A framework for discarded resource reduction and material management will be created by the Administrative Dean/Chief Financial Officer and Director of Buildings and Grounds in collaboration with staff, students, and faculty before the end of December 2022. The framework will guide the efforts of each office and facility, as well as the faculty and student body, toward implementing this policy and meeting its goals. COA’s strategic planning efforts, both the campus plan and institutional plan, must comply with the Discarded Resource and Material Management Policy. Any new building space or renovation to existing spaces must follow the Sustainable Building Policy Zero Waste specifications. Specifically, building plans must align with reduction goals and diversion rates.

    In direct response to the Zero Waste ATLAS Campus Assessment from 2020 (College of the Atlantic: Zero Waste Atlas Campus Assessment 2020. Post Landfill Action Network. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Qx0mO06KNhU9v6SFBvAjOslOTAsn8t2T/view?usp=sharing), the framework for discarded resource reduction and material management should address the following issues:

    • Paper usage;
    • Campus procurement from surplus and recycled materials;
    • E-waste collection infrastructure;
    • Electronics repair;
    • Reusable to-go container infrastructure;
    • Food recovery program;
    • Food audits to restructure purchasing (such as purchasing of gleaned produce to reduce food waste);
    • Student move-out.

    6.4. Assessment:

    COA will track its Material Management as well as progress on goals and actions laid out in this

    • Conducting a yearly audit and data collection of discarded materials, following standards of privacy and hygiene;
    • Conduct baseline audits of recently purchased off-campus College-owned student accommodation and newly constructed buildings by December 2022;
    • Making this policy, the framework, and subsequent progress reports available to the public;
    • Revising this policy every three years.

    6.5. Reporting:

    The reporting on this policy will be a collaborative effort among students, staff, and faculty, but will be under the ultimate responsibility of the College President. COA will collect and report on the weight of non-diverted and diverted discarded materials. There should be appropriate categorization of these discarded materials, such as: (1) hazardous materials, (2) building renovation debris, (3) recyclables, (4) donated materials, (5) organic materials, (6) discarded electronics, and (7) universal goods.

    The Director of Buildings and Grounds will report data relating to COA’s discarded resource and material management practices, policy, and data to the Association for the Advancement in Higher Education (AASHE) every year using the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Reporting System (STARS) or an equivalent standardized tracking tool. The Administrative Dean, Director of Buildings and Grounds, CPBC, Director of Energy Education and Management, and other staff working on sustainability issues, as appropriate, will report policy concerns and progress to CCS every year. In addition to the AASHE reporting, CCS will report every three years to ACM/Steering as part of the review of the policy, stating the progress toward Zero Waste and explaining any updates to this policy.


    7. Responsible Parties

    The president of the College is the ultimate responsible party of implementing and updating this policy with specific areas of responsibility toward staff and governance committees on campus:

    • The Administrative Dean/Chief Financial Officer is responsible for supervising the policy and reporting compliance to the COA community, as well as creating the Discarded Resource and Material Management Framework before the end of 2022 December.
    • The Director of Discarded Resources is responsible for daily operations, discarded resource management at school events, and data collection. The President will work under the supervision of the Director of Discarded Resources to conduct the annual Fall DRMM audit.
    • The Director of Discarded Resources and the Student Life Operations Manager are jointly responsible for providing information on Zero Waste procedures to community members, including annual Zero Waste Orientation for students, staff, and faculty which cover how the Material Management and Zero Waste systems work at COA.
    • Campus Committee for Sustainability (CCS) is responsible for reviewing policy and campus-wide education. In accordance with the Earth Day Policy, CCS is responsible for sponsoring an annual Earth Day information session to give an update on the status of community material management. This includes working with administrators on the development of policies related to sustainable material management, and advising, meeting with, and being a resource for individual community members and groups engaging in material management and discarded resource disposal.
    • Campus Planning and Building Committee (CPBC) is responsible for the planning and implementation of discarded resource infrastructure.
    • The Summer Conference and Events Co-ordinator and The Dean of Institutional Advancement are responsible for educating summer guests and staff about the policy’s implications on their activities on campus, as well as ensuring Zero Waste infrastructure at all summer events.
    • Student Life is responsible for informing and following this policy within student activities.
    • The Buildings and Grounds Discarded Resources Work-Study staff will play a supporting role in the fulfilment of all the aforementioned responsibilities.
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Phase 1 Strategic Plan

    The Phase 1 Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Strategic Plan was approved by the All College Meeting on May 26, 2021

    That which we pay attention to grows. –adrienne maree brown

    Background and Overview

    The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan Task Force (DEITF) was convened in the Fall of 2019 by President Darron Collins with the charge to develop a comprehensive, multi-year strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion at COA. Our task was to lay out a series of concrete actions that will help COA more effectively meet our mission through inclusive and equitable engagement with various forms of diversity within and beyond our community, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, educational background, gender, ability, sexuality, national origin, citizenship, and religion.

    The charge of our task force and the scope of this plan focus on the experiences and outcomes of people of marginalized or minoritized backgrounds and identities. In the course of DEITF’s work, we have learned of numerous inequitable, unpleasant, or alienating experiences at COA. Unfortunately, we cannot address all of the issues that fall under the broad terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Although this plan is not exhaustive in scope and content, we hope it will inspire and support equity and inclusivity in all regards.

    Although used together as the single acronym DEI, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are distinct notions. In brief, diversityrefers to the presence of variation in a group. In this plan, diversifying means increasing the number of people with marginalized or minoritized backgrounds or identities that have been historically underrepresented at COA. Inclusionrefers to the experiences of individuals within a group or organization. An inclusive community is one in which all people feel welcome, fully seen, and valued, regardless of background or identity. Equity refers to procedures and practices that allow everyone to flourish. It remedies historical and present injustices to ensure fair opportunities for all. Each of these concepts—diversity, equity, and inclusion—are complex and at times contested. More detailed and nuanced definitions of these and other terms are given in Appendix B.

    “DEI” functions not only as an acronym, but also as a broad and sometimes vague concept. We are at times uncomfortable with this broad use of DEI. By not naming power structures and systems such as racism, White supremacy, transphobia, or classism, “DEI” risks being superficial and general. Perhaps not unlike the term “sustainability,” “DEI” can be expanded to include almost everything, limiting its ability as a concept to set priorities or frame discussions. At the same time, like sustainability, DEI is a standard, widely recognized term that signifies a constellation of related values and objectives. Below we offer a vision for a future of COA. We use the imperfect phase “DEI work” as shorthand for work that helps the college to realize this vision.

    Vision for DEI at COA

    All College of the Atlantic students, staff, and faculty feel welcomed and valued, fully seen and respected, and have equal access to opportunities to grow and flourish, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, educational background, gender, ability, sexuality, national origin, citizenship, and religion.

    Working to understand and address racism, patriarchy, White supremacy, classism, colonialism, nationalism, heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, and other forms of oppression is a central and integral part of the college. COA demonstrates this commitment through its policies and practices, its curriculum, its allocation of resources, and its articulation of human ecology. The College community not only studies these phenomena, but we pay special attention to how they manifest within our college community and within ourselves and we take action to change oppressive systems. With a shared commitment across the College, the community energetically embraces this work while acknowledging its complexities.

    Why is this work urgent and important for COA?

    1. There is ongoing harm to community members that needs to stop, be remedied, and be prevented from occurring in the future.

    2. DEI work is human ecology work. The college cannot fulfill its mission “to investigate—and ultimately improve—the relationships between human beings and our social and natural communities” without attending to power relations, privilege, and forms of oppression. We need to grapple with this not just in the wider world, but in our college and in ourselves.

    3. We risk becoming an irrelevant institution if we fail to identify and address diversity, equity, and inclusion, both from institutional climate and curricular standpoints. It is imperative that we recruit and retain students, faculty, and staff who reflect the diversity of the places from which we originate and that we fully prepare students to engage with diverse ideas and experiences once they leave COA. Attention to DEI does not detract from COA’s traditional focus on the environment, ecology, and community development. Rather, DEI is essential to doing this work responsibly and effectively.

    4. Pursuing diversity, equity, and inclusion allows us to reflect individually and institutionally. DEI work is a means toward greater self-understanding.

    Why a Strategic Plan?

    The DEI strategic plan is intended to:

    1. Enumerate key strategic objectives for COA to pursue as it works to achieve the vision described above.

    2. Lay out a set of concrete immediate actions that the college community will take in order to make progress on these strategic objectives.

    3. Offer some ways to conceptualize and navigate the process of implementing these actions and realize our vision more generally.

    4. Propose some structures and processes that will help COA meet the strategic goals.

    Observations and Reflections on Tensions and Challenges

    DEI work is not easy. Based on our observations, and our experiences individually and as a task force, we offer a few reflections on how to conceptualize and navigate the work that lies ahead.

    1. Oppression, harm, and exclusion occur on multiple timescales: a racist comment happens in minutes, but it is the result of decades of taught and learned racism in an individual, which is itself the result of centuries of colonialism and White supremacy. The solutions will also need to co-exist on multiple timescales. DEI work requires both a sense of urgency and a long view.

    2. Anger, fear, confusion, sadness, joy, and other emotions are valid, healthy responses to this work. We need to respect, engage with, and honor the full range of emotional responses experienced by our community members.

    3. Different community members have different positions and experiences in relation to the various problems we are discussing. For example, what may be an abstract problem to some may be a matter of survival for others. As we discuss issues, we need to be mindful and respectful of other community members’ identities, positions, and experiences. A relatively abstract or academic discussion about a problem may be appropriate in some settings, but such a discussion might be frustrating or harmful for someone with a direct experience of that problem. We need to be sensitive and responsive to the emotions, lived experiences, and expressed needs of our community members––some of whose very sense of dignity may be invalidated by abstract or speculative discussion, depending on the context.

    4. We have observed that at times it is challenging to hold space for conversations about racism, anti-Blackness, and White supremacy: the topic of discussion often shifts away from race to, e.g., class or gender. Conversations about classism and sexism are, of course, important and needed. At the same time, we encourage the community to be intentional about focusing attention on race and racism.

    5. In conversations about diversity at COA, one often hears the remark that “Maine is so White”. This is a true statement. At roughly 95% White, Maine is and has been for many years among the most White states in the US. Nevertheless, we suggest that we use care when deploying this phrase. Commenting on the Whiteness of Maine can erase the many POC communities that are and have been present in Maine, in some cases for centuries. Asserting Maine’s Whiteness ignores indigenous populations that have lived in Maine for millenia. Moreover, the Whiteness of Maine is not an inevitability, but is the result of past genocide and present disenfranchisement. The Whiteness of Maine can be unintentionally deployed as an excuse to not devote more resources to DEI and risks being a self-defeating, self-fulfilling prophecy.

    6. Faculty, staff, and students are often stretched thin, and like almost all organizations, we have limited financial resources. But a culture of scarcity—a tendency to focus on limitations—can make it difficult to be expansive and creative when imagining futures for the college. For example, “How would we pay for this?” often functions, regardless of intent, to shut down conversations about alternative futures for the college.

    7. Our DIY ethos can lead to re-inventing wheels and may not serve us well when addressing challenges for which there are limited resources and expertise within our community.

    8. Many faculty, staff, and students resonate strongly with COA and its mission. In what ways might strong feelings of fondness, attachment, and connection be a barrier to implementing structural changes at COA at COA?


    This plan specifies seven strategic goals that will guide the college in the months and years to come. Following each goal are two lists.

    1. Immediate Actions. These items specify work that will occur during the 2021-22 academic year. Responsibility for each immediate action is assigned to one or more people. Many of the immediate actions serve to advance multiple goals, so the section in which an action is listed may be somewhat arbitrary.

    This document is the first phase of a two-phase planning process. The DEI Oversight, Accountability, and Resource (OAR) Team (described below) will collaboratively develop a Phase II DEI Strategic Plan by Spring 2022. The Phase II proposal, which will be submitted to the ACM for approval, will cover a period of five years and will include a detailed budget and fundraising goals.

    1. Longer-term Considerations. This list includes actions and areas of attention that we believe should be considered as the college works to realize its vision for DEI. We anticipate that many of the items in these lists will be part of the Phase II Strategic Plan.

    Strategic Goals and Priorities

    A. Build Capacity for DEI Work

    COA needs to devote significantly more resources to efforts to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive college. DEI work is difficult. It takes time, energy, emotional labor, and expertise. The College needs to provide resources and training that build the capacity of individuals at COA and the college as a whole. We observe that students have taken significant initiative in addressing structural oppression and harm on campus, and also that some students feel burdened with creating, advocating for, and implementing solutions.

    We are calling for deep work that builds skills, deepens awareness, and spreads these skills and awareness across the community. We need to work with outside experts while simultaneously building capacity internally.

    There are no immediate actions listed for Goal A because allof the actions proposed below will build capacity and develop skills and systems to help meet longer-term goals.

    Throughout this plan there is a focus on policies and work to be done by formal structures: administrative offices and ACM committees. It is equally important to form communities of practice, small groups who meet regularly to discuss common challenges. These small, creative, brave spaces are essential for learning and growth and to catalyze the cultural change and re-orientation that is necessary to make progress on DEI. It is our hope that such small groups emerge from and are nourished by the work proposed in this plan.

    B. Improve Climate and Community Accountability

    We have consistently heard concerns about the climate at COA, especially for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students, international students, and those who are English language learners. There are not clear or widely understood systems and protocols for addressing incidents of bias and harm at the college, nor are there sufficient resources to support community members navigating DEI issues.

    Immediate Actions

    1. The president, provost, deans, and board of trustees will consistently allocate financial and other resources for addressing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the College, and demonstrate that DEI is an inextricable part of human ecology and is a value that informs the operation of the college. (President)

    2. Standardize DEI as a significant part of orientation for new students, building on the model piloted in Fall 2020. (Dean of Student Life)

    3. Develop and fully articulate procedures, formal and informal, for reporting and responding to incidents of discrimination and bias involving students, faculty, and staff including but not limited to microaggressions. (Dean of Student Life, Provost, Administrative Dean)

    4. Initiate an institution-wide review process for policies and practices to identify structural racism and other forms of bias, and change policies and practices to ameliorate bias and harm. Identify two to three offices to pilot this process in the 2021-22 academic year; other offices and campus units will conduct reviews in subsequent years. (Administrative Dean)

    5. Continue to support and strengthen the COA College Opportunity and Access (COA2) program. COA2 is a strengths-based program designed for students who self-identify with the experiences of minoritized, first-generation, and/or low-income college students. COA2 will continue to offer opportunities for community members to gain understandings of how the COA experience differs depending on one’s social identity group membership and to build capacity in shifting the campus climate. COA2 will continue collecting data on student retention, persistence, and graduation rates based on race, ethnicity, parents’ educational background, and socioeconomic status. (Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching)

    6. Provide training in mediation, conflict resolution, and means for addressing bias to all staff supervisors and work-study supervisors. (Administrative Dean)

    Longer-Term Considerations

    1. Address tokenization. Community members, especially BIPOC and/or international students, report experiences of tokenization that divert their time, energy, and attention.

    2. Explore ways to shift to an asset-based approach in faculty/staff/student interactions and in institutional structures, policies, and procedures.

    3. Strengthen meaningful and not tokenistic connections to the MDI and Maine community, especially to individuals and organizations from groups with similar missions and visions that are under-represented on campus.

    4. Consider partnering with local organizations who experience similar DEI challenges to COA. Consider joining coalitions such as the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance.

    5. Consider initiating an institution-wide review of compensation structures for staff, faculty, contingent faculty, and workstudy students, with attention to structural inequalities.

    6. Consider additional hires or reprioritizing responsibilities for existing positions, such as: Dean for DEI, student life position devoted to DEI, new faculty positions.

    C. Achieve Greater Transparency and Intentionality in Institutional Decision-Making and Information Sharing

    We have heard widespread concerns about the transparency of decision-making and information-sharing at COA. These concerns impede the college’s ability to address a number of issues, including but not limited to DEI issues.

    Concerns about transparency and information-sharing manifest themselves at multiple scales. Institutionally, many are unclear about how decisions are made about important issues, such as hiring priorities or budgets. Individually, community members are unevenly aware of the opportunities available to them. More than many institutions, COA is built upon relationships and an oral culture of communication. The informal and anecdotal nature of COA enables flexibility and allows for differential treatment based on individual needs and circumstances, which in some cases increases equity. At the same time, this aspect of our college can be exclusionary since individuals do not receive the same opportunities or may not access the same information. Some people are not aware of individualized options or are uncomfortable advocating or negotiating for themselves.

    Community members navigate and experience this lack of clarity differently. Uncertainty can breed mistrust and increase experiences of exclusion. The spaces between the formal structure of the college and its informal, relationship-based practices can allow for individual biases to metastasize into long-term harm. A lack of transparency can lead to misunderstandings about the motivations and intentions of others and create feelings of discomfort, frustration, and alienation.

    Immediate Actions

    1. Improve materials and systems used to welcome and orient new faculty and staff. (Provost and Administrative Dean)

    2. Develop and implement a plan to be more systematic, intentional, and equitable in how we communicate to students academic and co-curricular opportunities, including the sorts of flexible and individualized options available to students. (DEI OAR Team, in collaboration with administrators.)

    Longer-term Considerations

    1. Develop systems and guidelines that move the college toward being more intentional and inclusive regarding the work that is acknowledged, shared, and celebrated, in both internal and external communications and publications. Work to identify and minimize tokenization. (PR Director, in collaboration with Dean of Admission, Dean of Advancement)

    2. Consider new structures for faculty meetings and faculty decision-making.

    3. Consider new structures for staff meetings and coordination horizontally and vertically.

    D. Improve Accessibility

    All campus constituencies have voiced strong concern about the physical accessibility of campus. The imperative to ensure physical accessibility is deeper, and more complex, than the goal of attaining or maintaining ADA compliance: the physical spaces on campus should be welcoming. Traversing college campuses, even highly accessible ones, can present a significant burden to people with physical disabilities. At COA, the campus can be hard for newcomers to navigate, and it can be unsafe and confusing for anyone to traverse, especially at night.

    We have heard appreciation and praise for COA’s support for mental health and accommodations for learning differences. At the same time, students desire additional support for mental health, and some students have conveyed frustration regarding accommodations for learning differences.

    Immediate Actions

    1. Conduct a comprehensive inventory of physical accessibility issues on campus. Develop a prioritized plan for addressing physical accessibility at COA. (Director of Campus Planning, Building, and Public Safety)

    2. Build capacity among faculty and staff to better understand the experiences and perspectives of those with disabilities and learning differences so that we can be more responsive and proactive in meeting these students’ needs. (Dean of Learning and Teaching)

    Longer-term Considerations

    1. The physical challenges of a largely field-based curriculum, a high percentage of students living off-campus, and a focus on internships and international experiences pose challenges to making the COA educational experience accessible to all. Explore ways to make field trips and other components of COA more accessible, building on recent experiences with remote learning, both at COA and at other colleges.

    2. Conduct further research and assess the college’s systems for supporting and accommodating students with learning differences. Identify, develop and implement strategies to address key issues.

    3. Conduct further research and assess the college’s systems for supporting students with mental health concerns. Identify key issues and develop/implement strategies to address them.

    E. Widen Curriculum and Expand Inclusive Pedagogy

    We have heard repeatedly from students that they want to see diversity and anti-oppression incorporated more often into our curriculum. Faculty have expressed a similar desire and have had preliminary discussions regarding an anti-racist curriculum.

    Immediate Actions

    1. Continue work toward envisioning and enacting an anti-racist curriculum and pedagogy. (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Faculty Moderator)

    2. Continue faculty development opportunities for inclusive and equitable advising, teaching and learning. (Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching)

    3. Provide opportunities for staff to expand skills for inclusive work-study supervision and work with students in governance, the co-curriculum, and other interactions. (Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, Administrative Dean, Dean of Student Life)

    Longer-term Considerations

    1. Consider working with one or more expert facilitators to guide faculty in a review of their syllabi and course offerings.

    2. Develop a plan to increase support for those who speak English as an additional language, and move toward an inclusive, asset-based approach to teaching writing and communication across the curriculum. (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in parallel with the Translingual Group.)

    3. Continue fundraising to support students financially as they complete their internship requirement. Investigate and ameliorate structural financial barriers, such as lab fees and other “hidden” costs, faced by students as they pursue their COA education.

    4. Consider adding one or more new faculty positions that would add new disciplinary or topical areas and/or methods and approaches relevant to DEI, e.g, Indigenous studies, Black/African-American Studies, Public Health, Language Learning.

    5. Incorporate DEI into the Core Course and/or other elements of the first-year experience. Consider a campus-wide common reading on, for example, anti-racism or de-colonization.

    6. Conduct a review of and consider adding structure to the advising system.

    F. Increase Diversity of Faculty, Staff, and Students

    Across the campus we have heard a strong need to increase the numbers of BIPOC and non-US staff and faculty. Additionally, students comment on the lack of advisors and mentors who understand their identities and lived experiences. The demographics of the US are changing; currently the majority of US high school students are not White. This makes it imperative that we improve our ability to attract, retain, and support a more diverse student body.

    Immediate Actions

    1. Hold mandatory implicit bias training sessions for all search committee members, all staff supervisors, the admissions staff, and all cabinet members. This training will increase awareness and understanding and will build momentum for a deeper, more systematic look at hiring practices and procedures. (Provost, Administrative Dean, Dean of Admission)

    2. Develop and implement a concrete action plan for recruitment of more BIPOC students, especially non-international students. (Dean of Admission)

    Longer-term Considerations

    1. Examine hiring policies, strategies, and practices using a DEI framework. Identify key issues and develop strategies to address them. Consider alternative hiring structures, e.g., target of opportunity hires, teaching fellowships for members of underrepresented groups. (Dean of Administration and Provost)

    2. Distribute resources to enable fuller implementation of recommendations by the Faculty Diversity Task Force. (Provost)

    G. Reckon with our History and Traditions

    Given COA’s origins and history, what aspects of the college are we willing to re-imagine, re-position, re-structure, or let go of as we work toward a more equitable, diverse, inclusive, and just college?

    Immediate Actions

    1. Reckon with our history and traditions: Encourage and facilitate grappling with our history forthrightly and publicly as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations and events. (Chair of the COA50 committee).

    2. Develop a land acknowledgement and expand collaborations with members of the Wabanaki confederacy. (President, in collaboration with the Indigenous Studies Working Group and others).

    Longer-term Considerations

    1. Consider offering a number of full scholarships to members of the Wabanaki confederacy. (President)

    2. Reckon with COA’s intellectual roots: a White, US form of environmentalism. COA was founded in a particular place by particular people who were shaped by a particular political moment and intellectual commitments. How is it that an interdisciplinary, problem-focused college founded in the US in the early 1970s didn’t see civil rights as central to its work? How does that legacy constrain us today?

    3. There is a form of COA exceptionalism: we believe that we are unique because of our mission, size and structure. This rhetoric positions us falsely as immune to systemic issues like racism, White supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, nationalism, etc.

    4. Some of COA’s senior administrators are graduates of COA. In addition, faculty and staff who have experienced different generations of the college have absorbed different senses of the college’s history and context. This is an institutional strength and reflects a commitment to the College and its mission. At the same time, it may pose a challenge to institutional self-evaluation and make it harder to envision and enact structural change. More generally, there are multiple notions of what COA isand the roles it plays in the lives and identities of different community members.

    5. COA’s positioning of itself as environmental and “outdoorsy” may be implicitly ableist, as it relies on unnamed assumptions about what is normal to be able to do physically and mentally.

    6. The all-stakeholders-can-talk-to-each-other, New England town meeting (ACM) ethos of COA can be majoritarian and silencing for individuals who are minoritized, among others. We need to consider additional structures and systems that allow all voices to be heard.

    7. Exclusion is, by design, a key principle of US higher education: college is expensive and one has to apply to attend. COA is no exception. What would inclusivity mean in this context?

    8. To varying degrees, US colleges and universities have benefitted materially from colonialism and slavery. All of this contributes to the prestige of US higher education and has shaped the institutional structures of colleges and universities.

    The DEI Oversight, Accountability, and Resource Team

    The college will create a group to oversee and facilitate the work specified in this plan: the DEI Oversight, Accountability, and Resource Team (DEI OAR Team). This group will be constituted as soon as possible and will begin its work early in the summer of 2021. The OAR Team will have the full ability to prioritize the tasks below in accordance to their feasibility

    • The DEI OAR Team will consist of approximately seven students, four staff, and three faculty. Students will be compensated via work-study; staff and faculty will receive summer compensation as appropriate and/or release from existing duties. Students will have the option to receive academic credit for their work via independent studies or tutorials.

    • The President, in consultation with the cabinet, will appoint one or more community members as chairs of the DEI OAR. The chairs will solicit nominations and self-nominations from community members interested in serving on the OAR and will then determine the composition of the rest of the group.

    • The OAR will receive training in both skills (such as facilitation techniques, conflict resolution, listening and deep canvassing skills, etc) and content (disability, unconscious bias, structural racism, gender violence, etc) that are pertinent to their work.

    • The DEI OAR Team will not be a policy-making body. New policies and procedures will be developed by the appropriate committee(s) of the ACM and/or administrative offices.

    The DEI OAR Team will:

    1. Monitor and Report . Monitor progress and report to ACM twice a year on the progress made toward implementing this plan. Work with the various stakeholders named in this strategic plan to conduct an initial “baseline” assessment and identify indicators to measure progress/success.

    2. Help . Will serve as a resource for the ACM committees and individuals tasked with carrying out the immediate actions listed in this plan.

    3. Research . In collaboration with the Director of Institutional Research and the Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, hold additional focus groups and conduct other institutional research as needed. The DEI OAR Team should conduct systematic surveys of the campus climate at least every other year.

    4. Communicate and Clarify. Internally, ensure that the community is aware of the DEI OAR Team and other DEI groups and resources on campus, such as the DEI Working Group, COA2, and the Black Student Union, as well as new or emerging DEI groups. The DEI OAR Team should ensure that the scope and roles of different groups are widely understood, and that there is communication and collaboration among these groups, as appropriate. Externally, work with staff and faculty to share information about DEI initiatives with outside audiences (prospective students, alumnx, parents, donors, etc)

    5. Plan and Prioritize. The DEI OAR Team will develop a Phase II strategic DEI plan by spring 2022 that includes a more detailed and longer-term action plan and a detailed budget with fundraising goals. This planning will be done in collaboration with relevant ACM committees and administrators with input from the wider community.

    6. Coordinate and Facilitate. As needed, help different groups working on pre-existing and emerging DEI efforts coordinate with each other. The intent here is not to control or manage, but to avoid unneeded duplication of effort, increase transparency, and catalyze collaborations and synergies.

  • Divestiture Statement

    The College of the Atlantic will divest from any common stocks that appear on the attached list of fossil fuel related companies* and will divest from any fixed income from that same list upon maturity; we will also instruct our investment managers to refrain from any further investments in companies on that list.

    (Passed April 2013 by the College of the Atlantic Board of Trustees)

    *Carbon Underground 200 - gofossilfuelfree.org


  • Earth Day Policy

    Earth Day is a day to renew the COA community.  It is a day to gather the spirits of the visions that brought us to COA.  As individuals we cling to our visions of social and environmental justice, hoping to the spread their fullness.  However, 250 visions remain scattered.  Occasionally we catch glimpses of the communities [sic] strong commitments.  In order to fire our own flames we need to clarify our understanding of the visions of those around us.  The tool for this enlightenment is a pause.  In our stillness we may open our eyes to all 250 visions becoming a single power.  In this, there is inspiration.  The power of our stillness will reach beyond our own community.


    This is a call for EARTH DAY, A CELEBRATION OF COMMUNITY at COA.  It is the celebration of the artistic and scientific possibility within our community.  Beginning April 22nd, 1996, COA will replace its class meetings and administrative duties with one day of community renewal.  For one day COA students, faculty, and administration will join together to experience and participate in lectures, musical and literary presentations, student forum, informational sessions, community service and a COA community and family picnic.  The day’s classes will be postponed to the following day, shifting the week’s schedule ahead and eliminating Wednesday meetings.  The annual organization and promotion of this day is the responsibility of the community.  All individuals are encouraged to organize presentations of their own.  In order to insure [sic] involvement, committees will be allocated certain responsibilities.  The following presents the responsibilities of each committee:


    Campus Planning & Building – CPBC will be responsible for ensuring adequate space for large community gatherings.  CPBC will be responsible for a campus grounds enhancement project, such as the planting of trees.

    Within the CPBC the recycling subcommitee will be responsible for sponsoring an informational session to update the status of community recycling.  Dually the subcommittee will provide future ideas for enhancement of the program.


    Internship Commitee – The Internship Committee shall use Earth Day to promote internship opportunities.  Secondly, the committee shall present past successes of COA alumni and graudates.  The committee shall invite area alumni to participate in the celebration.


    Admissions Committee – The Admissions Committee should consider inviting prospective students.  Prospective students will experience the fullness of community spirit.  In general admissions can use the day as a promotional device, enabling prospective students to gain a better understanding of COA’s mission.


    Student Activities – Student Activities will be responsible for sponsoring a celebratory event for the enjoyment of the entire community.  In particular the committee is encouraged to organize community literary and musical presentations.



    Publications and Communications – Publications and Communications will undertake the task of advertisement.  The committee will be responsible for signs on campus and within the Bar Harbor community.  The event will also be advertised on the COA homepage of the World Wide Web.  Prior to Earth Day, Publications and Communications will request the submission of articles to Off the Wall and local newspapers.  Lastly, local radio and television stations will be contacted.


    The Library Committee – The Library Committee will be responsible for the display case in the Thorndike Library.


    Academic Affairs – Academic Affairs shall open Earth Day at COA with an official welcoming.  A piece to inspire the day’s activities.


    Steering Committee – Steering Committee shall be responsible for organizing time slots for certain events throughout the day.  This information shall be passed along to the Publications and Communications committee for advertisement.


    Additional responsibilities:

    COA community and family will be responsible for a potluck.

    COA community will responsible for restoring order to the campus after the conclusion of the day’s events.

    SEA will sponsor a student forum.  The forum will address a current debateable [sic] issue.  SEA will also sponsor smaller informational workshops organized by group members.


    COA encourages students to claim their education so that they may claim their lives in a way that will make a positive impact in the world.  Earth Day is one day for COA to take responsibility, to take our individual visions and unite them with the community.  In this visionary unification is the realization that making a positive impact on the world is possible.

  • Endorse the Earth Charter


    What is the Earth Charter?

    “The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principals for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people’s a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well being of the human family and the larger living world. It is an expression of hope and a call to help create a global partnership at a critical juncture in history.”

    Where did it come from and who wrote it?

    “In 1987 the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development issued a call for creation of a new charter that would set forth fundamental principals for sustainable development. …The Earth Charter is the product of a decade long, worldwide, cross-cultural conversation about common goals and shared values. …Thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations from all regions of the world, different cultures, and diverse sectors of society have participated.”

    What are the sources of the Earth Charter values?

    “…contemporary science, international law, the wisdom of the world’s great religions and philosophical traditions, the declarations and reports of the seven UN summit conferences held in the 1990’s, the global ethics movement, numerous nongovernmental declarations and people’s treaties issued over the past thirty years, and best practices for building sustainable communities.”

    What does endorsement mean?

    “Endorsement of the Earth Charter by individuals or organizations signifies a commitment to the spirit and aims of the document. It also means a commitment to work for the implementation of the values and principles of the Earth Charter and a readiness to cooperate with others in this endeavor.

    The Earth Charter Initiative is seeking to develop a world wide base of support for the Earth Charter. The Initiative is promoting the endorsement, dissemination, implementation and formal and non-formal educational use of the Earth Charter by individuals and organizations in all sectors of society. Nevertheless, organizations are asked to send an official letter of support as stated in the Statement of Endorsement.”

    Since it was launched in June of 2000, 10,543 organizations, governments, communities and individuals have endorsed the Earth Charter.


    The four core principles of the Earth Charter—respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice, and democracy, nonviolence, and peace—are consistent with and will help to deepen and further the values stated in the mission and vision of College of the Atlantic.

    By endorsing the Earth Charter, COA will be supporting the Earth Charter Initiative, which aims to:

    • Disseminate the Earth Charter and its principles to individuals and communities throughout the world,
    • Gain endorsement and implementation by individuals, governments, businesses, and organizations, including the United Nations, and
    • Promote the educational use of the Earth Charter in schools, universities, and communities.

    By endorsing the Earth Charter COA can help to:

    • Encourage the use of the Earth Charter as “an ethical foundation for the ongoing development of environmental and sustainable development law,”
    • Promote its use as an ethical framework for businesses, organizations, and all segments of civil society,
    • Encourage its use as a foundation for programs for sustainable development,
    • Call and guide communities and individuals toward a sustainable way of life,
    • Spark dialogue across cultures, sectors, and ideologies concerning global ethics.

    Endorsement of the Earth Charter will benefit COA directly by:

    • Publicly reaffirming our mission,
    • Deepening our commitment to global ethics,
    • Providing impetus to reevaluate our curriculum and policies based on this new commitment as well as the values set out in our mission and vision,
    • Connecting us to other groups and institutions worldwide who have similar goals,
    • And signifying our participation in the world community.


    Therefore, we the COA community, resolve to:

    • Endorse the Earth Charter,
    • Explore ways to strengthen our curriculum through appropriate incorporation of the Earth Charter’ s core principles,
    • Broaden our commitment to sustainability both on campus and off,
    • Use the Earth Charter as a tool for outreach to and collaboration with other groups, and
    • Agree to revisit and evaluate our implementation of these resolutions at least once a year.

    (Passed 2003)

  • Energy Framework



    Given that the use of fossil fuels is changing the climate and that the current rate of energy consumption by individuals, the campus, and global community is unsustainable, College of the Atlantic will meet its energy needs by using local and renewable energy sources. This will enable the college to become a fossil fuel free campus by 2030. This goal will be achieved both by reducing our overall energy consumption and by using fossil fuel free sources of energy.

    The college strives to make COA a laboratory for students, faculty, and staff to explore the diverse prospects of a more sustainable energy future. A central part of the energy plan will include classes and project-based learning where students can practice the interdisciplinary skills needed to promote responsible energy use. Students will be involved in designing, constructing, maintaining, and monitoring all necessary changes on the campus, including its islands and farms. The college will be a place where energy production is an attractive and healthy part of the landscape, enhancing the quality of our lives, education, community, and environment.

    These experiences, along with the college’s interdisciplinary curriculum in human ecology, will prepare students to become advocates for the ecological integrity of the climate and planet and give them tools to influence change in their chosen professions and communities.

    As the college moves toward a fossil fuel free campus by 2030, it is faced with the challenge of improving the energy efficiency of older buildings before trying to retrofit them with renew- able heating systems. Improving the energy efficiency of buildings typically includes adding insulation, plugging leaks, and, where cost effective, as in the renovation of Turrets, installing energy-efficient windows and doors.

    The technologies already exist to replace fossil fuel heating systems with renewable sources of heat. The challenge will be selecting, designing, and financing renewable heating systems to meet the needs of the wide variety of buildings on campus, a challenge that will provide opportunities for student involvement throughout the entire process.

    More easily accomplished will be increasing the amount of solar electricity generated on campus. Actions taken to transition buildings to renewable heating sources and the continued sourcing of electricity from large wind farms while increasing on-campus solar PV will reduce the college’s carbon footprint, but not eliminate it. The college can transition its fossil fuel vehicle fleet over time to alternatives such as more capable electric vehicles. However, COA will continue to rely on air travel to provide academic opportunities around the world for its students.

    Teaching and learning about energy occurs in several classes at COA. Other courses, while not focused on energy, provide additional skills and background for students wishing to be effective advocates for renewable energy.


    Targets and Actions

    1. Reduce Fossil Fuel Use.

    (a)  By 2020, COA’s research stations on Great Duck Island and Mount Desert Rock will be fossil fuel free to the greatest extent possible.

    (b)  By 2020, Beech Hill and Peggy Rockefeller Farms will be fossil fuel free to the greatest extent possible.

    (c)  By 2025, 50% of all campus buildings’ primary heating sources will be fossil fuel free.

    (d)  By 2030, all remaining campus buildings’ primary heating sources will be fossil fuel free.

    (e) By 2030, achieve a 20% reduction from fuel emissions by 2030 for COA’s collective road vehicle fleet based on 2017 baseline data. Maintain the 20% reduction even if the fleet expands.

    (f) By 2030, achieve at least 20% biodiesel usage for all COA diesel vehicles, including trucks and boats.

    (g) In 2030, the College will conduct a full evaluation of its progress towards the goals set out in this Framework and develop a plan based on most current technologies, policies, and financial considerations to address any remaining fossil usage from on-campus energy consumption.


    2. Reduce Total Energy Consumption. Through a combination of energy efficiency and efforts to decrease individual energy consumption, total energy consumed on campus will be reduced.

    (a) By 2020, reduce total on-campus energy consumption by 10 percent.

    (b) By 2030, reduce total on-campus energy consumption by 20 percent.


    3. Generate Electricity.

    (a) By 2020, COA will generate on campus at least 15 percent of all the electricity used on campus.

    (b)  For all electricity not generated on campus, COA will purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) ensuring that its electricity comes from sources that do not actively emit carbon dioxide.


    4. Address Greenhouse Gas Emissions.


    (a) By 2020, over 50 percent of COA’s total on-campus energy consumption will be generated from fossil fuel free sources.

    (b) By 2030, all on-campus energy consumption from fossil fuels will be carbon neutral through offsetting remaining carbon emissions by supporting, funding, and/or purchasing carbon credits from local renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

    (d) For all College-sponsored air travel (i.e., COA has paid for the plane ticket), COA will offset the carbon released by purchasing carbon credits from renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.


    5. Educate. Opportunities to learn about energy and participate in projects will be made available to students of all genders, nationalities, and academic interests. Classes and student projects will build on themselves. Data from previous projects will be analyzed, current projects will be implemented, and future projects will be planned. These educational activities will help COA attain the goals laid out in this document.


    (a) Each year, between 15 to 20 percent of COA’s graduating class will have taken a course in energy and/or participated in a term-long project in renewable energy or energy efficiency.

    (b)  Each academic year offer one introductory energy class and one intermediate, project-based energy class. Provide support for and encourage independent studies, group projects, and senior projects in energy and efficiency.


    6. Experiment. Take advantage of COA’s small size and flexible curriculum to conduct experiments and explore different approaches to energy and efficiency as part of teaching,  research, and community engagement efforts.


    7. Monitor. Expand the quantity and quality of energy data available, make this data easily accessible, and use this information to inform continuing energy work at COA.

    (a)  By 2020, set up real-time monitoring of electrical and heating systems for all academic and residential buildings on campus.

    (b) Establish and maintain an archive of COA energy data and energy projects, open and easily accessible to all COA community members.

    (c) Create an Annex to this Energy Framework to monitor and assess progress towards the goals laid out in this Energy Framework in relation to baseline data.


    8. Report. The Director of Energy Education and Management (or equivalent staff member) will report once a year to ACM on the progress made toward the targets laid out in this document.


    9. Revise. The Campus Committee for Sustainability will review these targets at least every five years and will bring any changes to the ACM. CCS and the Director of Energy Education and Management, in collaboration with other administrators and campus bodies, including the Administrative Dean and the Campus Planning and Building Committee, will expand upon this framework to produce an action plan by Spring 2017, further detailing how various reductions will be achieved.

    10. Fund and Finance. Funding for these initiatives will require approval of the President and Administrative Dean, who will balance the goals laid out here with other needs of the College in consultation with the Director of Energy Education and Management, as well as other students, faculty, and staff as appropriate. Where possible, seek grants and third-party funding to help finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.


    Technical Notes

    • “On-campus energy consumption” is defined as energy consumed by all activities taking place on the COA main campus, farms, research stations, and all other COA-owned properties. This includes energy consumed by the COA-owned vehicle fleet, but excludes transportation to and from these locations by personal vehicle, boat and/or airplane. This does not include “embodied energy” related to the production and transportation of food or other materials used/consumed by on-campus activities, as these energy costs are addressed by other College policies and initiatives.
    • Baseline data used to calculate progress towards the Energy Framework will be consumption levels averaged over a period of three years: 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13.

    (Initially passed April 4, 2013; Amended January 18, 2017)

  • Energy Policy

    Approved by the All College Meeting November 16, 2022


    College of the Atlantic commits to eliminating our fossil fuel use by 2030. This policy outlines the clean energy goals to be achieved, which will be accomplished through a series of intermediate steps outlined in the Energy Framework.

    The overall process for transitioning away from fossil fuels has three primary steps:

    1. Air seal and insulate buildings to reduce consumption of heating fuels
    2. Electrify heating, hot water, cooking and transportation with the most efficient equipment available
    3. Generate electricity from local sources of renewable energy

    College of the Atlantic is committed to sustainability, and becoming fossil fuel free is one of the most important, sustainable actions that we can take. Fossil fuel consumption is the primary driver of global climate change, which already impacts the College, Mount Desert Island, and the global community. College of the Atlantic will address issues of environmental justice involved in this transition and will collaborate with the surrounding community to help others transition away from fossil fuels.

    Clean Energy Goals

    1) Reduce. By 2030, reduce energy consumption in each COA-owned building by 20% from baseline data.

    2) Heat. By 2030, 100% of the primary heating sources of all COA-owned buildings will be fossil fuel free.

    3) Transport. After 2025, no new fossil-fuel-powered vehicles should be purchased.

    4) Educate. Opportunities to learn about energy and participate in projects will be made available to students of all genders, nationalities, and academic interests. Classes and student projects will build on each other. Data from previous projects will be analyzed, current projects will be implemented, and future projects will be planned. These educational activities will help COA attain the goals laid out in the Energy Framework. 

    5) Experiment. Take advantage of COA’s small size and flexible curriculum to conduct experiments and explore different approaches to efficiency and clean energy as part of teaching, research, and community engagement efforts.

    6) Revise. The Campus Committee for Sustainability (CCS) will review the targets laid out in the Energy Framework at least every three years. Amendments to the Framework do not need to be voted on at ACM but must be reported as part of the committee’s minutes and the updated document will be sent out to the community for informational purposes.

    7) Plan. Develop detailed action plans to address remaining fossil fuel usage.

    a) By 2024, CCS and the Director of Energy, in collaboration with other administrators and campus bodies, including the Administrative Dean and the Campus Planning and Building Committee, will produce an action plan for the main campus (105 Eden Street) to further detail how various reductions will be achieved by 2030.

    b) By 2025, CCS and the Director of Energy, in collaboration with other administrators and campus bodies, including the Administrative Dean and the Campus Planning and Building Committee, will develop a plan for the farms and COA’s research stations on Great Duck Island and Mount Desert Rock to be fossil fuel free by 2030.

    8) Fund and Finance. Funding for these initiatives will require approval of the Administrative Dean and the Board of Trustees, who will balance the goals laid out here with other needs of the College in consultation with the Director of Energy, as well as other students, faculty, and staff as appropriate. Where possible, the Director of Energy, Administrative Dean, and Dean of Institutional Advancement shall seek grants and third-party funding to help finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

    9) Report. Provide annual progress updates to ACM, make this data easily accessible, and use this information to inform continuing energy work at COA.

    a) The Director of Energy (or equivalent staff member) will report once a year to ACM on the progress made toward the targets laid out in this document.

    b) Establish and maintain an archive of COA energy data and energy projects, open and easily accessible to all COA community members.

    c) Create a reporting system for this Energy Framework to monitor and assess progress towards the goals laid out in this Energy Framework in relation to baseline data.

    Baseline data used to calculate progress towards the Energy Framework will be consumption levels averaged over a period of three years: 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13.

  • Fair Trade Coffee Policy

    In March 2001, following the tenets established in the Campus Environmental Initiative, the All-College Meeting ratified the following policy regarding the purchase of Fair Trade Coffee:

    College of the Atlantic will restrict the purchasing of coffee by Take A Break (our dining services) and all other offices to brands that are organic and Fair Trade Certified by TransFair USA, its successor organization or another independently monitored labeling Non Governmental Organization.

    As part of this policy, the All-College Meeting also approved the following resolution:

    TAB shall strive to purchase fair trade certified products whenever possible given budgetary restraints. This includes rice and most fruits and vegetables of non-US origin. No new policy will be necessary to implement such changes unless the additional cost of purchasing such products is substantial.

    The full text of the proposal can be obtained from the Chair of the Steering Committee or the Archivist.

  • Free Menstrual Products Policy

    Proposal to Provide Complimentary Menstrual Products in All Non-Residential Restrooms at College of the Atlantic

    I. Rationale:

    Lack of access to menstrual products is an issue concerning public health, gender equity, and educational equality, largely originating from period stigma. The majority of students at College of the Atlantic menstruate, but the college does not provide menstrual products in any of the restrooms.

    Periods can come unexpectedly, are oftentimes irregular, and being caught without menstrual products can quickly become a crisis: do you try and bunch up toilet paper and hope you don’t bleed through, ask around and hope someone has one to spare, or leave class or work-study to go home or to the store to get some? Research has found that 86% of women* in the U.S. reported that at least once in their lifetime their period started unexpectedly in public and they did not have immediate access to menstrual supplies.[1] As a result, many were forced to respond using the burdensome, insufficient alternatives described above. Lack of menstrual products in on-campus restrooms also means that some students are unable to change their tampon or pad regularly (to make do with their current product for as long as they can) which can cause issues like toxic shock syndrome, which has been linked to prolonged use of a single tampon.[2]

    The health office on campus has some pads and tampons; however, this option barely mitigates the issue of access due to the office’s limited supplies, hours, and single location. The health office is only open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until 3 PM, and this time frame is complicated by snow days and illness – there is only one nurse available, and if they are unable to come in, the health office remains closed. Relying on the health office for menstrual products in the event of an unexpected period is not practical or sufficient, and even if the office’s hours coincide with an unexpected period, requiring students to travel to another building on campus and justify to a staff member why they require menstrual supplies maintains a cycle of inconvenience and shame.

    COA provides toilet paper, paper towels, and hand soap in all restrooms, wood shavings in the Kathryn W. Davis Village (KWD) restrooms, and condoms in the KWD and Kaelber Hall restrooms. Several items for unexpected but common events are already supplied: a first-aid kit equipped with Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, and more can be found in every building at COA. These items are all necessities for promoting health and wellness on campus; no one would ever be expected to bring their own toilet paper into a restroom or feel embarrassed and ashamed for not having a Band-aid. Menstruating is a natural bodily function and failing to support students who menstruate maintains period shame and stigma while serving to conceal the educational, health, and equity issues of being faced with an unexpected period.

    COA is an environmentally-conscious campus with a general preference for natural products. With support from COA’s Campus Committee for Sustainability, we propose purchasing organic, non-chlorine, fragrance-free pads and tampons without applicators. Aunt Flow, a company which sells and donates menstrual products, states that their programs that supply college non-residential bathrooms cost $5-$7 per menstruator per year.[3] After factoring in the approximate number of students who menstruate on campus, we estimate that purchasing menstrual products for all non-residential bathrooms will cost COA approximately $1,225-1,715 a year.[4],[5] Understanding that 1) not all the students who identify as women menstruate, 2) transgender men and non-binary folks may also menstruate, and 3) this estimate does not include faculty, staff, and visitors who may use the supplies, underscores that this budget is just an estimate. Each year, Planned Parenthood Generation Action at COA will review product usage and cost with Building and Grounds (B&G) and will report to the Director of B&G (if Planned Parenthood Generation Action at COA is no longer available, the Director will appoint a group).

    Aunt Flow asserts that the first three months of the policy’s implementation will cause the highest demand (a “freebie” effect), but after that timeframe, the product’s usage will slow and become more steady.[6] B&G is responsible for ordering and stocking restroom amenities (ie. toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap) and thus will become responsible for the ordering and distribution of menstrual products. Menstrual supplies will be provided using the same system as the wood shavings for composting toilets: custodial staff will notify the Head Custodian when the product is becoming low, and an order will be placed to restock the product (as opposed to a set purchasing schedule, as is the case with the other amenities). A small basket containing pads and tampons will be placed in each non-residential bathroom on campus.

    Many other colleges and universities across the country have established policies to provide complimentary menstrual products in non-residential restrooms, and this proposed policy is aligned with those measures. We have framed this proposal in terms of educational equity with a focus on students in public spaces at the college. However, COA students have expressed interest in a policy that provides menstrual products in both non-residential and residential restrooms on campus. In the future, if that is an avenue the students and the college wish to pursue, this policy may be amended to accommodate that change. This policy to provide menstrual products in non-residential bathrooms may be viewed as a trial in this context to determine product demand. We recognize that unexpected periods do occur in residential spaces, and this policy just touches the surface of period insecurity. We feel that this proposed policy is a proactive, feasible measure for COA to address a public health and equity issue which has largely occurred in the shadows, and we welcome future improvements to further this pursuit.

    This policy aims to make menstrual products free and easily accessible for all menstruators at College of the Atlantic by providing them in all public, non-residential restrooms. Doing so will promote menstrual, gender, and educational equity by posing a direct challenge to the stigma surrounding periods, all while increasing student wellbeing.

    II. Definitions :

    1. Menstruators refers to all those who menstruate, including women, transgender men, and non-binary folks.
    2. Menstrual products/supplies refers to tampons and pads.
    3. College of the Atlantic restrooms refers to all of the non-residential restrooms (including women’s, men’s, and single-user) on COA’s campus where Buildings and Grounds’ custodial staff manage and stock the restroom.

    III. Policy:
    College of the Atlantic will provide menstrual products in all non-residential restrooms on campus without charge. Buildings and Grounds will purchase and distribute the products, headed by the Director of Buildings and Grounds and managed by the Head Custodian.

    *This study by the Harris Initiative referred to their survey participants as “women,” though we recognize that women are not the only people who menstruate. We maintained this language as to not falsely extrapolate their data, as we are unaware if the researchers only surveyed people who identified as women.


    (Approved April 2019)


    [1] https://www.freethetampons.org/uploads/4/6/0/3/46036337/ftt_infographic.pdf 

    [2] https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/understanding-toxic-shock-syndrome-basics#1

    [3] https://www.goauntflow.com/how-to-get-your-university-to-offer-free-menstrual-products-on-campus/

    [4] Estimate of the number of students at COA who menstruate: 70% of 350 students, equalling 245.

    [5] Our research has yielded two suitable, cost-effective products for COA to purchase: Aunt Flow and Seventh Generation products are both organic, non-chlorine, fragrance-free, and are around the same price. Aunt Flow’s no-applicator tampons and pads are each $100 for 500 units. Seventh Generation pads are $57.12 for 288 and no-applicator tampons are $69.42 for 240 from BettyMills.com. Seventh Generation pads are slightly less expensive than Aunt Flow (and come with less extraneous packaging). Aunt Flow tampons without applicators are slightly less expensive than Seventh Generation, but take up to six weeks to arrive to campus compared to 3-5 days from Betty Mills. With these two options in mind, we leave the purchasing choice up to the discretion of B&G based on what works best for them.

    [6] https://www.goauntflow.com/how-to-get-your-university-to-offer-free-menstrual-products-on-campus/

  • Meat Purchasing Policy

    In the Spring of 1998, the All College Meeting approved the policy that College of the Atlantic shall only purchase safe, Maine-raised meat, including beef. In this instance, “safe” means that the farms the College purchases from will have humane, free-range animal facilities and will refrain from the use of hormones, antibiotics and animal protein feed. The College will more strongly pursue the purchase of organically certified meat as it becomes available, as the number of certified farms is currently limited. This proposal does not apply to fish or seafood.

  • Sustainable Building Policy

    Campus Committee for Sustainability (CCS) recognizes that any growth or new building construction could potentially put College of the Atlantic even further from its long-term environmental and climate commitments, including those towards energy and waste reduction. In order for COA to create a more holistically sustainable campus, it is imperative that the College adopt a policy for new building spaces that is consistent with its other sustainability commitments and initiatives.

    The Sustainable Building Policy formalizes and codifies COA’s commitment to sustainable design for all new building spaces on its campuses. This policy addresses a wide range of areas in sustainability, including energy use, discarded resource management, water use, and the selection of building materials, through outlining minimum standards that must be achieved through the design and operation of all new building spaces.

    The standards stated in this policy are intended to inform Campus Planning and Building Committee (CPBC), the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and the College as they develop goals for future building projects and work with each project’s architect and general contractor to ensure the sustainability of any new building space and documentation of efforts towards sustainability made during the design and construction process. These standards apply only to the design and long term operational life of the new building space, and not to the construction period . Separate standards for sustainable construction based on the Kathryn W. Davis Residence Village project have already been developed by CPBC.This policy does not replace the existing process for setting goals on new building spaces, but rather it supplements the process with standards that must continually be met for each new project.

    In this policy, a “new building space” refers to any renovation or addition made to an existing building or to the construction of any new building or structure unless otherwise specified in this document. The standards stated in this policy apply to any new building space on any COA-owned property that will either have a heating, ventilation, or air-conditioning system, connection to electricity, access to water supply, and/or the capacity to generate discarded resources.

    The implementation of these standards should maintain or increase the quality of life for those who utilize, occupy, and/or maintain the new building space.


    1. Energy Use
      • Passive solar potential must be evaluated when determining the design and orientation of a new building space.
      • All heating systems installed in a new building space must be powered by carbon-neutral fuels.
      • All electricity use within a new building space must be either offset directly with on-site renewable energy or with green purchased power & renewable energy certificates.
      • Total energy use (heating & electricity) of new building spaces (excluding renovations) must meet or exceed 30% reduction of the most current ASHRAE building standards.
      • Real-time energy use monitoring systems must be present for any new building space.
      • Appropriate locations for the potential installation of clotheslines must be identified adjacent to any new residential building space.
    2. Discarded Resource Recovery and Management
      • New building spaces must incorporate a design that encourages zero-waste practices.
      • Receptacles for recycling and reuse of materials, including organic material (compost), must be incorporated throughout the new building space.
      • Isolated waste receptacles throughout the new building space must be minimized. Whenever possible, each waste receptacle must be accompanied by a full suite of recycling and reuse receptacles.
      • Design of the new building space must facilitate the placement of easily accessible, clear, and consistent signage for all locations with discarded resource receptacles.

      • All new building spaces (excluding renovations) must include infrastructure to enable easy handling and removal of discarded resources to appropriate processing locations. Renovations whenever possible should improve such existing infrastructure.f. Restroom facilities within new building spaces must incorporate human manure recycling systems such as composting toilets whenever possible.

    3. Water Use
      • New building spaces must incorporate design for greywater and non-toxic rainwater collection systems whenever possible.
      • Water meters must be installed for all new building spaces to monitor hot and cold water use.
      • All water fixtures installed in a new building space must conform to the most current EPA WaterSense specifications.
    4. Building Materials
      • Recycled, reused, and locally sourced/manufactured (within a 500 mile radius) materials, as well as certified rapidly renewable, sustainably-harvested, non-toxic, and low-emission building materials must be considered before the purchase and use of any new materials in the construction of a new building space.
      • Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and/or documentation of sources and environmental and social impacts of building materials used in the construction of a new building space must be provided whenever possible.
      • The use of high-embodied energy materials throughout the construction of a new building space must be avoided whenever possible.

    (Passed 2015)

  • Wood and Paper Products Procurement Policy
    Part I

    Whereas, the United States has already lost 96% of its old growth forests. Only 22% of the world’s old growth forests are still intact. 76 countries have already lost all of their old growth forests. Eleven more countries are on the verge of losing their old growth forests.

    Whereas, old growth forests and tropical forest have important ecological values, as well as an existence value.

    Whereas, native forests everywhere are being converted into mono-cultural plantations; for example, the Southern US is losing its native hardwood forests to pine plantations, and old growth forests in Chile are being converted into eucalyptus plantations. Engineered wood products, like chipboard or OSB,  accelerate clear cutting, plantation conversion, and native forest loss. Timber companies are also experimenting with genetically engineered trees, which endanger all native forests.

    Whereas, a coalition of environmental and community groups have agreed to the following for companies to meet:

    • No wood products from old growth forests
    • No wood products from U.S. public lands
    • No new conversion of natural forests to plantations
    • No purchase of-oriented strand board (OSB) from virgin tree material
    • No genetically engineered trees

    Whereas, most the larger retail chains of wood and the top three home builders in this country have agreed to stop buying/using wood from endangered forests by 2002. As a result, a plentiful supply of wood that can be verified as not coming from endangered forest will soon become available.

    Whereas, on-going mapping and monitoring work by will provide these companies and other interested parties with detailed maps showing the location of endangered forests throughout the world. Global Forest Watch, an initiative of World Resource Institute (WRI), is creating the first worldwide monitoring network that tracks threats to forests using satellite imagery and computers to gather the data and to map it out.

    Whereas, the Certified Forest Products Council is a business association supported by environmentalists that certifies forest certification programs in an effort to unify independent certification efforts.

    Whereas, College of the Atlantic recognizes that in the next few years new technology will bring down the price of tree-free and recycled paper, as well as provide for a wide variety of new options such as old-growth free and chain of custody tracking of all wood and paper products.

    To assure that the policy is in line with current scientific knowledge on forest management. Community input will be sought from Social Environmental Action and other avenues.

    Part II: Paper Procurement

    Resolved, College of the Atlantic shall purchase paper that meets as many of the following criteria as possible, with the spirit of this policy insisting on meeting all of the following qualifications:

    1. The paper contains 50% or greater post consumer recycled content. Over the next three years, COA shall meet the following goals so that at the end of 2004, GOA shall use 100% Post Consumer Recycled or Tree Free Paper.
      • For fiscal year 2001–2092: 50% dollar value of total paper purchases contain 100% post consumer recycled or tree free content.
      • For fiscal year 2002–2003: 75% dollar value of total paper purchases contain 100% post consumer recycled or tree free content.
      • For fiscal year 2003–2004: 100% dollar value of total paper purchases contain 100% post consumer recycled or tree free content.
    2. The supplier certifies in writing that any virgin fiber in the paper is not originating from old growth forests.
    3. Is certified as Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) or, if not available, Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF)
    4. The supplier certifies in writing that the paper only contains virgin fiber from a forestry operation that is certified as sustainable. The certifying organization must be an independent, non-profit, non-government certification organization accredited by the Certified Forest Products Council, such as the Forest Stewardship Council. The products provided must meet or beat these standards. (Note: If this qualification is met, then so is #2 as long as the organization is accredited by the Certified Forest Products Council.)

    NOTE: 100% post consumer recycled paper or a tree-free alternative would be the best way to meet all the aforementioned criteria.

    Resolved, College of the Atlantic shall inform all staff and faculty that copies and printouts are  double-sided; in order to save 50% paper use. Students shall be asked to do so as well and if no noticeable improvement (no drop in paper consumption on campus) is made by Winter 2002, the College shall examine the use of a per sheet of fee system for printers in order to discourage excess copying and/or to purchasing even more environmental friendly paper products.

    Resolved, Staff of the College shall immediately begin to identify any photocopiers and printers that are not capable of double-siding or having difficulty using the high content recycled paper and report such machines to the schools purchasing agent. By 2004, COA will have replaced all equipment which does not double side.

    Resolved, College of the Atlantic shall meet as many of the above criteria as possible. If a source that meets all of the required criteria is not currently available at a quality suitable for copy machines and printers (even after updating the equipment); at no time shall the College purchase paper that contains less than 30% post-consumer recycled content.

    Resolved, College of the Atlantic shall explore the use of alternative tree-free paper product.

    (Passed 2001)