In September of 2012, Provost Bill Throop appointed a task force of faculty, staff, and a student to develop and implement metrics to track progress toward the goal of authentic sustainability. Over the next eight months, the task force researched multiple ways of assessing a net positive impact in the three areas of natural capital, financial capital, and social/human capital.
They consulted the academic literature and the community through public discussions. The result was a 30-page paper outlining 27 metrics. Many of these indicators will require complex measurements into uncharted territory for higher education institutions. In the area of social capital, the College will measure the trust and associations between members of the community. In the area of natural capital, the College will measure the upstream environmental impacts of the products it purchases.
To carry-out the measurements, faculty and staff will work closely with classes that will collect and analyze the data, in addition to making suggestions for strategies to move Green Mountain College closer to authentic sustainability. Implementation of the metrics will continue to be an open and honest process in line with the guiding principles of authentic sustainability, including transparency, resiliency, and credibility, as well as incorporating social justice, engaging the community, and frequently reassessing and improving methods.
For a technical explanation of the metrics, read this white paper written by the task force.
For a brief introduction to the metrics, watch these short videos.