Green Mountain College alumni play active roles in the world, whether they start organic farms, install renewable energy systems, plan community development projects, or simply live low-impact, high-value lives in more traditional careers. When developing metrics to measure progress toward the College’s new strategic plan of achieving authentic sustainability, the Sustainability 2020 task force decided that alumni impact was an important measure of the value of a GMC education. The full value of an education is not realized until students go out into the world and begin living a lifestyle affected by their education and working jobs that make a positive impact based on the lessons they learned in the classroom.
In order to begin measuring how a GMC education affects graduates and how those graduates impact the world, the task force added thirteen questions to the annual alumni survey. Questions ranged from items asking for the square footage of their homes, their primary modes of transportation, their eating practices, and their waste disposal practices to questions asking about the average number of hours they spend deliberately enhancing the social fabric of their communities and their ability to cover their monthly financial expenses.
Preliminary baseline data from the 2012 class indicate that 43% of graduates spend more than 10 hours per week deliberately enhancing the social fabric of their communities and 72% report that their lives reflect the College’s environmental mission. Work is also underway to calculate the carbon footprint of GMC alumni and compare it to other groups. The survey is given to graduates one-year, three-year, and ten-years out. The 2013 survey serves as a baseline for measuring future progress.
With two years of data complete, collection is now taking place for the 2015 survey. The task force hopes that as steps are taken to enhance the GMC community’s social, financial, and natural capital, the positive impact of a GMC education will also increase, as reflected by alumni.