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Committee Structure

The Ecosphere is the nexus of the College’s sustainability programs, research, and groups—it is made up of the many stakeholders who move our community forward on sustainability. Conceptualized in 2016, the Ecosphere was intended to establish clear ties among several existing sustainability-themed committees, formalize those committees’ reporting pathways to senior staff, and recognize that impactful sustainability work continues to be led not just by these committees and the Office of Sustainability, but also by many other community projects, student clubs, faculty research, and so on.

The Office of Sustainability serves as facilitator and convener for the Ecosphere. Its full time staff are in a unique position to devote ongoing attention to the College's sustainability goals and bring their expertise to many interrelated efforts projects. For these reasons, the Office of Sustainability works to spearhead some initiatives, strengthen collaborations across campus and connect stakeholders for others, and maintain a strong sense of the big picture foster an engaged environment for all our community members to feel welcomed and included in these efforts.

The Ecosphere’s committee governance structure includes several levels of operation. There are two central committees of this structure: the Sustainability Committee and the Crum Woods Stewardship Committee, which are both populated by appointed students, faculty, staff, and (for the Sustainability Committee) alumni and community members. Both of these “connector” committees report to the Ecosphere Executive Committee, which is comprised of members of the President’s Staff and the chairs of the connector committees. Finally, the connector committees host a number of working groups, which are open to all interested members of the Swarthmore community. Working groups may come and go as needs are identified or projects completed.

President's Staff
  • Makes decisions on issues requiring presidential or Board support
  • Oversees the Sustainability and Climate Executive Committee

Ecosphere Executive Committee (formerly the Sustainability and Climate Executive Committee)

Charge document here [pdf]

  • Reports to the President's Staff
  • Makes most approvals
Sustainability Committee
  • Identifies policies and practices that promote the most efficient and responsible use of College resources
  • Monitors funds and grants pertaining to environmental sustainability; and
  • Coordinates and supports campus sustainability initiatives and efforts.

Crum Woods Stewardship Committee

  • Protects, restores, and provides stewardship for the Crum Woods
  • Maximizes the pedagogical, recreational, and recuperative value of the Woods

Carbon Charge Working Group

Charge document here [pdf]

  • Oversees greenhouse gas reduction strategies for the College
  • Decides governing processes for the Carbon Charge
  • Allocates funding generated by the Carbon Charge
Zero Waste Working Group
  • Oversees compost, recycling, trash logistics and contracts (hauling/processing)
  • Recommends goals and metrics for waste reduction, waste diversion, and environmental justice as it relates to zero waste efforts
Food Systems Working Group
  • The recently launched Food Systems Working Group (FSWG) works to improve Swarthmore's food system by focusing on food-growing on Swarthmore's campus, as well as food ordered, eaten, and catered with a focus on sustainability, nutrition, environment justice, and responsible purchasing practices.
  • FSWG will make recommendations to the Ecosphere, reporting to the Executive Committee and President's staff to inform short, medium, and long-term vision and goals for the development of curricular and co-curricular educational opportunities related to sustainable and just food systems at Swarthmore.