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Our Ecosphere

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.

Explore this page for information on the myriad offices and projects within our Ecosphere, our governance structure, and more.

Hand drawn infographic of Swarthmore College's ecosphere


Our Governance

The Ecosphere’s committee governance structure includes several levels of operation. There are three central committees of this structure: the Sustainability Committee, the Crum Woods Stewardship Committee, and the Carbon Charge Committee - all of which are populated by appointed students, faculty, staff, and (for the Sustainability Committee) alumni and community members. Each of these three “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

Sustainability and Climate Executive Committee

Charge document here [pdf]

  • Reports to the President's Staff
  • Makes most approvals

Carbon Charge Committee

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.
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
Working Groups
  • Lead progress on specific topics
Sustainability Leadership Circle
  • Renews shared vision of the full governance structure