New Tool to Help Campuses Assess Resilience

Second Nature
 This post was written by Mindy Blank, Executive Director of Community Resilience Organizations (CROs).

What is the vision for resilience on your campus?

Resilience can be measured by learning from the past, examining the present, and envisioning and preparing for the future. Over the past few months CROs worked with Second Nature to develop a tool to help you zero in and evaluate where your campus is right now with its level of resilience and move toward your vision.

The Campus Evaluation of Resilience Dimensions is available online, and as a downloadable PDF.

One of the overarching goals of the new Campus Evaluation of Resilience Dimensions is to spark conversations that help schools envision the resilient future of their campus. It looks across sectors and intertwines them within an all-encompassing array of environmental, social, and economic factors in a campus-community.

The evaluation uses the dimensions of the PresidentsClimate Leadership Commitments and is a supportive tool that frames the reporting process with digestible, targeted criteria to rank with a 1-5 scoring system: 1 being vulnerable and 5 being resilient. Though a perfect 5 is very rare, it gives an inclusive picture of what makes up a resilient campus-community and gives ideas of what to aim for in implementation plans.

Excerpt from the Campus Evaluation of Resilience Dimensions:

Using this tool will give you a better picture of strengths and vulnerabilities, gaps in knowledge, actions that can be taken to address priorities and track progress over time. It will help you learn more about relationships between the campus and wider community – to recognize resource-sharing opportunities and dependencies, and to consider how you can coordinate more efficiently and supportively.

Green Mountain College

Green Mountain College (GMC) in Poultney, VT, was the first school to pilot the CROs resilience assessment framework, which informed the development of this evaluation tool. We organized a series of community workshops over three months – to complete the assessment, analyze gaps, and begin mapping out projects that respond to key vulnerabilities and leverage their greatest strength: community leadership! The priority projects they began developing address relationships on campus and with the wider Poultney community, emergency preparedness, and physical infrastructure. GMC’s Sustainability Coordinator, Ryan Irke, and resilience champion of the student body, Jacob Nelson, used this workshop series to inform their resilience report for Second Nature and an implementation plan to carry projects forward.

Ultimately, resilience relies on human connections and leadership as the backbone for healthy, dynamic systems. We hope that this tool will help you build connections, strengthen leadership, and move towards the vision of resilience on your campus.

The campus evaluation is adapted from the CROs Community Resilience Assessment that we created in 2015, which is geared toward building resilient towns, cities, and regions.

How schools can work with CROs on resilience:

  • Start a Resilience Team in your community or on campus. It’s easy, can be integrated into work that you’re already doing, and provides additional human and financial capacity.
  • Ask us to facilitate the Campus Evaluation of Resilience Dimensions and assessment framework.
  • Help us expand our capacity with a donation. We can’t provide communities with resources to tackle the most pressing issues of our time without the help of our generous donors. (Anything helps! Thank you!)
  • Simply learn more. Get in touch with Mindy Blank ([email protected]), Executive Director of CROs, and sit down for coffee to talk about community resilience, share ideas, and get to know each other.

The Campus Evaluation of Resilience Dimensions was developed with feedback from Second Nature’s CRUX initiative, and supported by the Kresge Foundation.
Top Photo of Resilience Workshop at Green Mountain College. Photo credit: Annie Tuthil