Utah State University Registers in New Sustainability Rating System
Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012
Utah State University will participate in a new program to encourage sustainability in all aspects of higher education. The program — the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) — is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
To date, nearly 230 higher education institutions have registered as STARS participants and Utah State University joined them Oct. 22, 2012. STARS will serve as a tool for the university to evaluate its performance on social, economic and environmental sustainability.
“USU has a tradition of sustainability initiatives and environmental stewardship,” said Alexi Lamm, USU’s new sustainability coordinator. “We’ve been recycling for more than 20 years, Aggie Blue Bikes connects the campus community with sustainable transportation and Utah State was the first university in Utah to sign the Presidents’ Climate Commitment to achieve climate neutrality.”
AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall areas: 1) education & research, 2) operations, and 3) planning, administration & engagement.
“The advantage of STARS is that institutions can earn credits for all of their contributions to sustainability,” said AASHE Executive Director Paul Rowland. “From providing sustainability coursework, to using green cleaning products, to energy efficiency in campus buildings, there are lots of opportunities for a school to identify and track its sustainability progress.”
Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone on the STARS website. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.
“Students, faculty and staff will be collaborating throughout the process to help the university work toward a sustainable future,” said Lamm. “STARS will help us work more effectively.”
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit its website.
More information about the STARS program is at its website.
Contact: Alexi Lamm, sustainability coordinator, (435) 797-9299, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Paul Rowland, executive director, AASHE, (720) 346-1432, Paul.email@example.com