AASHE Releases STARS: A Year In Review
AASHE has released its first annual report, “STARS: A Year in Review.” From sustainability research opportunities to sustainable dining efforts to campus-wide social justice initiatives, this report details the sustainability efforts found in the inaugural submissions to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, Rating & System (STARS). Thirty-seven institutions submitted their STARS Reports in time for inclusion in the review. There are more than 200 additional institutions participating in STARS that will be submitting reports for a Rating in the coming year. The complete Review may be accessed from the STARS website: stars.aashe.org.
In addition to a broad range of information provided in the institutional reports submitted by STARS Participants, “STARS: A Year in Review.” captures the insights and knowledge gained by those institutions during the reporting process. Of particular note are the following findings:
• Of the first 37 submissions, which came from a variety of institution types, eight earned a Gold Rating, 19 earned Silver, nine earned Bronze, and one earned a Reporter Rating.
• Seven of the eight STARS Gold institutions scored more than 17 of the 18 possible points in the Co-Curricular Education subcategory, which focuses on non-academic programming that supports sustainability learning.
• On average, 58% of the applicable points in the water subcategory were earned by STARS Participants.
• Ten institutions earned 100% of the points available in both the Diversity and Affordability subcategory and the Coordination and Planning subcategory, which together include a total of 13 sustainability indicators.
• A total of 71 sustainability innovations were reported (nearly two per institution)
Launched more than a year ago by the AASHE, STARS is the only system of its kind that involves public reporting of comprehensive information related to a college’s or university’s sustainability performance. STARS provides institutions with a standardized assessment tool to evaluate their progress toward sustainability. The system includes 139 environmental, economic, and social indicators, which are divided into four categories related to campus activities: Education & Research, Operations, Planning, Administration & Engagement, and Innovation. All of the requirements for evaluating and scoring an institution are transparent and made publicly available.
STARS is a self-reporting system, which is open to all institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada. Participants collect data that fulfills the criteria for STARS credits and submit their data through an online Reporting Tool. Once the institution’s report is submitted, it receives a Reporter, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum Rating and the STARS Report becomes publicly available for viewing on the STARS website. Prior to becoming public, the STARS Report requires sign off by the institution’s highest ranking executive.
The STARS Program provides ongoing opportunities for institutions to participate. Registration information and additional details on the program are available on the STARS website, stars.aashe.org.
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