Colorado State University Becomes First Institution to Earn AASHE STARS Platinum Rating


Contact: Andrea Huggins
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
(888) 347-9997 ext. 123

Dell Rae Ciaravola
Senior Public Relations Coordinator
Colorado State University
(970) 491-6009

Colorado State University Becomes First Institution to Earn AASHE STARS Platinum Rating

Denver, Colorado (March 23, 2015) – Colorado State University is the first institution to earn a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Platinum rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements. The report is publicly available on the STARS website. STARS measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education and is a signature program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

“This accomplishment highlights the continuous improvement that comes as a result of participating in STARS to achieve campus sustainability goals,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Colorado State University has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by earning a STARS Platinum rating and is to be congratulated for its efforts.”

Colorado State University (CSU) was one of the first institutions to participate in STARS as part of the pilot program in 2011. The Platinum report is the institution's third submission and represents CSU's strong foundation as a land grant institution with a comprehensive and collaborative approach to sustainability that dates back to the first campus farm in the 1880's. CSU offers more than 962 sustainability-related courses, more than 90 percent of the academic departments on campus are engaged in sustainability research and CSU students participate in more than one dozen sustainability immersion programs. Learn more about CSU's story in reaching this achievement here.

“This STARS rating reaffirms that CSU is a national leader in building a sustainable, environmentally responsible campus community,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “That commitment to sustainability is woven through Colorado State’s academics, research, student engagement, operations, planning and administration by the conscious efforts of our students, faculty and staff. There is no one office in charge of sustainability at Colorado State – it’s a collective effort of the entire community, and we’ve made progress because of the vision, hard work and tireless dedication of many, many people.”

Launched in 2009, STARS was developed by the higher education community through a transparent and inclusive process. With the release of Version 2 in 2014, STARS became available to all higher education institutions worldwide. With nearly 700 participants spanning six continents, STARS is the most accessible and widely recognized framework for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to higher education sustainability performance. Participating institutions report achievements in academics, campus & community engagement, operations and planning & administration.

In line with AASHE’s Platinum Review protocol and Data Accuracy Policy, AASHE staff reviewed the contents of Colorado State University’s report prior to publication to ensure that credit criteria and intent were met. More details about Colorado State University’s submission are outlined in a blog post on the AASHE website.

“Colorado State University has a long history of outreach, research and academic programs focused on sustainability, much of which started long before sustainability was even a buzz word,” said Amy Parsons, CSU’s vice president for operations. “Becoming the first university to receive STARS Platinum recognition for comprehensive commitment to sustainability – not just in research and teaching, but also in our commitment to infusing sustainability as a way of life on campus – is a credit to the efforts of hundreds of current and former faculty, staff and students who have embraced the concept of caring for and about our environment for many years.”

About the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE):
AASHE is helping to create a brighter future of opportunity for all by advancing sustainability in higher education. By creating a diverse community engaged in sharing ideas and promising practices, AASHE provides administrators, faculty, staff and students, as well as the businesses that serve them, with: thought leadership and essential knowledge resources; outstanding opportunities for professional development; and a unique framework for demonstrating the value and competitive edge created by sustainability initiatives. For more information, visit Follow AASHE on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about the STARS program, visit

About Colorado State University:
Founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College, Colorado State University is now among the nation’s leading research universities, with annual expenditures topping $300 million. Located in Fort Collins, CSU currently enrolls about 22,500 undergraduate students, 4,000 graduate students and 500 professional veterinary medicine students. The university has more than 1,700 faculty members working in eight colleges on four local campuses and online. More information is available at