Washington University in St. Louis has earned a silver rating in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) inaugural Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) program.
STARS, which debuted this year, aims to objectively and quantitatively review the sustainability efforts and achievements of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. STARS is one of the first tools to attempt to holistically measure sustainability efforts on college campuses.
STARS — which was developed by AASHE with the input of colleges who are AASHE members, including WUSTL — was designed to help colleges and universities gauge their progress toward sustainability in three main areas:
- education and research;
- operations; and
- planning, administration and engagement.
The ratings are transparent, meaning all schools can see how their peers fared overall and in various categories, providing colleges and universities with common points of reference and comparison.
“The STARS program is a valuable benchmark and resource to support the advancement of Washington University’s overall sustainability efforts,” says Steven P. Hoffner, associate vice chancellor for operations.
“With the help of STARS, the university can better compare our progress in areas of sustainability with other institutions, share information and best practices with peers, and identify areas that can be targeted for improvement — all with the goal of improving the university’s sustainability and, along with that, our next STARS rating,” Hoffner says.
WUSTL’s silver rating is valid for three years, after which information will be resubmitted to AASHE for a new rating.
The Office of Sustainability worked during the past year to gather information from sources across campus to self-report to AASHE.
WUSTL was one of 57 schools to receive a silver rating. Twenty-two received gold and 22 received bronze.