STARS was created by and for higher education and designed to ensure that participation has multiple benefits.
- 1. Gain international recognition for your sustainability effortsJoin the hundreds of higher education institutions around the world that have already earned a STARS rating. Rated institutions:
- Receive a certificate, a STARS Seal, and access to other materials to help the institution promote its sustainability achievements.
- Are included in the STARS Benchmarking Tool, which allows AASHE members to compare institutions on their sustainability performance.
- Are featured in AASHE’s annual Sustainable Campus Index (SCI), which highlights best practices and top performers by impact area and institution type.
- Are eligible to be featured in popular sustainability rankings such as The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, and BestColleges.com’s Greenest Universities.
STARS provides the University of Richmond with the best campus-wide assessment of sustainability available to colleges and universities. STARS allows us to track change over time, establish baselines for new goals, and compare our progress with peers. Leaders in sustainability in higher education continually improve the assessment tool, so STARS also serves as a guide for what the best minds in the field believe is important to sustainability on campus. – Rob Andrejewski, University of Richmond
The ongoing internationalization of STARS has ensured it is as useful for universities in Australasia as other regions of the world. We found the experience to be challenging for our inaugural submission but a critical element in progressing our sustainability commitments and highlighting areas where additional focus will help achieve more holistic sustainability outcomes. Future submissions will be significantly easier. – Corey Peterson, University of Tasmania
Since USFQ’s pilot participation in STARS, the tool has been a guideline for our action plans and execution. It has greatly helped promote and communicate the significance of engaging in sustainability within and without the institution, serving as an instrument to leverage resources and recognition from the administration and the community. This has driven USFQ’s sustainability performance and is a major catalyst for our continued improvement. – Maria Jose Ayala, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
- 2. Engage your communitySTARS is a great organizing tool to engage students, staff, faculty members, and administrators in building a culture of sustainability on campus and beyond.
If you are a new sustainability leader at your institution and are looking for a way to get started – use STARS. You’ll get a comprehensive baseline data set, learn the ins and outs of your university, and meet everyone you need to know. The rating is great, but the data, the understanding of the institution, and the relationships are what you need to build an effective sustainability program. – Josh Nease, Radford University
The AASHE STARS tool served as an easy to follow yet comprehensive roadmap for moving sustainability forward at the university level. It forces collaboration and helps to get the campus community thinking about sustainability in all of its dimensions. – Patrick McKee, Eastern Kentucky University
STARS helped us collaborate with people at the university who never saw themselves as connected to sustainability efforts. – Nicholas Kordesch, San Francisco State University
- 3. Generate new ideasWhether your institution is just starting out or an established leader in sustainability, STARS will help you identify best practices that you can implement locally.
Engaging the campus community in the AASHE STARS reporting has provided direction for our sustainability goals, given us new ideas, and engaged every office at the College in this most important work. – Holly Anne Andersen, Bennington College
STARS helped us justify doing a campus sustainability survey to gather data on sustainability culture, literacy, and commute modes. I’m not sure we would have gotten around to it as quickly if we weren’t pursuing a STARS rating. It has also been helpful to point to peer institutions’ STARS ratings and learn from their reports. We found value in having a common framework that all universities use. We intend to use the results of the STARS process to inform a strategic planning process. I imagine the STARS scores for each credit will help us identify some areas to prioritize for future work. – Amir Nadav, University of St. Thomas
- 4. Create a baseline for continuous improvementSTARS will allow you to comprehensively measure your institution’s current sustainability performance and assess your progress, both internally and in comparison to peer institutions.
STARS has helped our campus unify around shared goals and established standards, allowing us to more quickly move our sustainability efforts forward. – Amy Seeboth-Wilson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Conducted during the first year of our sustainability program, data collection for the STARS reporting process allowed us to launch a campus-wide sustainability discourse, identify sustainability successes and champions, and plan new initiatives for the future. – Wendy Olmstead, California State University Stanislaus
Being a longtime reporting institution, the STARS program helps us benchmark our progress and gives us measurable steps towards reaching future goals. I think that the breadth of the reporting helps others on our campus understand that sustainability is multifaceted – it’s about social, economic, and environmental well being. We appreciate the way that the STARS report allows us to engage with other centers on campus. It is truly collaborative work. – Toby Cain, Luther College
- 5. Inform strategic planning and budgetingSTARS can serve as a framework to help integrate sustainability into your institution’s planning and development efforts. Participants have used STARS as the basis for their sustainability reports and strategic sustainability plans. In addition, your STARS rating or score can be incorporated into your institution’s overall strategic plan as an indicator of progress toward sustainability.
STARS is an excellent tool for making your University’s sustainability goals tangible and measurable. By seeing what sustainability means in concrete terms, allows the University to develop clear action plans. – Hannes Gerhardt, University of West Georgia
As a direct result of the STARS process we are currently developing our university’s FIRST EVER sustainability strategic plan. Departments are now more energized than ever to play a role in making our campus more sustainable. – Mathew Bain, Montana State University
We use STARS as our primary tool to track progress toward a more sustainable university. STARS’ depth, and particularly its breadth, make it a useful tool in telling our story to a diverse and varied audience. Because STARS looks relatively comprehensively at sustainability across an entire enterprise, there is something for just about everyone in the data. From it we also build our annual sustainability report that combines data with storytelling for a more complete and relatable snapshot of our successes and challenges in creating a more sustainability institution and society. – Brandon Trelstad, Oregon State University
- 6. Integrate sustainability into teaching, learning and researchMany institutions include STARS in sustainability courses and co-curricular programming. Participation also provides an opportunity to assess your current course offerings and scholarship and identify areas for improvement.
There are many ways but one of the most significant ways STARS positively impacted our institution was in the creation of our new academic sustainability office, the Sustainability Practices and Research Center (SPARC). This office would not have been created if it had not had STARS showing us all of the work that could be, and needed to be, done on the academic front. – Jennifer Bodine, Weber State University
While we are early in this process, we have already seen a heightened interest on campus in sustainability related activities and research. For instance, one of our SUS majors received a coveted Summer Scholars Research Award to work on enhancing various subsections in our STARS report such as drafting additional policies to ensure best practices continue on campus and completing additional research related to rainwater, dining services, and more. – Dr. Franklin Lebo, Baldwin Wallace University
- 7. Make real progress towards sustainabilityNine out of ten participants report that STARS has instigated changes that have moved or will move their institutions toward being more sustainable.
- 8. Be part of a global community of STARS institutionsInstitutions in the following countries are using the STARS Reporting Tool to measure their sustainability performance, making STARS the most widely recognized standard for higher education sustainability in the world: