STARS was created by and for higher education and designed to ensure that participation has multiple benefits.
- 1. Gain international recognition for your sustainability efforts.Join the hundreds of higher education institutions around the world that have already earned a STARS Rating.
Rated institutions are featured in AASHE’s annual Sustainable Campus Index (SCI), which highlights best practices and top performers by impact area and institution type, and are included in the STARS Benchmarking Tool, which allows AASHE members to compare institutions on their sustainability performance.
In addition, STARS rated institutions in the U.S. and Canada may also be featured in popular sustainability rankings such as The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, and BestColleges.com’s Greenest Universities.
- 2. Generate new ideas.Whether your institution is just starting out or an established leader in sustainability, STARS will help you identify best practices that you can implement locally.
The biggest benefit of STARS was that it has generated new ideas. Given that STARS is so widely used, the credits we were not able to attain are looked at as suggestions that we hope to implement in the future.
This quotation is from a STARS participant (as are all the quotations on this page).
- 3. Engage your community.STARS is a great organizing tool to engage students, staff, faculty members, and administrators in building a culture of sustainability on campus and beyond.
[STARS] promotes collaboration between our sustainability office and other departments who provide data; in some cases other partnerships grew out of what was initiated by requesting data for STARS.
It has opened lines of communication and has expanded sustainability understanding across campus.
- 4. Create a baseline for continuous improvement.STARS will allow you to comprehensively measure your institution’s current sustainability performance and assess your progress, both internally and in comparison to peer institutions.
It is a great benefit to have a uniform method for recording and reporting data regularly.
The STARS rating gave our institution something to celebrate, and the credits provided both food for thought in terms of what goals are achievable in our current context and what we might try to achieve in the long term.
We now have more of a common vocabulary to talk about STARS-related topics. We also know where we need to go to improve in each of the categories. And because we are working with STARS, we have greater validity with others to get some of these other improvements developed and implemented.
- 5. Inform strategic planning and budgeting.STARS 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.
Due to administrative changes at the institution, it was very difficult to generate momentum and interest, however, the results of the data collection will be used to draft a Sustainability Strategic Plan which will fulfill the requirements of the College Strategic Plan.
STARS gives a certain amount of legitimacy to the resources [the institution] has put to sustainability, it provides positive reinforcement for efforts already underway and it shines a light on the whole spectrum of sustainability work happening on campus, all three of which will give institutional weight to sustainability moving forward, in our strategic planning process and in the budgeting process with a new office of sustainability.
- 6. Integrate sustainability into the curriculum.Many institutions include STARS in sustainability courses and co-curricular programming. Participation also allows you to assess your current course offerings and identify areas for improvement.
The most important benefit was pedagogical. We look forward to continuing to use STARS as a central part of our environmental studies and sustainability capstone courses.
- 7. Make real progress towards sustainability.Nine 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 institutions.Institutions 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: