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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.50
Liaison Alistair Hall
Submission Date July 22, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Vassar College
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.33 / 4.00 Alistair Hall
Sustainability Assistant
Dean of Strategic Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have current and formal plans to advance sustainability in the following areas? Do the plans include measurable objectives?:
Current and Formal Plans (Yes or No) Measurable Objectives (Yes or No)
Curriculum No ---
Research (or other scholarship) No ---
Campus Engagement Yes Yes
Public Engagement Yes Yes
Air and Climate Yes Yes
Buildings --- ---
Dining Services/Food No ---
Energy Yes No
Grounds Yes No
Purchasing No ---
Transportation No ---
Waste No ---
Water No ---
Diversity and Affordability No ---
Health, Wellbeing and Work No ---
Investment No ---
Other No ---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Curriculum:
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The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Curriculum plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Curriculum plan(s):
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A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Research (or other scholarship):
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Research plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Research plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Campus Engagement around sustainability:

The Campus Tree Care Plan, developed in September 2013 accordance with our Tree Campus USA certification calls for increased campus and broader community participation and education about the campus landscape.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Campus Engagement plan:

The Tree Care Plan requires an annual Arbor Day observance, an annual project that increases public engagement on campus, and a service learning project. In order to re-certify with the Arbor Day Foundation each year, evidence of each activity needs to be documented.

The main strategy currently for service-learning on campus currently entails teaching students about invasive species and doing vine removal.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Campus Engagement plan(s):

The Campus Tree and Landscape Committee, Vassar Sustainability.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Public Engagement around sustainability:

The Campus Tree Care Plan, developed in September 2013 accordance with our Tree Campus USA certification calls for increased campus and broader community participation and education about the campus landscape.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Public Engagement plan(s):

The Tree Care Plan requires an annual Arbor Day observance, an annual project that increases public engagement on campus, and a service learning project. In order to re-certify with the Arbor Day Foundation each year, evidence of each activity needs to be documented.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Public Engagement plan(s):

The Campus Tree and Landscape Committee, Vassar Sustainability.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Air and Climate:

In 2011, the college published a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.
In 2014, the college made the commitment to be a smoke and tobacco free campus


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Air and Climate plan(s):

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan calls for a 50% reduction of our total GHGs by 2020 and outlines some of the strategies we might employ to reach there.
In July 2015, the college will be smoke and tobacco free.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Air and Climate plan(s):

Vassar Sustainability and Buildings & Grounds are accountable for the plan.
The Smoke Free Task Force is responsible for implementation of the smoke-free plan.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Buildings:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Buildings plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Buildings plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Dining Services/Food:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Dining Services/Food plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Dining Services/Food plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Energy:

The Green House Gas Reduction Plan seeks to curb the College's annual GHG emissions to meet, and exceed, the recommendations of the National Wildlife Fund (2-3% reduction per year). The plan pursues its goals through primarily using natural gas for central heating; improving efficiency of heating and cooling systems; installing occupancy sensors and more efficient bulbs/fixtures for lighting systems; offsetting student and faculty travel through carbon offset credits; implementing geothermal, photovoltaic, and solar thermal power generation systems on campus; purchasing green power; encouraging energy conservation; and updating the College's fleet of vehicles to more fuel efficient options.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Energy plan(s):

Through the above methods, the College seeks to reduce its GHG emissions by at least 3% annually. This average annual decrease is with respect to the peak of annual emissions, 2004-2005 (30,500 MTCDE), and it requires the College to cut its GHG emissions by 915 MTCDE per year. By 2020, the GHG emission levels will be down 54% from 2005.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Energy plan(s):

Vassar Sustainability, Buildings & Grounds.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Grounds:

The 2011 Vassar College Landscape Master Plan addresses the broad categories of circulation, water, and planting. The plan shifts the emphasis from vehicular traffic to pedestrian traffic in the center of campus and reroutes pathways and roadways to better align with the picturesque landscape. Vehicular traffic and parking are pushed to the outskirts of campus. The campus as a whole is reinvigorated with plantings that reflect careful species selection, planting techniques, and maintenance, and planting that reduce mowed lawn coverage are emphasized. The last tenant calls for the management of stormwater with treatment prior to natural and ecologically sound drainage.

The Campus Tree Care Plan, developed in September 2013 accordance with our Tree Campus USA certification calls for following adopted policies for protecting and maintaining our campus trees, and tracking annual expenditures, plantings and removals.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Grounds plan(s):

In following the Tree Care Plan, annual expenditures, tree plantings, tree removals, volunteer hours all need to be tracked and reported.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Grounds plan(s):

Buildings & Grounds, Campus Tree and Landscape Committee, Vassar Sustainability.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Purchasing:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Purchasing plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Purchasing plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Transportation:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Transportation plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Transportation plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Waste:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Waste plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Waste plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Water:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Water plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Water plan(s):
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A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Diversity and Affordability:
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The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):
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Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Health, Wellbeing and Work:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Investment:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Investment plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Investment plan(s):
---

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in other areas:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the other plan(s):
---

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the other plan(s):
---

The institution’s definition of sustainability:
---

Does the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document include sustainability at a high level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

The 'Guiding Principles for Campus Master Planning' explicitly state that 'renovations and new construction should incorporate standards for environmental preservation and energy conservation.'
The Campus Master Planning Committee's key principles include functionality, safety, historic preservation, aesthetic integrity, sustainability and accessibility.


The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.