The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS®) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS is intended to engage and recognize the full spectrum of colleges and universities - from community colleges to research universities - and encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability.
STARS is designed to:
- Provide a framework for understanding sustainability in all sectors of higher education.
- Enable meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements developed with broad participation from the international campus sustainability community.
- Create incentives for continual improvement toward sustainability.
- Facilitate information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance.
- Build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.
STARS is composed up of credits that span the breadth of higher education sustainability and include performance indicators and criteria organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration (see the STARS Technical Manual for details). An institution may pursue credits that are applicable to its particular context and earn points toward a STARS Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum rating or to earn recognition as a STARS Reporter.
STARS only provides positive recognition - each level of recognition represents significant sustainability leadership. Participating in STARS, which includes gathering extensive data and sharing it publicly, represents a commitment to sustainability that should be applauded.
How to Participate
Any college or university in the world can register to begin tracking, managing and sharing information about its sustainability efforts using the online STARS Reporting Tool. There are two levels of access available:
1. Use the basic access option to track progress and share data. Basic access is available at no cost for institutions that are just getting started in sustainability or that would like to use STARS internally before making the commitment to pursue a rating. Basic access includes the option to share data with third party organizations and to earn public recognition as a STARS Reporter. A STARS Reporter can tailor its public report to focus on those impact areas that are most material to the institution.
2. Use the full access option to benchmark against other institutions and earn a STARS rating. Whenever your institution is ready to take the next step, you can purchase a full access STARS subscription. In addition to the basic features outlined above, full access users also have access to automated scoring, are able to benchmark their performance against institutions of a similar type, and have the option to earn a STARS Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum rating (valid for three years). Rated institutions are featured in the annual Sustainable Campus Index, which highlights top performers and best practices.
Created by Higher Education for Higher Education
The current version of STARS incorporates feedback, suggestions, and lessons learned since the launch of STARS 1.0 in January 2010. While STARS is the most thoroughly vetted and extensively tested international sustainability framework for colleges and universities, it is by no means perfect. The current version of STARS is intended to stimulate, not end, the conversation about how to measure and benchmark sustainability in higher education. AASHE welcomes your feedback and participation in continuing to refine and shape the system. To learn more view our Technical Development Policy or submit your inquiries about STARS to firstname.lastname@example.org.