Participation in STARS involves collecting information about your institution’s sustainability initiatives and performance, documenting that information in the online Reporting Tool, and submitting a report to earn public recognition.
- OverviewThe path to a STARS Rating is outlined below and includes documenting your information in the Reporting Tool, checking that it is accurate and fully meets the criteria in the Technical Manual, and submitting a report to AASHE for final review and publication.
- ReportingTo participate in STARS, you will need to identify which credits you will be pursuing and collect the required information from campus stakeholders. Credits are organized into the following categories and detailed in the STARS Technical Manual:
- Academics (AC): Curriculum, Research
- Engagement (EN): Campus Engagement, Public Engagement
- Operations (OP): Air & Climate, Buildings, Energy, Food & Dining, Grounds, Purchasing, Transportation, Waste, Water
- Planning & Administration (PA): Coordination & Planning, Diversity & Affordability, Investment & Finance, Wellbeing & Work
- Innovation & Leadership (IN)
The information you collect must be documented in the STARS Reporting Tool. To assist in that process, you can give as many users as you like access to the online tool.
AASHE staff are available to help if you have questions along the way, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We also provide resources and support to help you manage data collection and interpret credit criteria.
Once you have finalized all the credits you intend to pursue, AASHE strongly recommends that you complete an assurance process to identify and resolve inconsistencies and potential errors before you submit your report. This can be as simple as using the STARS Review Template internally to double-check that common issues have been addressed or you can use the template to structure a more comprehensive, independent assurance process (and earn points for your efforts). Completing this step can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to publish your report and receive your rating.
- Submission & ReviewAs you prepare to submit your institution’s report, please consider scheduling a short telephone call with an AASHE staff member to go over any questions you may have and talk through the rating process. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a call.
Two types of reports may be submitted:
A STARS subscription and a cover letter from a high-ranking executive at your institution are required to submit a scored report for a STARS Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum Rating.
When you submit for a rating, AASHE staff will review your information for accuracy and adherence to credit criteria. Our goal is to return the review results to you within 30 days of submission. You will then have up to 60 additional days (or until the end of your current subscription) to address any issues that are identified.
Once you have addressed every issue, your report will be published and the appropriate rating will be awarded.
Alternatively, you may submit an unscored report and earn designation as a STARS Reporter without a subscription, an executive cover letter, or AASHE staff review. An unscored report may be submitted as often as once a year to update your institution’s information in the STARS Benchmarking Tool without changing an existing rating.
- Scoring & RecognitionYour institution’s final score will be based on the percentage of points it earns by pursuing relevant credits across Academics (AC), Engagement (EN), Operations (OP), and Planning & Administration (PA). Some credits may not apply to your institution. For example, the Food & Dining credits do not apply to institutions without dining services operations. This means that credits that are not relevant to your institution will not be counted against its score.
In addition, your institution may earn up to four Innovation & Leadership points for exemplary and path-breaking initiatives. These bonus points are added to the percentage-based score, as follows:
Public recognition is earned on the following basis. STARS only provides positive recognition. Each seal represents significant sustainability leadership.
Recognition Level Minimum Overall Score Reporter designation n/a Bronze Rating 25 Silver Rating 45 Gold Rating 65 Platinum Rating 85
Each STARS Report and Rating is valid for three years from the date of publication, although you can re-submit an updated report as often as once a year.