Can we use STARS to report on our contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Yes, a college or university may use STARS to measure and report on its contributions towards the SDGs. Because the two frameworks share a similar intent and scope, at a very high level an institution’s STARS score or rating can be used to demonstrate progress towards supporting the SDGs. To assist institutions with identifying more specific contributions, the STARS 2.2 Technical Manual includes information about the SDGs to which an institution’s performance in each STARS subcategory (e.g., Curriculum, Public Engagement, Energy, and so on) contributes most directly.

Due to higher education’s critical role as a driver of teaching, learning, and collaboration for sustainability, STARS credits and indicators related to curriculum, research, and public engagement are of particular relevance in assessing an institution’s global impact. Therefore, an institution that would like to use STARS to report on the SDGs should also consider the following:

  • Use the SDG targets as a framework for identifying which course offerings provide students with the knowledge and skills to help address sustainability challenges (A​C-1: Academic Courses and ​EN-12: Continuing Education​). See, for example, University College Cork’s course inventory. 
  • Identify scholarly output (e.g., published research or faculty research interests) that contributes to specific SDG targets (AC-9: Research and Scholarship​).
  • Identify collaborations and partnerships that contribute to specific SDG targets (​e.g., EN-10: Community Partnerships​, ​EN-11: Inter-Campus Collaboration,​ EN-13: Community Service, and ​EN-14: Participation in Public Policy​).

AASHE will be publishing more extensive guidance about using STARS to report on the SDGs in early 2020.

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