Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The University of Iowa has received a STARS gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, is a program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. To read the report, click here.

“Completing STARS is an important step in validating our sustainability achievements and charting the course toward new efforts,” says UI President Sally Mason. “It is the most comprehensive report of campus sustainability progress we’ve produced to date. We are honored that AASHE has recognized our excellent progress."

The UI has taken significant steps in its long-term planning to improve campus sustainability. In 2010, the school adopted seven 2020 Sustainability Targets that address energy conservation, renewable energy, waste diversion, carbon efficient transportation, student success in sustainability, research (especially in the area of sustainable water resources), and partnerships to promote sustainability for all Iowans. To formalize its commitment, Mason also signed a sustainability partnership agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“We are very proud to have achieved a Gold STARS Rating for our sustainability accomplishments. We look forward to growing and improving our sustainability efforts,” says Liz Christiansen, director of the UI Office of Sustainability. “The STARS profile will provide our new Charter Committee on Sustainability a great place to start.”

AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in 135 different areas in three overall categories: education and research; operations; and planning, administration and engagement.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” says AASHE Executive Director Wendy Scott. “The University of Iowa has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada, and the criteria that determine a STARS Rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

For more information about AASHE, click here.

For more information about the STARS program, click here.