Originally published by The Newsroom at Auburn University on April 22nd, 2022
On Earth Day 2022, Auburn University is celebrating the achievement of receiving a STARS Silver Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, or AASHE.
STARS – Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System – measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. The Auburn University Office of Sustainability collaborated with the Academic Sustainability Program to conduct a comprehensive self-assessment throughout 2021 and submitted findings to STARS in February.
Along with this achievement, Auburn has been recognized in The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2022 Edition, and the university is a part of the U.S. chapter of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
“Auburn has just completed our fourth STARS assessment since 2012,” said Mike Kensler, director of the Office of Sustainability. “Each time the scoring has been tougher, yet each time Auburn’s sustainability performance rating has improved. Our latest assessment shows the most significant progress yet, leaving us a mere 0.87 point away from a STARS Gold rating.”
With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Auburn University has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver 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, 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.
“This achievement is a testament to Auburn’s leadership in the state of Alabama when it comes to sustainability efforts in teaching and research, outreach and engagement, university operations, and institutional planning and administration,” said Kensler. “With each assessment we discover new opportunities for progress and look forward to recording that progress in our next STARS report.”
The Auburn University STARS report is public and can be found online.