Focusing on sustainabilityinitiatives on college and university campuses, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has launched Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating Systems (STARS). The voluntary, self-reporting system aims to assist campuses in the United States and Canada move forward with environmental action in relation to buildings, food service, curriculum, and campus operations, and it is open to community colleges, research institutions, and private and public universities.

Institutions participating in the program earn points in three categories: education and research; operations; and planning, administration, and engagement. Each of these categories has subcategories such as purchasing, curriculum, energy, and human resources. Similar to the LEED rating system, STARS allocates points in each category and subcategory, with the total resulting in one of five levels: Reporter, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Participants have 12 months to submit program data to AASHE through an online reporting tool. After each institution’s point person has submitted their credit application, that institution’s president or chancellor must guarantee that the submitted information is true. Once this step is completed, the information submitted will be made publicly available through the STARS website. When all required information is submitted, the institution will receive a rating that is valid for three years, after which an institution must submit a new report to renew or upgrade their rating.


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