In recognition of efforts to make the campus a more environmentally friendly place to learn and work, Missouri University of Science and Technology recently achieved a “Silver” rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).
STARS is a national program designed to help colleges and universities measure their environmental and other sustainability efforts. The program was developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, or AASHE.
“The STARS designation highlights Missouri S&T’s commitment to environmental sustainability while educating students who are aware of the importance of good environmental stewardship,” says Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader. “We’re very proud to participate in this program and to be associated with many other institutions that also place a strong emphasis on sustainability.”
AASHE’s STARS program allows colleges and universities to publicly report information related to their sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three areas: education and research, operations, and planning, administration and engagement.
Missouri S&T is one of 103 universities across the nation to achieve the silver STARS designation. STARS also offers Bronze, Gold and Platinum designations to institutions that achieve certain levels, and only 37 have attained a Gold rating. To date, no institution has attained a platinum rating.
Missouri S&T’s notable achievements in the area of environmental sustainability include:
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” says AASHE Executive Director Paul Rowland. “Missouri S&T 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 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.
“We are very proud to have achieved a STARS Rating for our sustainability accomplishments. We look forward to watching our sustainability efforts grow and improve through the STARS program,” says Dr. Joel Burken, professor of civil and environmental engineering and chair of the Green Campus Committee. The committee works to promote sustainable practices across campus.
“The results of the STARS assessment will serve as a guide for our sustainability efforts,” says Angela Rolufs, director of Missouri S&T’s office of sustainable energy and environmental engagement (OSE3). “One of the goals will be to raise our scores in those areas where we have the opportunity for improvement. We also plan to broaden our definition of campus sustainability to include economic and societal factors, along with our impacts on the environment. This will allow us to be better aligned with AASHE and the STARS process.”
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research.
It’s initiatives like these which give us all hope.
I’ve just been doing my occasional scan of news stories, across the internet, relating to renewable energy developments, and was staggered to read a number of articles relating to the curtailing of government investment in wind power.
On further investigation I then found studies that were worried about wind turbines causing global warming because of the hot air they produce. I considered replying to these studies, and suggesting that the scientists involved were perhaps supplying more hot air than the turbines, but I’m not convinced they would have understood my comment.
My next stop was here, and having read what your students can do, will do, and quite clearly achieve, it has given me a greater feeling of hope than I had half an hour ago. I only wish that the politicians and policy makers read more blog posts like yours, and then maybe they’d realise that it really is time for a bit of change in thinking.
Thanks, and good luck with the projects,
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