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AASHE Calls for Comments on STARS Draft
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has released the next draft of its Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The release of STARS version 0.5 opens a public comment period that lasts through May 9.
Given the rapid growth of sustainability initiatives at institutions of higher education in North America, measuring and assessing progress toward sustainability goals has become increasingly important. STARS is designed to:
* help gauge the progress of colleges and universities toward sustainability in all sectors, from governance and operations to academics and community engagement
*enable meaningful comparisons across institutions, as well as benchmarking within institutions
* create incentives for continual improvement toward sustainability
* facilitate information sharing about sustainability practices and performance
* build a stronger, more diverse sustainability community.
Many institutions have undertaken sustainability assessments, and a variety of assessment tools are available. But no system translates a range of sustainability indicators into one metric that enables both institutional benchmarking and easier comparison across a large number of campuses in terms of overall level of achievement, according to AASHE.
Using STARS, campuses can earn credits in three categories: education and research; operations; and administration and finance. More than 90 colleges and universities are pilot-testing STARS, and they will provide feedback to AASHE throughout 2008 and inform the development of STARS version 1.0, planned for release in spring 2009.