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What is the STARS Rating System?

Today's tip is about a green rating system developed by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education called STARS — an acronym for Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System.

STARS is a way for colleges and universities to track and measure their sustainability performances. The self-reporting tool is available to any college or university in the United States or Canada. The system provides environmental, social and economic indicators in three categories related to campus activities. Those are: Education and Research; Operations; and Planning, Administration, and Engagement. Each of these categories includes subcategories such as Purchasing, Curriculum, Energy, and Human Resources. There is also an Innovation category to recognize pioneering practices that aren't covered by other STARS credits. Similar to LEED, points in each category are totaled and then a STARS rating of Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. A Reporter rating means the institution wished the score to remain private.

The process to use the system is simple — first register online at stars.aashe.org. Then, identify your institutional boundary and begin collecting data. Submit a STARS report and receive your STARS rating.

Currently, there are 195 institutions participating in STARS, including the University of Dayton, St. Louis University, and the University of Notre Dame. The fee to use STARS is $900 if you're an AASHE member and $1,400 if you're not. Find more information about STARS at stars.aashe.org.


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