Smith Goes Sustainable with AASHE

22 Jun

This summer, Monique and I have been working on a sustainability assessment called STARS.  STARS stands for Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System.  It’s a self reporting tool for colleges and universities across the nation to measure our sustainability performance and practices.  This system will allow all types of institutions to compare sustainability efforts from a broad perspective, giving us incentive to continue improving our sustainability efforts.  STARS will give us a rating of bronze, silver, gold, or platinum when we make our submission.  Because this is a completely transparent report, we can be recognized for our school’s efforts, while having access to other participating institutions’ submissions to see what kinds of sustainability efforts they have going on.  In 3 years, we will re-submit to STARS, which will give us time to improve our rating.  The consistency in this reporting tool will help set solid guidelines and direction for institutions to head into the future.

I really love how STARS encompasses the “Three E’s” of sustainability, which stand for Economy, Ecology, and Equity.  This broad view of sustainability is represented in STARS through reporting categories in the school’s environmental, social, and economic performance and practices.  This process has certainly helped me broaden my own view of sustainability, thinking it in terms that had never before crossed my mind.

The process has been a lot of teamwork between Monique and I.  We’ve been browsing the web, sending emails, making contacts, and making use of campus resources in order to find information for the different categories.  Much of the time, we have to be detectives in order to seek out the right information.  Check out the STARS website for yourself, here:



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