TEMPE, Ariz. – In recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Arizona State University (ASU) has earned a STARS Gold rating. STARS®, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a transparent, self-assessment framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability. Institutions report their achievements in three overall areas: Education and Research; Operations; and Planning, Administration and Engagement. ASU earned its highest points in Planning, Administration and Engagement.
ASU received STARS® credits for a number of innovative programs such as its Campus Metabolism website and its Minor in Sustainability that is available to undergraduate students who are majoring in any discipline. ASU also received credits for the completion of its Carbon Neutrality Action Plan and its Sustainability Plan. Both plans are being utilized to conduct day-to-day operations in ways that help maximize the university’s positive impacts and provide optimal living, working, and learning environments.
“This STARS Gold rating is especially meaningful to the university as it is a testament to all of our many change agents here at ASU, and that their individual and collective efforts are being recognized,” says Ray Jensen, associate vice president, university business services and university sustainability operations officer.
Impacting four campuses at the largest public university in the U.S., ASU’s sustainability program is known for the bold-vision established by ASU President Michael Crow that spans all university functions – research, curriculum, outreach and engagement programs, and operational efforts. The university has established the following comprehensive, sustainability operations goals:
• Carbon Neutrality
• Zero Solid/Water Waste
• Active Engagement
• Principled Practice
ASU uses its experience with the AASHE STARS data-collection process to refine annual benchmarks used to assess its progress in advancing its university-wide sustainability program.
“Over the years, our involvement with STARS has helped us teach future leaders how to engage the community and demonstrate their commitment through effective sustainability practices,” says Rob Melnick, executive dean and research scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability. “Making bold commitments and tracking our progress is essential to our success, and it helps us to keep an eye on the primary goal of improving the world around us.”
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