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Business and Policy Areas
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Call for Pilot Institutions and Reviewers for National Sustainability Rating System

October 31, 2007

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) seeks pilot institutions and reviewers to comment on drafts of an assessment and self-evaluation tool for college and university campuses. The project, STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System), intends to rate institution sustainability efforts nationwide.

STARS has been under development for more than a year, with input and guidance from the higher education community. The rating system includes four main evaluation areas-governance and finance, social responsibility and student engagement, education and research, and operations-with the goal of providing a usable, comprehensive measurement of effectiveness for sustainability in higher education. Within the governance and finance category are sections on "funding" and "investment." The system is currently in its comments phase.

NACUBO members and staff are represented on the technical and strategic advisory committees. For a complete list of committee members, see http://www.aashe.net/stars/committees.php#strategic

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 continuous improvement toward sustainability; and 
  • build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.

The pilot phase will begin in early 2008. Pilot institutions will test-run the STARS checklist and provide feedback on the process to AASHE.  Information from the pilot phase will be used to set thresholds of achievement by institutional type and to adjust specific indicators. A diverse group of participating institutions in this phase will ensure accurate threshold setting before the release of version 1.0 in 2009. 

To learn more about STARS or become a pilot institution or reviewer, visit www.aashe.org/stars, or contact Judy Walton, STARS Project Manager, at judy@aashe.org.