For several months, Wells' Center for Sustainability and the Environment collected data on a range of sustainability-related campus activities and practices. For this review, the Center's Director Marian Brown applied the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), an objective rubric developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. On completion of our first STARS assessment, Wells was pleased to earn a Silver STARS rating.
There are over 200 eligible credits in 65 different STARS categories. Areas in which we scored well include Academic courses (11.99/14); Learning Outcomes (6.79/8.00); Academic Research (10.89/12); Outreach Materials and Publications (2/2); Community Partnerships (3/3); Biodiversity (2/2); Electronics Purchasing (0.94/1); Student Commute Modal Split (1.86/2); Rainwater Management (2/2); Sustainability Planning (4/4); Governance (3/3); Diversity & Equity Coordination (2/2); Support for Underrepresented Groups (2/2); and Wellness Programs (1/1). The STARS system is also useful in that it points out where and how we might make additional progress, and Marian and the Sustainability Advisory Committee are already working with various departments to plan improvements.
More than 750 institutions use the STARS tool, and the Silver rating puts us in company with over 125 schools including Boston University, Elon University, Michigan State, Ohio University, and President Gibralter’s prior school, Frostburg State University. Data from our STARS assessment is also used by the Princeton Review’s Green Survey and Sierra Cool Schools for their identification of institutions with very strong commitments to sustainability education and “green” practices.