Sustainability Strengths Earn Upgrade to STARS Gold Rating

January 23, 2018
The national Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education granted the award based on the Wells community's advancements in sustainability policies and education.
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Wells College has been recognized with a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) based on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). The STARS rubric tracks a range of sustainability-related campus activities and practices on campus; Wells Center for Sustainability and the Environment Director Marian Brown collected data in each category over a period of several months in order to determine the scoring.

In the time since Wells’ 2016 STARS evaluation—which earned a rating of silver—the College has developed a number of new processes and programs, including the Finger Lakes Project curriculum development workshop, a sustainable procurement policy and participation in the Solarize CNY aggregated municipal solar power purchase project. The campus community increased its amount of community-service hours and sustainability-themed courses, reduced emissions and energy consumption and integrated better cleaning supplies and more local foods.

The College received top marks for innovation, with AASHE crediting the community seed exchange and solar project in addition to a professionally-appropriate clothing exchange and a “Sustain-a-Cell” project partnership with the biology program. Other categories in which Wells scored notably included curriculum (32.06 out of 37), coordination and planning (6.25 out of 8) and diversity and affordability (7.45 out of 10).

Following the publication of the College’s score—which notes a recent 100% green power purchasing contract—Wells has been invited to join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership program.

“Our excellent showing is a tribute to the great work of a number of good people internally at Wells who made more sustainable decisions and adopted more sustainable practices,” said Brown. “Thanks to their collective efforts, Wells College has become a recognized leader among sustainable campuses in an impressively short time.”

More than 400 institutions use the STARS tool. Nearly one quarter are gold-rated, including Cornell University, St. John’s University, Ohio State, George Washington University, and Columbia University. Data from our STARS assessment will be used by the “Princeton Review Guide to Green Schools” and Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” listing of institutions with strong commitments to sustainability education and “green” practices.

Learn more about the Wells College Center for Sustainability and the Environment at

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