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"STARS: A Sustainability Assessment and Rating System for Colleges and Universities"
Author: Walton, Judy,
Published In: Facilities Manager
Date: March/April 2008

Given the rapid growth of sustainability initiatives at institutions of higher education in the United States, measuring and assessing progress toward sustainability goals has become increasingly important. While many institutions have undertaken campus-wide assessments of their progress toward sustainability, and while a variety of sustainability assessment tools and frameworks are available, there is currently no system that assesses and compares a large number of campuses in terms of overall level of sustainability achievement. Such a system would address all the dimensions of sustainability (social, economic, and ecological) and all the functions of a campus, from curriculum and research to operations and community outreach. It would also need to recognize that even the most accomplished colleges and universities may still have a long way to go before achieving comprehensive sustainability. Despite the challenges, development of such a system is now underway. This article discusses STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System), a sustainability assessment and rating system for colleges and universities. The pilot phase of STARS was launched in early February, 2008 with more than 90 participating campuses. Following the year-long pilot phase, the official 1.0 version of STARS is scheduled for release in spring 2009.

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