Westminster First in Utah to Receive STARS “Silver” Rating for Sustainability Achievements
SALT LAKE CITY– Westminster College has received a STARS “Silver” Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a new program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. Westminster is the first institution in the state to have achieved the rating.
Since 2007, the Westminster community has worked to incorporate sustainability into all facets of campus life. The college established a Sustainability Task Force, included sustainability guidelines in its master plan, and supported dozens of student sustainability efforts through its Environmental Center.
“The STARS assessment represents an important step in our sustainability work, as it incorporates not only climate concerns, but the social and economic aspects of sustainability as well,” explained Dr. Michael Bassis, Westminster president. “Through our 2004 strategic planning process, Westminster identified three areas of widespread student and faculty interest and expertise -- environment, diversity and civic engagement. I am pleased to see our work in each of these areas contribute to our overall STARS rating.”
AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall areas: 1) education & research, 2) operations, and 3) planning, administration & engagement.
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Paul Rowland. “Westminster has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”
Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada, and the criteria that determine a STARS Rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.
“I am perhaps most proud that the STARS effort at Westminster was completed largely by our talented and passionate students,” added Bassis. “Four of our campus sustainability fellows worked with students in an Introduction to Environmental Studies course to gather information from offices across campus. Their work represents the problem-based, engaged learning we prize at Westminster.”
For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org.
Media Contact: Krista DeAngelis, (801) 832-2682
June 13, 2011
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information visit www.westminstercollege.edu or follow @WestminsterSLC on Twitter.
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit www.aashe.org.