ND gets silver rating for sustainability

Author: Rachel Novick

Notre Dame has received a STARS Silver Rating 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.

STARS is a transparent assessment tool which enables meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements,” said Erin Hafner, Programs Manager in the Office of Sustainability. “We are using STARS to benchmark ourselves and to promote continuous improvement in all aspects of sustainability.”

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: Education and Research, Operations, and Planning, Administration and Engagement.

In Education and Research, the University received points for the diverse array of sustainability-related research programs conducted by faculty in every College as well as the many opportunities to learn about sustainability both in and out of the classroom. In Operations, the University’s $10 million investment in energy conservation measures earned substantial credit. Notre Dame’s strong partnership with local government and global commitment to community service earned many points in Planning, Administration and Engagement as well.

“Our Catholic mission calls us to be responsible stewards of the Earth, and over the last several years sustainability has increasingly become part of the culture on our campus,” said Shannon Cullinan, Associate Vice President, Campus Services. “We strive to integrate sustainability into all aspects of campus operations, from how we provide food to our students to how we design our buildings.”

STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Paul Rowland. “Notre Dame has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”