Richland College Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements
Richland College has achieved a STARS Silver Rating in recognition of their 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.
Through its educational programs, services, processes and practices, Richland College is actively committed to the triple-bottom line of social equity and justice, economic viability and environmental vitality. Richland College students, faculty and staff are involved in instructional, service learning, social justice, recycling and waste minimization initiatives that help empower students to achieve their educational goals and become lifelong learners and responsible global citizens, building sustainable local and world community. The U.S. Green Building Council recently awarded LEED Platinum certification for Richland’s Sabine Hall science building and LEED Gold certification for Richland’s Garland Campus. It is Richland College’s intent that the systems and operations of these buildings function in ways that produce minimal impact to the environment and carbon footprint and provide daily, measurable lessons from which students, faculty, staff, and community visitors can learn and teach how a building can function in ways that are friendly, neutral, and sustaining to the environment.
“Richland College actively participates in AASHE STARS as an efficient, encouraging method for us to measure and track our performance excellence in various aspects of sustainability, as well as to benchmark data, processes and programs with other higher education institutions. Ever committed to our college vision to be the best place we can be to learn, teach and build sustainable local and world community, we are committed to modeling practices that promote a robust natural environment and an abundant quality of life for future generations,” stated Dr. Kay Eggleston, Richland College interim president.
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. “Richland College 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.
“Completing our STARS assessment let’s us see both how far we’ve come and what distance we still have to go. And the ability to compare with other colleges helps us determine whether where we are is where we should be. Best of all, we can learn from other colleges as we move forward,” said Dr. Mary Jo Dondlinger, Richland College director of institutional effectiveness.
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.
For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org.