Sterling College has received a STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), ranking first in sustainability performance in Vermont and fourth in North America. AASHE is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information on a college or university’s sustainability performance.
Sterling’s STARS score increased from 75.2 in 2016 to 78.97 in 2017. Aiding the higher score under STARS 2.1—an updated, more rigorous survey—was a new installation of a solar array on the campus and Sterling’s #1 rating for the third year in a row from the Real Food Challenge.
“We have a deep appreciation for the work AASHE does because it is a rigorous assessment of collegiate commitment to sustainability. It is unlike the poorly-researched rankings colleges are induced to cite on social media,” said Sterling President Matthew Derr. “With AASHE, we have empirical results from a third party that we are working to lead with our values of environmental stewardship and that we have more to do. We don’t assert that we are first in sustainability or the whole country’s environmental college for a reason; this critical work is no place for marketing hyperbole. We encourage our peer colleges here in Vermont and and around the country to continue striving for greater gains in sustainability.”
He continued, “A lot of hard work from across the entire campus made this recognition possible. Sterling College has no special office, no Director of Sustainability, no isolation of our sustainability effort, because we expect every person in our community to push for more sustainable and ecologically sensitive choices.”
Ratings are valid for three years; however, Sterling College’s rank among other institutions can change as others join or renew their STARS submissions.
Sterling College’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website: https://stars.aashe.org/institutions/sterling-college-vt/report/2017-01-26/
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Sterling College has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold 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, 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.