August 25, 2011

ASU's sustainability achievements rated GOLD

Posted: August 25, 2011
Students sort through trash for recyclable items at the 2009 Dumpster Dive event at ASU's West campus.

In recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Arizona State University has earned a STARS Gold rating.

STARS®, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a transparent, self-assessment framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability. Institutions report their achievements in three overall areas: Education and Research; Operations; and Planning, Administration and Engagement. ASU earned its highest points in Planning, Administration and Engagement.

ASU received STARS® credits for a number of innovative programs such as its Campus Metabolism website and its Minor in Sustainability that is available to undergraduate students who are majoring in any discipline. ASU also received credits for the completion of its Carbon Neutrality Action Plan and its Sustainability Plan. Both plans are being utilized to conduct day-to-day operations in ways that help maximize the university’s positive impacts and provide optimal living, working, and learning environments.

“This STARS Gold rating is especially meaningful to the university as it is a testament to all of our many change agents here at ASU, and that their individual and collective efforts are being recognized,” says Ray Jensen, associate vice president, university business services and university sustainability operations officer.

Impacting four campuses at the largest public university in the U.S., ASU’s sustainability program is known for the bold-vision established by ASU President Michael Crow that spans all university functions – research, curriculum, outreach and engagement programs, and operational efforts. The university has established the following comprehensive, sustainability operations goals:

• Carbon Neutrality
• Zero Solid/Water Waste
• Active Engagement
• Principled Practice

ASU uses its experience with the AASHE STARS data-collection process to refine annual benchmarks used to assess its progress in advancing its university-wide sustainability program.

“Over the years, our involvement with STARS has helped us teach future leaders how to engage the community and demonstrate their commitment through effective sustainability practices,” says Rob Melnick, executive dean and research scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability. “Making bold commitments and tracking our progress is essential to our success, and it helps us to keep an eye on the primary goal of improving the world around us.”

To view full report, click here.

About ASU Campus Sustainability and University Sustainability Business Practices
The ASU sustainability vision begins internally with university-wide business practices and policies. Sustainability efforts are advanced by the Global Institute of Sustainability and made possible by partners from across ASU. Sustainability practices are implemented in the areas of energy, water, carbon neutrality, transportation, buildings and grounds, food services, waste and recycling, and purchasing. For more information, visit: http://sustainability.asu.edu/practice.

About the Global Institute of Sustainability
The Global Institute of Sustainability is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The Institute advances research, education, and business practices for an urbanizing world. Its School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the U.S., offers transdisciplinary degree programs to create practical solutions for environmental, economic, and social challenges. http://sustainability.asu.edu/

About AASHE
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.

Media contacts:

Karen Leland, karen.leland@asu.edu
480.965.0013
Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University

Paul Rowland, paul.rowland@aashe.org
720.346.1432
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education