Ball State becomes charter participant in nation’s first campuswide sustainability program

Topic: Sustainability/Environment

February 8, 2010

Ball State has joined in the launch of a new national effort to encourage sustainability practices in all aspects of campus life.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) introduced STARS (Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) and formally launched its online reporting tool on Jan. 19. To date, more than 115 higher education institutions have registered as STARS charter participants, including Ball State.

"Knowing that the STARS rating instrument would become the standard in the higher education sector, and wanting to be involved from day one, we have stepped forward not only to participate in the pilot program in 2008 but also to become a charter subscriber to the final version," said Robert Koester, director of Ball State's Center for Energy Research/Education/Service (CERES) and chair of the Ball State Council on the Environment (COTE).

AASHE's STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves a comprehensive
process of collecting and publicly reporting information related to a college or university's sustainability performance in education, research, operations, planning, administration and engagement.

"The advantage of STARS is that all aspects of campus life are taken into consideration with regard to the ability to earn credits," said AASHE's executive director, Paul Rowland. "From providing sustainability course work, to dorm cleaning products, to energy efficiency in campus buildings, there are lots of opportunities for a school to identify and track its sustainability progress."

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 around the country.

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 by providing 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 <http://www.aashe.org/> .

For more information about the STARS program, visit www.aashe.org/stars <http://www.aashe.org/stars> .

By Chanel Richards

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