The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a set of peer reviewed, standardized indicators that help measure, and therefore manage, sustainability efforts within higher education.  It is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability, developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) with broad participation from the higher education community.

Seven times since January 2011, OSU has attained a Gold rating in STARS.  It was the first school in Oregon to submit a report. 

Fiscal Year Submission Date STARS Version STARS Score STARS Gold
2010 Jan. 31, 2011 1.0 69.74
2012 May 11, 2013 1.2 68.95
2013 Apr. 30, 2014 2.0 70.94
2014 Apr. 30, 2015 2.0 72.78
2015 Mar. 4, 2016 2.0 73.24
2016 Feb. 28, 2017 2.1 72.21
2017 Jan. 31, 2018 2.1 72.23

STARS is designed to:

  • provide a framework for understanding sustainability in all sectors of higher education
  • enable meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements developed with broad participation from the campus sustainability community
  • create incentives for continual improvement
  • facilitate information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance
  • build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.

STARS engages and recognizes the full spectrum of institutions from community colleges to research universities, and from institutions just starting sustainability programs to long-time sustainability leaders.

As an early adopter, OSU is a charter participant in the STARS program.  We continue that leadership today by being one of very few institutions to perform a campus wide assessment every year.  This assessment process aligns with guidance and directives from President Ray and also supports OSU's climate initiatives and Strategic Plan.


OSU's STARS History

When the STARS Pilot began in 2008, OSU understood it could be a game changer in measuring and managing sustainability within higher education. In the summer of 2010, the Sustainability Office began the data gathering process for OSU's first STARS submission.  This included identifying stakeholders throughout campus that have access to information needed to complete STARS reporting.  Data collection from most sources occurred during July, August and September.

During fall 2010, data collection and clarification continued.  Low hanging fruit was found: a few feasible, immediate institutional changes to achieve additional STARS points were made throughout fall and winter.  Some of the most challenging aspects of STARS included defining sustainability research and curriculum.  The Sustainability Office convened teams of researchers and teaching faculty to help create and refine definitions.  With these definitions, Sustainability Office staff reviewed thousands of courses and thousands of research awards to determine what aspects of the research or teaching activity included sustainability.

On January 31, 2011, OSU submitted its first report for Fiscal Year 2010 (July 1, 2009-June 30, 2010).  OSU was the first and only school in Oregon to submit its STARS report on time, by the January 31 deadline.  This deadline was for the first round of STARS participants and since then, deadlines have been removed so schools can report when convenient for them. Princeton Review and the Sierra Club, however, have their own deadlines and rely on STARS data.