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.
Five times since January 2011, OSU has attained a Gold rating in STARS. It was the first school in Oregon to submit its report.
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.
The STARS framework is intended to engage and recognize the full spectrum of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada – from community colleges to research universities, and from institutions just starting their sustainability programs to long-time campus sustainability leaders. STARS encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability.
OSU is a charter participant in the STARS program and performs a campus wide assessment every one to two years. STARS allows OSU to gauge progress towards sustainability and also put us on a path to become a more sustainable campus over time. These goals and assessment process align with guidance and directives from President Ray and Provost Randhawa and also are in line with OSU's climate initatives and the OSU Strategic Plan.
OSU's STARS Timeline and History
- January 2017: target timeframe for next STARS submission.
- March 4, 2016: The Sustainability Office submitted OSU's FY15 STARS report receiving a Gold rating and 73.24 points.
- April 30, 2015: The Sustainability Office submitted OSU's FY14 STARS report receiving a Gold rating and 72.78 points.
- April 30, 2014: The Sustainability Office submitted OSU's FY13 STARS report receiving a Gold rating and 70.94 points.
- May 11, 2013: For its FY12 STARS report, Oregon University scored 68.95 points and received STARS Gold certification.
- January 31, 2011: OSU submits its first report (for FY10) and was the first and only school in Oregon to submit its STARS report on time, by the January 31 deadline. This first deadline was the first round of STARS participants.
- Fall 2010: During fall term, data collection continued and followup from summer data requests were made. Recommendations for feasible, immediate institutional changes to achieve additional STARS points were made throughout the fall and winter. Some of the most challenging aspects of STARS included defining sustainability research and sustainability related and sustainabiltiy focused courses. The Sustainability Office convened teams of researchers and teaching faculty to help create and refine these definitions. With these definitions, Sustainability Office staff reviewed thousands of courses and hundreds of research projects to determine what aspects of the research or teaching activity included sustainability.
- Summer 2010: The Sustainability Office began the data gathering process. This included the identification of stakeholders throughout campus that have access to information needed to complete STARS reporting. Data collection from most sources occurred during July, August and September.