Virginia Tech has received a gold rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education after significantly increasing the number of green initiatives during the past year.

The university scored 71.02 through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System, achieving the gold rating by more than six points. Previously, Virginia Tech achieved silver with scores of 63.30 in 2013 and 61.91 in 2011, the first year the university was rated.

“The significant increase in Virginia Tech’s rating demonstrates our commitment to incorporating sustainable practices throughout the university,” said Sherwood Wilson, vice president for administration. “The assessment shows we are steadily making progress toward the goals outlined in the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment.”

Virginia Tech’s new score puts it in the top eight percent of the nearly 300 rated institutions nationwide. The university now ranks second in Virginia behind George Mason University and second in the ACC behind Georgia Tech.

STARS is nationally recognized as the primary management tool for benchmarking progress toward becoming a more sustainable campus. Some of the areas evaluated for the assessment include curriculum, research, buildings, dining services, student engagement, purchasing, transportation, and waste management.

Virginia Tech’s Office of Energy and Sustainability worked with many people throughout the university to gather data for the assessment. Some of the university offices that participated include Dining Services, Facilities, Human Resources, and Research.

“The growth of sustainable practices at the university in the last few years has been amazing. We’re looking forward to getting new areas involved in the future,” said Steve Mouras, director of sustainability.

In 2013, Virginia Tech reaffirmed its support for the Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan, which the university first adopted in 2009. The plan set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, recycling, and the commitment to pursue LEED Silver certification standards or better for new campus buildings.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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