Virginia Tech receives STARS gold rating for sustainability achievements
Virginia Tech has earned a STARS Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.
“Virginia Tech is committed to being a leader in campus sustainability,” said Vice President for Operations Sherwood G. Wilson. “This achievement is a testament to that commitment by the entire university community, and together we will continue to strive to advance sustainability for our institution.”
The Office of Sustainability, part of the Facilities Department, managed the STARS submission process, which required campus-wide collaboration. The office was established in accordance with the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment (VTCAC) and is responsible for monitoring energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, overseeing the implementation of the VTCAC, coordinating programs for campus sustainability, managing a campus-wide student internship program, and acting as a central hub to connect the many sustainability champions and related efforts taking place.
Virginia Tech uses STARS as the primary management tool to measure sustainability progress. The university submitted its first STARS report in August 2011, receiving a Silver rating. Virginia Tech received an additional Silver rating in March 2013 and a Gold rating in October 2014.
More than 400 institutions have earned a STARS rating, making the program the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.
Participants report achievements in five overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Virginia Tech has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”
Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, 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.
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.
Virginia Tech’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website: