October 01, 2020

Susquehanna University has earned a STARS silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

Susquehanna achieved its silver rating just two years after earning bronze, improving its overall score by 23 points (2018, 33 points, bronze; 2020, 56 points, silver).

“Two years ago marked our first attempt at a STARS rating, so to see our rating rise so quickly from bronze to silver is testament to our campuswide dedication to environmental stewardship,” said Kathy Straub, professor and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and director of the Center for Environmental Education and Research.

Derek Martin, sustainability coordinator at Susquehanna and chair of the sustainability committee, attributed the improvement to increased student engagement, a reduction in the university’s carbon emissions, and expanded faculty scholarship in sustainability.

Susquehanna is already focused on achieving a gold rating as soon as possible. The university’s strategic plan calls for Susquehanna to be positioned halfway to a gold rating by 2025 – a milestone the university has already achieved with the strength of its silver rating.

Members of the university’s sustainability committee have already divided into subcommittees focused on academics, engagement, operations and planning, with the goal of finding opportunities for further achievement.

“We are proud of this latest accomplishment, but we will not become complacent,” Martin said. “Our sustainability committee is dedicated to propelling the university to gold and given our rapid gains from bronze to silver, I know we’ll get there.”

With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is 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.