ITHACA, NY — For the second time, Ithaca College has achieved a gold rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a self-reporting framework for colleges to measure their sustainability performance. Out of 302 institutions that submitted reports to STARS, Ithaca College was one of only 52 to achieve this rating.
The STARS program was created by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and the rating is in effect for three years after certification. Ithaca College also applied for and received the gold rating in 2011.
Marian Brown, special assistant for campus and community sustainability, says the program allows the college to set long-term sustainability goals and make comparisons over time. She notes that since 2011 the college has improved in several key areas, including food options and courses with sustainability content.
“We specifically like STARS because it objectively evaluates the comprehensive range of campus sustainability measures, touching on the environmental, human and economic impacts of the institution,” said Brown. “It goes much deeper than just looking at the ‘green’ measures of some other external rating entities.”
Ithaca College’s score was based on credits earned in three main categories — academics; operations; and planning, administration and engagement — with IC ranking well above the average for gold-rated institutions in the first two categories.
The college earned the highest possible number of credits in the areas of co-curricular education; research; diversity and affordability; and innovation. Among Ithaca’s innovative activities are the Retirees in Service to the Environment (RISE) partnership, Forest Stewardship Council certification of the Print Shop, “Carry In, Carry Out” program in School of Business classrooms, and partnership with Cornell University and community organizations to create the Sustainability Center.
For more information on STARS, visit stars.aashe.org.