CC Receives STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements

 Director of Sustainability Ian Johnson discuss the importance of water during a Sense of Place tour in Buena Vista, Colorado. Photo by  Mae Rohrbach

Director of Sustainability Ian Johnson discuss the importance of water during a Sense of Place tour in Buena Vista, Colorado. Photo by  Mae Rohrbach

Colorado College has earned a STARS Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). CC was awarded its first Gold rating in 2015 by STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. 

CC, which achieved carbon neutrality in January 2020, becoming the first institution in the Rocky Mountain region to do so, is recognized by AASHE in four areas. CC is tied for first place in water conservation, reuse, use reduction and rainwater management (with this being the third year CC is a top performer in this category); seventh in air and climate, which measures greenhouse gas emissions assessment and mitigation and outdoor air quality; a gold rating in data accuracy; and making the STARS Gold list.

STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework focused on sustainability; it not only assesses environmental factors but also social and economic factors. CC’s STARS report is available on the STARS website.

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: 1) academics 2) engagement, 3) operations, 4) planning and administration, and 5) 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. “Colorado College 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.

“We are excited to be recognized in these areas and are proud to have achieved a Gold rating for our sustainability accomplishments through STARS. We look forward to continuing to grow and improve our sustainability efforts and we couldn’t have done it without our many partnerships across the college and in the community” says CC Sustainability Coordinator Mae Rohrbach.

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