UC San Diego 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. To date more than 400 institutions have earned a STARS rating, making AASHE’s STARS 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 through over 860 questions in five overall areas: 1) Academics, 2) Engagement, 3) Operations, 4) Planning & Administration, and 5) Innovation & Leadership.
UC San Diego’s STARS report is publicly available here.
This is the second time UC San Diego has received a STARS Gold rating, having received its first in 2013 under STARS version 1.2 and now its second under version 2.1. The university joins its sister institution UC Irvine in getting an updated STARS rating this year. UC Irvine recently received STARS Platinum, the first UC campus and one of only four institutions in the world to receive this highest STARS rating.
The very first university winner of the National Laboratory Freezer Challenge last year, UC San Diego has received recognition for its sustainability efforts from additional organizations like the USG National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the Commercial Real Estate Digital Innovation Awards, San Diego Gas & Electric, Nature magazine, the San Diego Association of Governments, the San Diego Regional Clean Cities Coalition, and others. Highlights of our sustainability initiatives include innovative academic programs in climate and marine science, along with hundreds of courses related to sustainability; over 30 student organizations working on sustainability; completion of over $100 million in energy efficiency projects; a highly innovative energy park consisting of a microgrid, fuel cell powered by directed biogas, and an integrated energy storage system; 3.1 megawatts of solar photovoltaic generating capacity installed on and off campus, with plans to install more; the largest university electric vehicle (EV) charging system in the country; certification of all Housing, Dining and Hospitality restaurants and markets under the Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) program; and campus programs in everything from green laboratories to health and wellness to diversity, inclusion and support for underrepresented faculty, students and staff.
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. For more information about AASHE, visit www.aashe.org.