Syracuse University Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has awarded a STARS Silver rating to Syracuse University in recognition of its sustainability achievements.

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System(STARS) measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. This is the University’s first time rating itself using AASHE STARS, an important benchmarking and analytic tool for the campus as it continues to institute more sustainability programs and infrastructure.

Then-Chancellor Nancy Cantor signed the Presidents Climate Commitment, now Second Nature, in 2007, pledging to further increase campus sustainability and carbon neutrally by 2040.

In 2005, the University started purchasing 20 percent renewable energy and has since increased the commitment to 35 percent, making Syracuse one of the top 25 schools in the country to purchase renewable energy according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The University has launched many programs since 2007, including:

  • writing the Climate Action Plan, which is designed to reduce our climate emissions;
  • Food Services going trayless in the dining centers;
  • Energy Systems & Sustainability Management and Auxiliary Services installing 240 solar thermal panels on the roofs of 20 buildings serving 160 three-bedroom South Campus apartments;
  • converting to energy-efficient light and heating systems across campus;
  • offering paperless payroll and paychecks;
  • the Student Association in collaboration with several administrative units launching the Cycle Share program;
  • the Campus as a Lab for Sustainability grant program funding 15 campus projects for faculty and students;
  • a student donating two Electric Charging Stations, which the University installed;
  • academic units creating sustainability minors and majors, including Energy and Its Impacts in the Maxwell School

“Since signing the President’s Climate Commitment in 2005, sustainability has played a vital role on campus,” states Pete Sala, vice president and chief facilities officer. “The silver rating awarded to Syracuse University is a great example of that. The University is committed to achieving all sustainability goals as outlined in the Climate Action Plan, including its commitment to climate neutrality by 2040. The completion of the AASHE STARS provides us with a benchmark toward achieving these goals.”

With more than 800 participants in 30 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.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” says AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Syracuse University has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, the 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.

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private, international research university with distinctive academics, diversely unique offerings and an undeniable spirit. Located in the geographic heart of New York state, with a global footprint, and nearly 150 years of history, Syracuse University offers a quintessential college experience. The scope of Syracuse University is a testament to its strengths: a pioneering history dating back to 1870; a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors offered through 13 schools and colleges; nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter of a million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. For more information, visit syracuse.edu.

About AASHE:

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 aashe.org.