LA CROSSE, Wis., September 5, 2017 – Western Technical College recently received international recognition for its sustainability achievements by earning a STARS Silver rating 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.
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.
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 in five overall areas: 1) Academics, 2) Engagement, 3) Operations, 4) Planning & Administration, and 5) Innovation & Leadership.
Western is a recognized leader in sustainability and resilience work among institutions of higher education. As one of the inaugural signatories of the President’s Climate Commitment in 2007, Western has been proactive in addressing the issue of global warming on campus and in the 7 Rivers Region.
In January 2016, Western renewed the original Climate Commitment and expanded it to include efforts to build resilience to disruptive environmental and economic change.
“Sustainability remains an important part of our mission, and we are honored to receive this recognition,” said Western President Roger Stanford. “Since the initial commitment, we have avoided over $1.7 million in energy savings, received LEED Certification on eight buildings, implemented training on hydro power and passive house design, and created a culture that embraces sustainable changes.”
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Western has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”
Of the 1,886 participating higher education institutions from around the world, only 330 – or just under 18 percent – see the process through to earn a silver level or higher.
“We are very proud to have achieved a STARS Silver rating. We look forward to watching our sustainability efforts grow and improve through the STARS program,” said Casey Meehan, Western’s sustainability coordinator.
Western’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website: https://stars.aashe.org/institutions/western-technical-college-wi/report/2017-06-15/.
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.
For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org.