Towson University Receives STARS Bronze Rating for Sustainability
Towson University has received a STARS Bronze 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, is a program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. Institutions can achieve a Platinum rating with a score of 85 or higher, a Gold rating with a score of 65 or higher, a Silver rating with score of 45 or higher, and a Bronze rating with score of 25 or higher. Towson achieved Bronze with a score of 38 for Fiscal Year 2012.
AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall areas: 1) education & research; 2) operations; 3) planning, administration & engagement. Towson did especially well in the areas of sustainability coordination, diversity and affordability, and human resources.
“Towson has made great progress in sustainability in the last decade. Completing this inaugural submission for STARS helped us earn recognition for the work that has been done and learn what we can do to improve. The university now has a transparent, comprehensive snapshot of our sustainability performance that enables us to compare ourselves with other institutions. This baseline establishes a foundation from which we can measure our progress.” said Sustainability Manager Clara Fang.
Towson University signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment in 2007. The University committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent per student by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050. Since 2008, the university has reduced its overall emissions 5 percent. Towson has a policy that all new buildings and renovations must be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver standards. Towson’s Climate Action Plan describes over 63 actions the university should take to conserve resources and improve environmental education.
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Paul Rowland. “Towson University has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Bronze 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 in the U.S. and Canada, 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.