U of A Receives Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements

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The U of A has received 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 and Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. 

The STARS program uses public reporting to evaluate holistic collegiate sustainability practices, awarding points when certain criteria are met. Its comprehensive framework awards points across five main categories:

  • Academics
  • Engagement
  • Operations
  • Planning and Administration
  • Innovation and Leadership

"AASHE STARS Gold is a huge accomplishment for our campus," said Eric Boles, U of A Office for Sustainability director. "This reflects a growing culture of environmentally and socially responsible faculty and staff across all campus units."

The U of A was first awarded STARS Gold in 2017 and has worked hard to keep the prestigious rating. In recent years, the U of A has also become a certified Bee Campus USA and a Gold Bicycle Friendly University through the League of American Cyclists. Additionally, the campus established the U of A Resiliency Center and executed another round of Energy Savings Performance Contracts to reduce campus utility expenses by over $1.35 million per year. 

These efforts began in 2007, when the U of A became one of the first 100 universities to sign the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment. The declaration was reaffirmed and expanded when the university signed the Second Nature Climate Commitment in 2018. Since the 2009 U of A Climate Action Plan, the campus has managed to reduce annual air emissions by 21 percent while student enrollment has nearly doubled.

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. 

"STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts," said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. "The University of Arkansas has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts."

For more information about sustainability at the U of A, visit sustainability.uark.edu.

About the Office for Sustainability: The mission of the University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability (OFS) is to motivate, facilitate, and coordinate responsible practices through partnerships with students, faculty, and staff across all campus departments. The OFS uses the campus as a living laboratory by overseeing the implementation of the University of Arkansas environmental goals. These programs are part of the UA Resiliency Center, hosted by the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, and are supported by UA Facilities Management.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economythrough the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News

Contacts

Eric Boles, director
Office for Sustainability
479-575-2405, eboles@uark.edu

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