Vassar’s sustainability initiatives, protocols and practices have earned the college a Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
The organization gave Vassar the Gold rating in its latest Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating Systems (STARS) awards. Of the 352 colleges and universities to be assessed, only three received a higher Platinum rating. Vassar was one of 106 institutions to be awarded a Gold Rating. The college had earned Silver ratings in its two previous assessments in 2011 and 2014.
Sustainability Coordinator Alistair Hall said the college had improved its rating due to better assessments in academic programs, clean energy initiatives, reduction of greenhouse gases and more energy-efficient buildings. Fifty-three percent of the college’s academic departments offer courses that include discussion of sustainability issues. Vassar earned bonus points in its assessment for its research on carbon pricing for Higher Education and for a student-installed solar array on the college’s mobile Collaboratory, a multi-disciplinary arts space.
Vassar President Elizabeth Bradley said she was pleased to learn about the AASHE rating. “'We're thrilled to have achieved a STARS Gold rating for our sustainability efforts,” Bradley said. “Marking a six-year journey, our STARS report highlights the ways in which our students, faculty, and staff engage sustainability both in the classroom and in our operations.”
With more than 800 participants in 30 countries, ASSHE’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 areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.
For more information on Vassar’s assessment and rating results, go to stars.aashe.org.
Vassar College is a coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college based in Poughkeepsie, NY and founded in 1861.
For more information about the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, visit www.aashe.org