Pacific University Gains Silver in STARS Sustainability Ranking
Pacific University has acquired a touch of silver, earning a silver ranking for sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education as part of its STARS program. STARS, which stands for Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, is a program that encourages colleges and universities to benchmark their sustainable practices in academics, engagement and operations.
For Pacific’s STARS submission, the university’s Center for a Sustainable Society reviewed the 2017-2018 academic year, covering all activity on the Forest Grove and Hillsboro campuses and the accomplishments of students, faculty and staff on the Eugene and Woodburn campuses. The new silver ranking is an improvement on the university’s previous ranking of bronze, earned in 2012.
The full report, available on the STARS website, ranks Pacific in such categories as air and climate, wellbeing and work, transportation practices, academic research and campus engagement. Pacific scored the maximum, for example, in the categories of student life, outreach publications and campus biodiversity, among others.
The STARS ranking gives Pacific an important tool to track progress and develop new priorities. And, for the first time in the school’s history, Pacific is eligible to be included in the annual Princeton Review of best Green Colleges in the nation, and the Sierra Club’s Cool Schools. These rankings take a broad view at a school’s commitment to sustainability in academics and operations, and are another way Pacific University is distinguishing itself regionally. Of participating schools in the Northwest Conference, Pacific’s STARS score is second only to Lewis and Clark College’s.
Michelle Larkins, director of Pacific’s Center for Sustainable Society, says the school will complete the STARS audit every two years. “We believe this biennial cycle will help us to deeply evaluate what we are doing, determine priority areas, strengthen our sustainability teaching and research, and continue on the path toward gold,” she said.