By Meghan Fay Zahniser, STARS Program Manager, AASHE
(This article appears in the November, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)
Five years ago AASHE was called upon to develop a consistent way to measure campus sustainability efforts, and the idea for STARS – the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System – was born. In January 2010, after a year-long pilot program and several public comment periods, AASHE launched the first version of STARS where institutions could register to participate and receive a rating. In addition, the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) celebrates the 5th year anniversary of the initiative and the upcoming first round of Progress Reports on Climate Action Planning. Public reporting is an important component of the transformation of higher education as it allows us to track, assess, and learn from our progress toward sustainability. How has the process of reporting developed throughout the history of the campus sustainability movement?
Let’s take a trip back in time to the early years of the campus sustainability movement to learn how the development of both the ACUPCC and STARS reporting systems have developed for the benefit of campuses nationwide.
The ACUPCC originated from a planning session at AASHE’s inaugural conference October of 2006 which included a group of college and university presidents and representatives from Second Nature, ecoAmerica and AASHE, and was officially launched to the public in 2007. The mission of the ACUPCC was, and remains, to accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability by empowering the higher education sector to educate students, create solutions, and provide leadership-by-example for the rest of society. This is accomplished by presidential and chancellor-level commitment to the elimination of net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and the promotion of research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate. (more…)