May 30, 2013--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is on the right track to earn a Gold STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) Report for campus sustainability performance. UWRF has participated in STARS® since its very beginning as a pilot program, serving to enrich and shape the program while providing the university with valuable data as a point of reference for future improvements in sustainability.
Now in its second year of official reporting, UWRF has improved by 10.86 points compared to last year's Silver rating. 2013's score of 58.09 is less than seven points away from a rating of Gold. With UWRF's commitment to sustainable community development, a Gold STARS® report is not far in the future.
STARS®, was devised to aid university campuses in measuring comparative success in moving towards sustainability. Developed by AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education), STARS® uses a self-reporting structure to accurately follow diverse sustainable practices that can be implemented on a campus.
The rating system is a complex measurement that includes various elements commonly found on university campuses. Curriculum, dining services, energy and water use, investment, diversity and affordability are amongst the framework of categories that a university can earn points. The categories were designed to reflect not only environmental sustainability, but also social and economic improvements towards sustainability in academia.
Some of the many subcategories that UW-River Falls gained points in were: organic garden, sustainability outreach and publications, faculty engaged in sustainability research, building energy consumption, bicycle sharing, sustainability plan & climate action plan, and community service participation.
The St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development (SCISCD) has spearheaded UWRF's involvement in STARS®. Bethany Gapinski, an undergraduate fellow of SCISCD, was instrumental in collecting and fact checking the university's 2013 report. With the guidance of SCISCD Director Kelly Cain and Sustainability Coordinator Ian Johnson, Gapinski collaborated with many individuals and groups on campus to get the most up-to-date and accurate data for the comprehensive report.
To view UWRF''s STARS® Reports online, visit https://stars.aashe.org/institutions/university-of-wisconsin-river-falls-wi/report.
Questions and comments can be emailed to Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.