AASHE Recognizes Sustainability Efforts and Cascade Avenue Project at UW-River Falls

October 30, 2014--The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) 2014 Annual Review, issued earlier this fall by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), includes two special recognitions of sustainability efforts at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls . 

The first recognition is a STARS Silver rating for campus-wide sustainability efforts at UW-River Falls. The credits included in STARS span the breadth of higher education sustainability and include performance indicators and criteria organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. 

UW-River Falls is one of 105 higher education institutions that earned a STARS rating this year, representing institutions in the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Japan, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. "UW-River Falls is one of just a handful of institutions who have completed three annual reports as well as having served as one of the beta sites in the development of the original tool," said Mike Stifter, executive director of facilities planning and management at UW-River Falls.  "It continues to document our progress as well as opportunities for continued work in campus sustainability." 

The STARS 2014 Annual Review also highlights the innovation of the Cascade Avenue reconstruction project. The report states, "Cascade Avenue is a collaborative redesign and construction of the primary corridor through campus in partnership with the City of River Falls and Wisconsin State Department of Transportation. The corridor is a holistic systems approach to traffic calming for pedestrian and bicycle safety. The locally constructed corridor enhances pedestrian and bicycle safety and uses LED lighting, native species xeriscaping, storm water management, and other sustainability features." 

Completed in 2012, the Cascade Avenue reconstruction project had previously been named Project of the Year for a transportation project of less than $5 million by the American Public Works Association (APWA). 

"Our Cascade project was highlighted due to the many unique design characteristics, but also because of the strong working relationship we maintained with the City of River Falls and Department of Transportation in completing the project successfully," said Stifter. "It represents sustainability as what we know it to be, more than just energy conservation." 

AASHE was officially launched in January 2006, serving as the first professional higher education association for the campus sustainability community. AASHE provides administrators, faculty, staff and students, as well as the business that serve them, with: thought leadership and essential knowledge resources; outstanding opportunities for professional development; and a unique framework for demonstrating the value and competitive edge created by sustainability initiatives. 

More information on STARS, including the 2014 Annual Review, is available at

Cascade Avenue

Photo:  The Cascade Avenue reconstruction project has received numerous accolades, including recent recognition for its innovative sustainable features by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

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