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UW-River Falls receives STARS gold rating for sustainability

March 19, 2018 - The University of Wisconsin-River Falls has earned a STARS gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

STARS, which stands for AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

This is the seventh year UW-River Falls has completed a STARS report demonstrating the university’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. Previous efforts resulted in silver ratings. This is the first time UWRF has received a gold rating.

"Achieving the STARS gold rating is a milestone for the university and is made possible through the commitment and work of many faculty, staff and students on the UWRF campus,” said UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen. “The entire campus community deserves credit for a great achievement."

"I am incredibly proud of our gold rating,” said Mark Klapatch, UW-River Falls sustainability and custodial supervisor. “There is not one specific aspect of UWRF that makes us sustainable. It’s a lot of separate university commitments which add up to a sustainable campus that’s worthy of this recognition."

UW-River Falls demonstrates its commitment to sustainability through student experiences including new student orientation, student life, programming, employment opportunities and student organizations; education abroad experiences that focus on sustainability; multiple undergraduate programs showcasing sustainability including majors, minors and certificates; and a campus which is utilized as a living laboratory in multiple course offerings.

With more than 800 participants in 30 countries AASHE’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 inacademics, engagement, operations, planning and administration and innovation and leadership.

"STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “UW-River Falls has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a gold rating and is to be congratulated for its efforts."

The STARS program is open to all institutions of higher education. Criteria that determine a rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. STARS allows for internal and external comparisons with similar institutions because it is a program based on credits earned.

The UW-River Falls report is available on the STARS website at

For more information on sustainability efforts at UW-River Falls, visit or email

About AASHE:

AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit For more information about the STARS program, visit

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