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Cleveland State Earns National Recognition for Sustainability
Ohio Ag Connection - 02/22/2021

Cleveland State University (CSU) has been recognized for its sustainability achievements by prominent organizations that rank colleges and universities on their sustainability efforts and accomplishments. Specifically, CSU has earned a STARS Silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and was also recently recognized by The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition.

At CSU, all sustainable initiatives are overseen by CSU's Office of Sustainability and its director of sustainability, Jennifer McMillin. The focus of this team is to lead and coordinate efforts by the administration, students, faculty and staff to create a greener campus and a more sustainable future.

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System used by AASHE, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. In line with the AASHE guidelines, the CSU Office of Sustainability completes a STARS report every three years. Covering everything from emissions and curriculum to procurement and diversity, the report provides a robust snapshot of performance across a range of social and environmental sustainability indicators.

With more than 900 participants in 40 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 in five overall areas -- academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

CSU's 2020 STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

"We are proud to have achieved a STARS Silver rating for our sustainability accomplishments," said McMillin. "Our score has been steadily increasing and the STARS framework allows us to see where we are currently and where we need to go. The enthusiasm that students, faculty and staff have for our sustainability initiatives is very encouraging, and we look forward to seeing our collective efforts grow in the coming years."

For the third consecutive year, CSU has been named one of the nation's most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company features CSU in The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition.

The Princeton Review evaluated schools based on a survey of administrators at 695 colleges in 2019-20 about their institutions' commitments to the environment and sustainability. The company's editors analyzed more than 25 survey data points in the process of choosing schools for recognition in the guide.

In its profile on CSU, The Princeton Review cites the availability of sustainability focused degrees, a dedicated sustainability officer, a publicly available greenhouse gas emissions inventory, a car-sharing program, a carpool matching program and reduced-price transit passes as notable sustainability initiatives. The Princeton Review gave CSU a Green Rating of 85 out of 99 possible points.


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