Harvey Mudd College has earned a STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.
Led by the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design, the College submitted its first report last year and received a bronze certification. Data is submitted from virtually all areas of campus, including the Office of Facilities and Maintenance, the Registrar and Dining Services. Contributing to HMC’s improved rating this year are sustainability efforts that include conducting innovative research in areas such as water use and air pollution modeling, greenhouse gas emissions data, the College’s Green Fund, and a minimum LEED silver rating (or equivalent) for all new campus buildings.
“We’re pleased to have moved from a STARS bronze rating to silver,” says President Maria Klawe. “Our students, faculty, staff and trustees all have a role to play in fostering a culture of sustainability. This ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and ecological awareness is part of the College’s quest for equity, diversity and justice.”
Sustainability is a guiding institutional principle at Harvey Mudd and its investments are visible throughout the STARS rating categories. The College scored well in many areas, including incentives for developing courses, campus as a living laboratory, research and scholarship, as well as student orientation and public engagement.
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 in five overall areas: 1) academics 2) engagement, 3) operations, 4) planning and administration, and 5) innovation and leadership.
Unlike other rating or ranking systems, the STARS 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.
“A STARS rating shows that we’re not only telling our students that sustainability is important but that we are taking strategic action,” says Tanja Srebotnjak, director of the Hixon Center and Hixon Professor of Sustainable Environmental Design. “To achieve a gold rating, we’ll need to step up our efforts by improving campus operations and embedding sustainability more systematically into our curriculum and strategic planning. With the help from campus partners, we’ll continue our quest to become a leader in sustainability.”
As part of its strategic vision, “HMC 2020: Envisioning the Future,” Harvey Mudd College is reducing the rate at which it contributes to the depletion of natural resources, incorporating concepts of sustainability into its academic and daily affairs and increasing use of renewable resources. The College has four LEED-certified buildings, a specially appointed Sustainability Committee and numerous faculty members and students involved in environmental research efforts here and abroad. President Maria Klawe is also a signatory on the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. Harvey Mudd’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future.