Dalhousie University is now a STARS charter member
The Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) is a program organized by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The AASHE is a network of higher education institutes from Canada and the United States that provides resources, professional development and a support network to promote sustainability. The STARS program offers institutions a chance to self-govern and self-report sustainability initiatives and progress. STARS assists participating institutions in setting up sustainability programs through the sharing of information amongst participating schools. Dalhousie University is a charter member and will be submitting our self-assessed sustainability rating in the summer of 2011.
STARS offers post secondary institutions in North American opportunity to take part in a transparent, self-reporting sustainability ranking system.
A STARS ranking will provide positive information about campus sustainability. A STARS ranking is also a way to communicate sustainability to a wide audience such as the media and prospective students. Due to the significant amount of information needed to complete the assessment, not all institutions will have the available resources to participate. This will distinguish Dalhousie from other universities across North America.
The STARS rating system is based on three primary areas: education & research; operations; and planning, administration & engagement. Each of these three areas are further divided into several sub-areas.
Dalhousie’s participation as a charter member means that we have committed to the program by August of 2010. As a result, Dalhousie will be amongst the first wave of participants to complete the assessment. By getting involved in the STARS program at an early stage, there will be opportunities for dialogue and evaluation of the rating system. There is also potential to share information with other institutions and work to improve both Dalhousie’s sustainability rating as well as those of other schools.
Rochelle Owen director of the Dalhousie University Office of Sustainability, will be participating in the AASHE bi-annual conference on sustainability from October 10-12, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Ms. Owen will be presenting two papers at the conference, the first will focus on low carbon solutions and the second will focus on Dalhousie’s Climate Change Plan. Ms. Owen will also be facilitating workshops as well as sitting on a board of other Canadian universities that are members of the AASHE.
“STARS as a rating assessment for campus sustainability can be compared to the LEED system for rating buildings. What makes STARS unique is that it is entirely self-assessed which makes for a very transparent system. It really is a key-stone rating system for university sustainability.”- Rochelle Owen, director Office of Sustainability, DalhousieUniversity.
“We only have one year to complete the STARS assessment. It’s great for us at Dalhousie because it really helps us to keep our eye on the ball, so to speak, in terms of pushing our agenda for sustainability. The level of detail involved is really quite deep and we have made quite a significant commitment to complete the assessment. This will really set us apart because not every university will take this one because they simply don’t have the resources to take on such a large project.” – Rochelle Owen, director Office of Sustainability, Dalhousie University.
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- Mel Hennigar, firstname.lastname@example.org, 902.494.1323