Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.

Environment / Sustainability

S is for sustainability - CSU ranked no. 1 in the nation

March 3, 2014
Kortny Rolston

Colorado State University is once again the top school in the country for its sustainability efforts. CSU achieved the highest score ever reported to Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Reporting System - or STARS - a national survey that measures sustainability efforts at universities and colleges across the country.

CSU scored 83.48 out of 100 possible points to earn a “gold” rating.  Of the 300 universities that participate in STARS, only 18 percent have achieved gold, the system’s second highest ranking. (No university has ever earned platinum, the highest ranking.)

This is the second time CSU has achieved the top score. The University earned 77.45 points out of 100 when it submitted its first report in 2011.

 “Colorado State is a proud to be a leader in the research and practice of environmental sustainability, and this STARS score is a real testament to our high-caliber environmental research faculty and operations staff,” said Rick Miranda, provost and executive vice president of CSU. “As a university, we want to be fully engaged in sustainability. Conducting critical environmental research, maximizing efficiency in operations, and engaging Colorado communities on sustainability issues are university-wide efforts. We are able to leverage these areas with expanded environmental studies programs to prepare learners to be the next generation of sustainability leaders.”

Evaluating universities

The STARS system evaluates universities for their sustainability efforts across campus. Reporting is divided into three categories: education and research; operations; and planning, administration and engagement.

Because of that, university and colleges consider STARS the most comprehensive – and prestigious - sustainability rating system, said Carol Dollard, facilities manager, who co-chairs CSU’s sustainability advisory committee.

“With STARS, it’s not just about how many solar panels we have on campus or how much energy our buildings use,” she said. “STARS looks at that and more. We also are evaluated on student engagement, diversity, sustainability-related courses and research and other areas.”

New sustainability efforts

The STARS system also rewards universities for building upon and improving their sustainability efforts.  CSU had to demonstrate the new activities, efforts, courses and other items it had added since it submitted its 2011 STARS data.

“We can’t just rely on what we’ve done in the past. We have to show we are committed to improving sustainability efforts and what we are doing that is new and innovative,” said Tonie Miyamoto, director of communications and sustainability for CSU’s Housing and Dining Services, who co-chairs the University’s sustainability advisory committee with Dollard.

Since 2011, CSU has:

  • Signed an agreement with the City of Fort Collins to divert more than 200,000 pounds of food waste annually to an anaerobic digester at the Drake Water Reclamation Facility as part of a waste-to-clean-energy program. 
  • Purchased an in-vessel composter to process the 100,000 pounds of food waste not diverted to the city. The compost is used in campus landscaping projects.
  • Added a minor in global environmental sustainability through its School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES).
  • Completed 11 new LEED-certified buildings, renovations and/or expansions. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a program that provides third-party verification for “green” buildings.
     

Report highlights

Highlights from the 2014 report include:

  • All eight of the University’s colleges and more than 90% of its divisions are engaged in sustainability.
  • More than 75 percent of CSU’s faculty members are engaged in sustainability-related research.
  • CSU students performed 450,000 hours of community service in one year.
  • Of the 2,633 courses CSU offers, 794 are sustainability related.
  • More than 25 of the food served at the University’s dining halls are purchased from local growers, ranchers, farmers and/or is organic.