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Graduate student Meagan Dechen coordinates STARS report, helping CSU earn highest score

November 28, 2011
by Amanda Ford

Interested in sustainability? Curious about why CSU says it's so green? Feel free to ask CSU graduate student Meagan Dechen what makes CSU so sustainable and green. She is more than welcome to answer your questions with a smile on her face.

Meagan Dechen is pursuing a master's degree in epidemiology at CSU.In September, Colorado State submitted a national survey of higher education institutions dedicated to sustainability measures and received the highest ranking scores among the 129 reporting universities.

Dechen worked with campus team

The entire Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Reporting System report, known as STARS, was assembled and completed by Dechen in collaboration with a team representing such campus areas as Facilities Management and Housing and Dining Services.

She organized the STARS report as an intern working for the Vice President for Energy and the Environment, Ron Sega. She gathered the appropriate data and coordinated all the information regarding CSU’s sustainability efforts, putting together the highest scoring STARS report among participating universities.

“It was a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun,” said Dechen. “I think I can speak on behalf of a lot of people that we were all shocked at just how well CSU did. It’s the university’s curriculum and student involvement that really helped CSU bring home the highest score and the Gold rating.”

Dechen explained that CSU was highly successful in two of the three major categories in the report: Programs and Curriculum. Colorado State excelled in implementing sustainability research and curriculum with 56 percent of the university’s faculty and 72 percent of all academic departments engaged in environmental research.

One-fourth of courses have sustainability focus

One-fourth of Colorado State’s offered courses have a sustainability focus as part of five undergraduate and graduate degrees that are tailored to the preservation of the environment.

CSU also did well in the report rankings and scoring because of individual student involvement in sustainability, including their work through Housing and Dining Services.

Student engagement was a highlight in the STARS report. Colorado State received full points in the co-curricular education category for programs like Eco Leaders, a student sustainability educators program in the residence halls, outreach campaigns like the Green Warrior energy campaign and RecycleMania, and Pingree Park, CSU’s mountain campus that provides experiential learning opportunities for Natural Resources students and other student groups.

Dechen said she plans to continue working with the STARS report and looks forward to identifying opportunities and developing strategies for further sustainability of CSU’s campus.


Contact: Emily Wilmsen
Phone: (970) 491-2336