Emory earns 'Gold' rating for sustainability leadership, innovation

Emory Report | Feb. 26, 2018

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Emory students work in a community garden near the Rollins School of Public Health. Emory has once again received a “Gold” rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for efforts including sustainable dining, biodiversity, support for research, and more. Emory Photo/Video

Emory University has once again received a Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for its leadership and innovation in university sustainability.

With this Gold rating, awarded through AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), Emory maintains its status since the last report in 2014.

STARS is a self-reporting sustainability evaluation tool developed by AASHE, with 91 colleges and universities participating from around the world this year. The program also takes into account diversity, in the effort to build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.

Despite updated standards that have become more stringent to maintain the Gold certification level, Emory University and Emory Healthcare were still able to achieve Gold this year. Emory is ranked in the top 10 for sustainability among institutions in the American Association of Universities.

Emory’s internal tracking and measurement tools related to the factors monitored under STARS have improved since its last data collection year.

“Reporting the hundreds of data points and information fields for STARS required many conversations and data transfers with offices and individuals across campus,” notes Kelly O’Day Weisinger, assistant director of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, adding that she is “grateful for widespread support throughout the process of completing the STARS application.”

This year, Emory University received full points in a number of areas, including “Campus as a Living Laboratory,” “Support for Research,” “Sustainable Dining,” “Biodiversity” and “Support for Underrepresented Students,” among many others.

Ciannat Howett, director of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, hopes for Emory to continue to reach and exceed its goals.

“Emory continues to make exciting progress in creating a more sustainable campus and community, and we are honored to receive national recognition for our efforts with the AASHE STARS Gold rating,” Howett says. “As we implement Emory’s 2025 Sustainability Vision, we will continue our national leadership in sustainability.”

These efforts may be enough to put Emory into the Platinum certification for the next reporting year, an honor held by only three institutions, Howett says.

Emory’s STARS report, along with reports from all participating colleges and universities, is publicly available on the AASHE STARS website.