The STARS® program is intended to engage and recognize the full spectrum of higher education institutions, from community colleges to research universities. It encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions, as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability. STARS provides a framework for colleges and universities to measure their comprehensive sustainability performance (From the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability’s Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System website).
Institutions can earn a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum rating depending on their score. CSUN has achieved a gold STARS rating, and currently has the highest score in the CSU.
This semester a group of students from a SUST 401 Applied Sustainability course were tasked with creating a comprehensive report that will serve as a formal guiding document for CSUN’s sustainability staff as they submit a new STARS report. The group addressed existing gaps within the 63 available credits, each with their own point values, that describe actions for
institutions to pursue. CSUN’s current score is about 75 points, ten points shy of the Platinum rating. The report created by these students will guide CSUN in implementing programs, policies, and procedures to help the campus earn those last ten points. Earning a higher score on the STARS rating system demonstrates CSUN’s leadership in the field of sustainability, as well as the campus’ advancements in resource efficiency, economic growth, and equity.
The students also compared gaps in CSUN’s STARS report to the goals outlined in the university’s existing Sustainability Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Zero Waste Plan. By doing so, they laid the groundwork for CSUN to update these planning documents to bridge these gaps, ensuring that the campus can deepen its commitment to sustainability in the years to come.