Tennessee Tech’s sustainability earns STARS silver rating

COOKEVILLE – The 2019 STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) rankings are in and Tennessee Tech earned a silver rating.

That is an improvement from 2017’s Bronze rating thanks to improvements in certain areas.

“We had major improvements in the areas of campus engagement, grounds, purchasing, transportation, waste, coordination and planning, well-being and work,” said DeLayne Miller, Office of Sustainability manager. 

To earn this ranking, the Office of Sustainability has created a number of sustainable initiatives being conducted on campus, from recycling to energy savings and other things. 

During the spring semester, Earth Week is celebrated on campus with a variety of activities, but due to the COVID-19 restrictions shutting campus down, virtual activities will be held. People who are interested can check out the Office of Sustainability’s Facebook page (TTU Sustainable Campus Committee), Instagram (@tntechecoeagles) and Twitter (@tntechecoeagles) for updates and activities.

The university has also been recognized as a Tree Campus University by the Arbor Day Foundation for the second year in a row and the 2019 Tennessee Higher Education Recycler of the Year.

The Office of Sustainability was created in 2015 to promote and document sustainable initiatives on campus and focuses on several areas including energy, food, data tracking, waste and water.

With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: 1) academics 2) engagement, 3) operations, 4) planning and administration and 5) innovation and leadership.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Tennessee Tech University has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

There are 336 institutions with valid STARS reports and 144 other silver rated institutions, putting Tech in the top 50 percent of silver ratings.

For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org.

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