Adding to its already long list of accolades, UNH earned a STARS Platinum rating — the highest possible from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) — in recognition of its sustainability achievements. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. There are only two other higher education institutions in the world that share the Platinum designation.
“We’re not just a leader anymore, we are the model for creating a holistically sustainable institution of higher education, and I couldn’t be prouder of the school I love!”
“Earning Platinum status affirms UNH’s place as a national leader in sustainability,” says UNH President Mark Huddleston. “It is an enduring core institutional value, shaping our culture, informing our behavior and guiding everything we do. As home to the oldest endowed university sustainability program in the United States, UNH has sustainability ingrained in all that we do across education, research and practice.”
UNH Sustainability Institute (SI) director Miriam Nelson couldn’t be prouder of the new distinction. “Our campus community champions efforts to grow and nurture sustainability, and while we will celebrate our accomplishments, we also look forward to watching our sustainability efforts grow and improve as a result of the STARS initiative,” she says. Nelson notes that obtaining Platinum status required a university-wide effort by faculty, staff and students to document and expand the work being done.
More than 400 institutions have earned a STARS rating, making AASHE’s STARS program 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: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration as well as innovation and leadership. UNH participated in the original STARS pilot group in 2008, earning a Gold rating in 2011 and 2014.
The accolades have not gone unnoticed by students. “At a time when leadership in sustainability is lacking, especially at the national scale, this was an opportunity for UNH to pave the path forward and fill that leadership void,” says SI Sustainability Fellow Whitman Constantineau ’18. “We’re not just a leader anymore, we are the model for creating a holistically sustainable institution of higher education, and I couldn’t be prouder of the school I love!”
Originally published in UNH Magazine Winter 2018 Issue