For significant achievements in campus sustainability ranging from co-curricular activities and student life to outreach and operations, Hobart and William Smith have been recognized as a STARS Silver Institution, an international rating awarded by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
The recognition is presented to institutions with significant achievements in sustainability across four key areas: academics, engagement, operations, and planning and administration. AASHE makes its evaluation based on schools that complete its comprehensive Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) reporting program, the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.
“This was a collaborative effort and HWS should be proud of the results,” says HWS Director of Sustainability and Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Tarah Rowse, who serves on the HWS Climate Task Force and is a LEED Green Associate. “The report showcases what Hobart and William Smith have accomplished and provides a platform from which we can build. Many members of the HWS community, especially students, have been instrumental for helping advance the sustainability work here.”
Some of the Colleges’ points of distinction highlighted in the STARS report include: achieving LEED Gold for the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts; establishing two local solar farms that together will deliver up to 50% of the Colleges electricity; launching a Sustainable Living and Learning Community program for first-year students; and welcoming the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which offers community support across education, advocacy and policy.
Achieving STARS Silver was made possible thanks to the work of the Climate Task Force and HWS contributors across campus, Rowse says. With more than 650 participating institutions on six continents, the Colleges are among a small number of institutions in the world to have completed the latest version of STARS (2.1). AASHE provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in all areas, from governance and operations to education and research.
The STARS recognition aligns with the continued focus on environmental leadership across campus. As a charter member of the Climate Leadership Network’s Carbon Commitment, the Colleges have pledged to achieve climate neutrality (net zero emissions) by 2025.
The Colleges were recently featured in the 2016 edition of the Princeton Review’s “Guide to 361 Green Colleges,” and were named to Sierra magazine’s annual list of the greenest colleges and universities, advancing more than 55 spots since first appearing on the list in 2009. HWS ranked No. 58 on Sierra’s “Cool Schools” list, earning the highest possible rating in the category for innovation in sustainability. For the fifth consecutive year, the Colleges have also been named a Tree Campus USA® by the Arbor Day Foundation.