This is a press release from UNH, which is understandably proud. I don’t know the details of the rating system but I have to assume that ECOLine, the combined-heat-and-power system using landfill gas which powers much of the Durham campus, is a big part of their success:
The University of New Hampshire has achieved a renewed platinum rating—the highest possible under the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)’s rating system—in recognition of its ongoing and increasing sustainability achievements. UNH is one of only nine higher education institutions in the nation to earn platinum from STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System. Among the STARS platinum schools in the U.S., UNH has the 5th highest score.
“We know that one of the most important qualities that students look for in a university is a genuine commitment to sustainability,” said UNH President James W. Dean, Jr. “We’re incredibly pleased to be recognized as a national leader by STARS, the most rigorous system in higher education for measuring success. Working for a more sustainable world is one of our strategic priorities and we’re proud to be at the forefront in looking to the future, helping our state be more resilient and graduating thousands of leaders who are ready to address these challenges.”
In addition to the platinum rating, UNH was recently ranked 9th among the Top 20 Coolest Schools of 2021 by the Sierra Club and remains a fixture on the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll, just one of 27 named out of more than 800 reviewed.
Highlights of UNH’s sustainability achievements:
- UNH offers students over 450 courses related to sustainability and is one of only a few universities to offer a dual major in sustainability
- 35% of UNH faculty are doing sustainability-related research across 78% of UNH’s academic departments
- Main campus is powered by 100% renewable energy
- All three dining halls and the Dairy Bar are 3-star Green Restaurant Certified
- UNH’s endowment is more than 50% invested in sustainable investment vehicles
“We are very proud to have again achieved the STARS platinum rating,” said Tom Kelly, executive director of the UNH Sustainability Institute and the university’s chief sustainability officer. “We stand together with the global community in this pivotal decade when we know we must collectively address the existential climate crisis, as well as other interconnected challenges of sustainability. Our community embraces sustainability as a shared ethos and a driver of collaboration and impact that is core to our mission. UNH is part of a movement for a more sustainable world and it’s embedded in our strategic priorities, from how we educate to how we embrace our state.”
A total of 677 institutions have earned a STARS rating, making the 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, and innovation and leadership.
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE STARS, visit https://stars.aashe.org/.