Gold STARS for Dickinson
College Receives Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements
June 15, 2011
In April, students and faculty members bicycled from campus to the college farm for a potluck dinner.
Dickinson College has earned a STARS Gold Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a new AASHE program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.
Dickinson also is leading its peers in the depth and breadth of those sustainability efforts. Of the 12 colleges and universities to receive a gold rating so far—including Middlebury and Pomona colleges and New York and American universities—Dickinson’s score of 70.89 is ahead of the pack.
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing sustainability efforts,” said Paul Rowland, AASHE executive director. “Dickinson College has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability and is to be congratulated for its efforts.”
AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves public reporting of comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall areas: education, curriculum and research; operations; and planning, administration and engagement.
Several overlapping factors led to the STARS gold rating. Since 2008, when Dickinson committed itself to making sustainability a defining institutional characteristic, the college has incorporated sustainability across the curriculum. With the assistance of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dickinson launched the Center for Sustainability Education (CSE), which emphasizes active, hands-on, workshop and fieldwork teaching methods, cross-discipline learning and global sensibility and responsibility. CSE links the college’s educational programs to its sustainable operations and civic engagement, creating a living laboratory for learning.
Other CSE innovations include Cooling the Liberal Arts Curriculum, a collaborative program with Columbia University and four community colleges that promotes innovative systems of thinking about climate change and builds teacher competency for interdisciplinary teaching.
Dickinson also committed to maintaining sustainable practices in all of its campus operations—from running equipment on biodiesel and incorporating wind and solar energy to constructing energy-efficient buildings. The college has received USDA organic certification for its College Farm and garnered Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) ratings for its new Rector Science Complex and renovations to Althouse Hall.
“Our pledge to sustainability is embedded in so many facets of this institution,” said CSE Director Neil Leary. “The STARS gold rating provides a framework for evaluating how far we have come as a national leader in sustainability and where we can continue to make progress.”
Learn more about Dickinson’s sustainability programs and initiatives.