Seeing STARS


Dickinson scores big in national campus sustainability rankings

For the fourth time, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has recognized Dickinson as a top-performing college (Gold level), as measured by its Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). This time, the college comes in at No. 4 on the list of Overall Top Performers in the baccalaureate category.

“Our success has come through our commitment to making sustainability integral to a Dickinson education, in and out of the classroom, and providing the resources to make that happen,” says Neil Leary, director of the Center for Sustainability Education. “We encourage and enable our faculty to continue to be innovative in their teaching, push boundaries and provide opportunities for our students to learn by tackling authentic and challenging sustainability problems on campus, in the community and in the world at large.”

STARS recognizes a small percentage of colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability, and as of July 2016, 398 institutions in nine countries had submitted STARS criteria. The criteria are then evaluated by AASHE and used to rank the institutions via four broad metrics: academics, engagement, operations and planning & administration.

Dickinson scored 98.7 percent in the Research subcategory, the highest in its group. In the Buildings subcategory, Dickinson earned a 57.9 percent, the second highest in its group and more than 30 percent higher than the national baccalaureate average.

“Our success is partially because we’re not new to the game—we’ve been ‘doing’ sustainability for quite a while,” says Ken Shultes ’89, associate vice president for sustainability & facilities planning. “Going forward we’ll continue to develop and expose the connections between sustainability and the curriculum, the community and the campus to provide our students with the best tools possible to innovate solutions for planetary challenges in the 21st century.”

The AASHE gold-level ranking adds to a long list of sustainability accolades for Dickinson that includes recognition on Sierra magazine's list of Top 20 Cool Schools and the Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll.

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Published January 6, 2017