SCU's sustainability rating through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) has helped to establish our institution as a leader in sustainability.
SCU is rated as a STARS Gold Institution - since 2014. Our rating is based on the total points earned for credits across four main categories: Academics (AC), Engagement (EN), Operations, (OP), and Planning & Administration (PA). Institutions can also earn up to four Innovation & Leadership points for exemplary and path-breaking initatives that are not covered by other STARs credits.
Here are a few highlights:
- In the 2022-23 school year, the Center for Sustainability and Division of Mission and Ministry embarked on a year-long planning process to develop a sustainability action plan that takes SCU through 2030, rooted in the Pope’s environmental enyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. This plan builds upon SCU’s existing sustainability leadership and strengths, while enabling our University to amplify our work and connect to the worldwide Laudato Si' Journey.
- Since 2007, over 202 SCU faculty have benefitted from our Sustainability Across the Curriculum program. In 2022, we created an additional workshop to train faculty how to teach about environmental justice and incorporate community-engaged research into their teaching and scholarship. This year we are offering three different workshops to 33 SCU faculty and 29 faculty from other colleges and universities (e.g.: UCLA, Loyola University Chicago, and Seattle University): Sustainability across the Curriculum, Environmental Justice and Integral Ecology, and Pedagogy for Sustainability and Justice.
Some points of distinction include:
This section focuses on curriculum and research, which includes information on academic courses, learning outcomes, number of graduates in sustainability programs, a literacy assessment, support for and access to research related to sustainability, and how the University uses the campus as a living laboratory.
This sections evaluates the impact and reach of the events, programs, publications, and other educational initiatives within the University community such as student life and orientation, peer education, and professional development. It also examines the campus' partnerships including with local government and other campuses, as well as service within its community.
This section measures all aspects of the operations management at the institution, which includes the University's greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of local food in dining services, the power mix that fuels buildings, waste minimization, diversion, and management, biodiversity and landscape management, as well as University purchasing choices and processes.
This section focuses on the institution's long-term commitment to sustainability by reviewing initiatives and policies regarding sustainability planning, governance, diversity and affordability, the University's investments, and well-being in the workplace.
This section allows institutions to share their unique and exemplary practices and intiatives. SCU showcased our exemplary practices in the following areas: Center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum, food pantries, Tree Campus USA designation, nitrogen footprinting, pay scale equity, single-use plastic ban, sustainability course designation, the Campus Sustainability Investment Fund, and our people-oriented sustainability playbooks.