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.
View the full report on the STARS website.
Here are a few highlights:
- Over 27 percent of our courses include a sustainability component, attributable to 13 years of Sustainability Across the Curriculum programming. Our goal is to engage 100% of our students in at least one sustainability-related course during their academic career.
- Myriad waste minimization programs enable reuse of materials from office supplies to residential decorations; even fruit gleaned from campus trees stock our campus food pantries. Though SCU’s waste diversion rate hovers around 70%, we are aiming for Zero Waste to be achieved through source waste reduction and improved waste practices.
- Creative energy efficiency and renewable energy programs enable us to decrease energy use, though our campus continues to grow. We have worked hard to reduce our net Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 64% per person.
- A three-year Initiative on Environmental Justice and the Common Good. This presidential initiative is grounded in our mission as a Jesuit, Catholic university that aspires to educate for justice by connecting environmental concerns with social justice issues, such as poverty, racism, and migration. It also reflects the recently announced Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Jesuits.
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.
Recognition and Scoring