STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System)

In April, 2019, the Campus Sustainability Committee - a presidentially appointed committee of faculty, staff, and students --- submitted a sustainability report to the Association for the Advanced of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) for the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS), receiving a sustainability rating of bronze based on a metric rating from bronze to platinum. STARS provides a transparent metric and reporting tool for a wide range of sustainability activities across academics, engagement, operations, and planning and administration.

Full Report


AASHE-STARS: STARS, a program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), is a sustainability tracking, assessment and rating system used as a metric to identify and offer long-term sustainability goals for colleges and universities. Each institution’s score is based on a comprehensive understanding of each institution’s sustainability practices, consisting of a cumulative score over five broad categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, Planning & Administration, and Innovation & Leadership.   In total, an institution can achieve a score from bronze to platinum status.  Today, 944 institutions worldwide have registered to use the STARS reporting tool, 655 which are AASHE members.  Based on this metric, 203 total points are possible; 85 are needed to become platinum, 65 for gold, 45 for silver, and 25 for bronze.  Currently, only 5 institutions are recognized as platinum, 108 are recognized as gold, 139 are recognized as silver, and 42 as bronze. 

Summary of the Report

UW attained a bronze rating, scoring nearly 26 points. Highlights across the major categories include:


  1. Campus as a Living Laboratory

    1. Definition: this credit focuses on student engagement, utilizing campus infrastructure and operations to further sustainable efforts.

    2. UW: UW offers a number of sustainable courses that allow students to track UW’s greenhouse gas emissions and focus on efforts to reduce them.

  2. Academic Courses

    1. Definition: this credit recognizes institutions that offer sustainability courses across its curriculum.

    2. UW: Over 60% of academic departments offer at least one sustainability course.

  3. Immersive Experience

    1. Definition: this credit recognizes institutions offering sustainability-focused immersive experience programs.

    2. UW: offers an environmental solutions course in Jackson Hole focused on building students toolbox to solve complex environmental and natural resource problems.


  1. Community partnerships:

    1. Definition: this credit recognizes institutions that have developed campus-community partnerships to advance sustainability.

    2. UW: utilizes a community-based research project in Fremont County, Wyoming assessing home food gardens in relation to community well-being.

  2. Student life

    1. Definition: this credit recognizes institutions with interdisciplinary programs and incentives to students that contribute to student learning about sustainability outside the classroom.

    2. UW: Offers a number of student-run organizations to bolster student learning about sustainability, including the ACRES student farm and the Campus Sustainability Club.

  3. Outreach materials and publications

    1. Definition: this credit recognizes institutions producing outreach materials and publications enhancing student learning about sustainability outside the classroom.

    2. UW: keeps students apprised of sustainable-related initiatives on campus through its facebook page, utilizes signage notifying students of sustainable buildings throughout campus, as well as notifies students of bike-friendly areas throughout campus.


  1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    1. Definition: recognizes institutions that have inventoried greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions and made efforts to reduce net emissions.

    2. UW: conducts a greenhouse gas inventory focusing on the on- and off-campus carbon footprint UW creates.

  2. Building Energy Consumption

    1. Definition: this credit recognizes institutions that have reduced building energy usage.

    2. UW: has made efforts to become less energy consumptive by retrofitting existing buildings with more energy-efficient amenities, while attempting to build new energy efficient buildings.

Planning and Administration

  1. Support for underrepresented groups

    1. Definition: recognizes institutions that have programs in place to support underrepresented groups and foster a diverse and inclusive campus community.

    2. UW: Utilizes programs, including the Summer Research Apprentice Program to recruit first-generation and underrepresented students considering college.

  2. Diversity and equity coordination

    1. Definition: recognizes institutions with active committees, offices, or officers charged by the administration to coordinate diversity, equity, inclusion and human rights work on campus.

    2. UW: utilizes an office of diversity, equity, and inclusion to evaluate current campus efforts targeting inclusion and identifying areas of improvement.

  3. Affordability and access

    1. Definition: recognizes institutions making efforts to improve accessibility and affordability to students.

    2. UW: offers a variety of scholarships for low-income Wyoming, out-of-state, and underrepresented students.


OP19: Waste Minimization and Diversion à Score 2.73/8

Full Points: Compared to a baseline, implement source reduction strategies to reduce waste. As an institution, total annual waste generation is less than .5 tons per weighted campus user. Also, must divert materials from landfills and incinerators by recycling, composting, donating, and reselling.

UW Efforts: UW reported that it diverts ~20% of its waste from landfills and incinerators.

Future Strategies: This could be increased by collecting data on composted, donated, and resold items.


OP20: Construction and Demolition Waste Diversion à Score 0/1

Full Points: Divert non-hazardous construction and demolition waste from the landfill and/or incinerator. Soil and organic debris clearing do not count toward this credit.

UW Efforts: Action has already been taken to reduce non-hazardous construction material from entering the landfill or incinerator.

Future Strategies: By implementing data collection strategies, points could be attained.


EN2: Student Orientation à Score 0/2

Full Points: Institution includes sustainability topics and activities that teach students about sustainability.

UW Efforts: None so far.

Future Strategies: Including sustainability within new student orientation presentations and activities would build an informed campus community that could continue future sustainable efforts.


AC6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment à Score 0/4

Full points: Preforming a pre and post assessment of sustainability knowledge to either entire student body, or a subset of students that represent the institutions predominant student body.

UW Efforts: None so far.

Future Strategies: Assessing the sustainability knowledge students have on sustainable topics and challenges could inform future decisions on how to best allocate efforts in educating the student body about sustainability.



EN1: Student Educators Program à Score 0/4

Full Points: Institution coordinates an ongoing peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program for students.

UW Efforts: None so far.

Future Strategies: To form a sponsored campus program that formally appoints and trains students to provide peer-peer sustainability outreach to inform the campus community of our efforts and spread sustainability.


AC3: Undergrad Program à Score 1.5/3

Full Points: Institution offers at least one sustainability major and minor (or a program equivalent).

UW Efforts: UW currently provides a sustainability minor to students.

Future Strategies: Building a sustainability undergraduate degree path would academically diversify, add opportunity, and attract new students to the university.


PA5: Assessing Diversity and Equity à Score 0.75/1

Full Points: Institution has a structured assessment during the previous three years to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. Assessment must address, campus climate by engaged stakeholders to assess faculty, staff, administration, and students. Also, student and staff outcomes related to diversity, equity and success.

Engaging and improving our structured assessment process to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus remains a priority.


PA7: Affordability and Access à Score 2.26/4

Full Points: Institution has policies and programs in place to make low income, and/or non-traditinal students able to attend. Policies and programs can include attendance cost reductions, scholarships, targeted outreach programs, on-site child care facilities, guidance programs, ect.

Ensuring the institution remains affordable to low-income students, and accessible to non-traditional students is protected through programs and councils such as the Student Educational Opportunity, numerous scholarships, and the Non-traditional Council.

Rocky Mountain Power

Thanks to the UW Office of the President and Rocky Mountain Power for their generous support of the STARS Team.





Contact Us

Campus Sustainability Committee

Laramie, WY 82071


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