In its first-ever bid, the College of Charleston earned a STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability efforts from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

“Our dedication to sustainability and our relentless pursuit of innovation and togetherness — despite today’s challenges — are at the heart of this Cougar community,” says CofC President Andrew T. Hsu. “This rating reaffirms our hard work and continued mission to empower the next generation of leaders to shape a resilient and equitable world.”

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. Participants report progress in categories like academics, engagement, operations, planning and innovation. The College and its Center for Sustainable Development, the campus hub for sustainability scholarship, engagement and professional development, received high marks for its:

  • Development of diverse sustainability literacy curriculum and faculty engagement.
  • Dynamic mentorship program that emphasizes student-driven projects and research.
  • Thought leadership and operational support to advance climate and zero waste goals.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser says. “The College of Charleston has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for its efforts.”

STARS is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a rating are transparent and accessible. AASHE shares its ratings with the Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges and the Sierra Club’s Green Schools systems.

RELATED: View the ASSHE report on the College of Charleston’s STARS rating.

Now, Brian Fisher, executive director for the Center for Sustainable Development, with his team, is charting a path to gold. With support from campus partners like Facilities Management and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Fisher believes the College can build on its first-ever STARS ranking and seek more progress on initiatives related to its climate and zero waste goals.

“The Center is fired up,” Fisher says. “While we celebrate this achievement and our collective success, we know we cannot rest. It will take all of us to get to gold — every staff and faculty member, every student, every governing body. We can only do this together.”

Featured image: The Knox-Lesesne House at 14 Green Way is home to the College of Charleston’s Center for Sustainable Development.