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Measuring Sustainability Success

July 6, 2011

Building on the honour of being named one of Canada's Greenest Employers for 2011, Red River College (RRC) is the first post-secondary institution in Manitoba to join a new program to measure sustainability in all aspects of higher education across North America.

The Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). To date, over 230 higher education institutions have registered as STARS participants, including 22 in Canada.

"We’re participating in STARS to give us a measure of our sustainability performance in all areas of the College – from the courses we deliver, to the way we operate our campus, and the way we plan for the future," explained Sara MacArthur, Manager of Sustainability for RRC.

AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall areas: 1) education & research, 2) operations, and 3) planning, administration & engagement.

“The advantage of STARS is that institutions can earn credits for all of their contributions to sustainability,” said AASHE Executive Director, Paul Rowland. “From providing sustainability coursework, to using green cleaning products, to energy efficiency in campus buildings, there are lots of opportunities for a school to identify and track its sustainability progress.”

STARS is open to all institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada, and the program criteria and ratings are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because it provides a common standard of measurement, STARS allows colleges and universities to compare their sustainability performance against peers across North America.

"We're looking forward to engaging the College community in this process, and watching our sustainability efforts grow across all our campuses through our participation in STARS,” said MacArthur.

For more information about the STARS program, visit www.aashe.org/stars.