Brock University’s continued efforts to reduce its carbon footprint have been recognized by an international agency that strives to advance sustainability in higher education.
The University recently earned a Silver rating from its inaugural Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a comprehensive framework developed for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.
STARS is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) with support and ongoing engagement from a wide variety of higher education stakeholders.
Brock’s STARS rating was achieved through the hard work of the Brock University Project Charter team, formed through a formal agreement between the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) and Facilities Management. This initiative focuses on bridging operating and academic constituents concerned with Sustainability at Brock.
“When we started this exciting partnership, we quickly realized that many amazing actions were already underway on campus,” said Ryan Plummer, Director of the ESRC. “The STARS process is a systematic and robust way to capture our present performance and identify areas for future improvement. A Silver rating is noteworthy and should be celebrated. It demonstrates what is possible when we bridge the operating and academic constituents concerned with Sustainability at Brock.”
Scott Johnstone, Brock’s Senior Associate Vice-President, Infrastructure and Operations, said the University is “always looking for new and innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint and increase campus engagement.”
“We are honoured to be recognized by AASHE for our sustainability achievements and look forward to utilizing the results to prioritize our next steps.”
With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to college and university sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: academics; engagement; operations; planning and administration; and innovation and leadership.
Areas of success at Brock recognized through STARS include:
- More than 15 per cent of all courses at Brock include sustainability content
- Brock’s recent advancements in the District Energy System, which has helped reduce its carbon footprint and increase efficiency in heating, cooling and electricity
- Master of Sustainability at the graduate level and Minor in Sustainability at the undergraduate level
- Brock’s waste diversion rate of 73 per cent
- Environmental community partnerships through the ESRC, including the Brock Lincoln Living Lab, Niagara Adapts, Trail Assets and Tourism, and a new with World Wildlife Fund-Canada
- The assessment of diversity and equity on campus, including the recently released Assessment of Climate for Learning, Living, and Working
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Brock University has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”
The results from the first STARS rating will serve as a foundation for Brock’s future sustainability planning and development efforts.
New information related to sustainability at the University, whether regarding a course, report or a program, is always welcome and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about Brock’s sustainability efforts, visit the Sustainability at Brock web page.
To view Brock’s published report on the STARS website, click here.
NOTE: This story was written by Elenore Breslow, Sustainability Co-ordinator (Co-op) in the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre.