MISSOULA – Following a spring 2017 semester of student-led data collection and a summer of report polishing and editing, the University of Montana earned a bronze rating through The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System.
UM earned a STARS score of 41.99, surpassing the minimum score of 25 needed to attain the Bronze distinction. Among other highlights, the STARS report cites UM’s climate change studies minor, efforts to support sustainability literacy and engagement across all disciplines, and success in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and attention to energy consumption as contributors to the final rating.
The full report is online at http://bit.ly/2mlVWyt.
“Since 2010, we have worked steadfastly toward our climate action goals,” said UM President Sheila Stearns. “Through energy efficiency projects and carbon offsets, UM met its 2015 emissions reduction target. Our distinctive academic programs and innovative research in climate change, sustainability, environmental studies and natural resource conservation have enduring histories and a thriving presence across many disciplines. In short, our climate action efforts are just one expression of a robust campus culture of sustainability.
“We understand, however, that our responsibility to act will never expire and that there is more to do,” Stearns continued. “We will continue our efforts to fully embed climate action into our campus sustainability efforts and community partnerships. We remain dedicated to this work, understanding that the decisions we make now can be catalysts for protecting the health of our population, our economy and our natural setting. As a part of this commitment, we will consider new climate action goals this academic year with our new president and will establish adaptive strategies for meeting our targets. Our efforts have taught us that we must set a pace that is ambitious but feasible. Already, new UM efforts are underway.”
This is the second time UM has participated in STARS, a self-assessment tool used by higher education institutions to measure sustainability progress. STARS helps UM set and meet sustainability goals while fostering collaboration and information-sharing across campus. STARS also enables the University to measure benchmarks alongside peer institutions.
Participating in STARS requires a substantial amount of data collection in four main categories: academics, engagement, operations, and planning and administration. Numerous employees across campus helped with the data collection effort.
For more information email Eva Rocke, UM sustainability coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.