Onondaga Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability

Onondaga Community College has earned a STARS Silver Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System, is a new program that measures and encourages sustainability at colleges and universities.

“Onondaga Community College is working to integrate sustainability throughout campus operations, incorporate sustainability into the curriculum, educate campus members about sustainability issues, and support sustainability efforts in the community,” said Sean Vormwald, director of sustainability at Onondaga. “The College’s STARS Silver Rating demonstrates our progress in each of these areas.”

STARS is a self-assessment that evaluates a campus’ sustainability program by examining criteria related to:

  1. Education and research
  2. Operations
  3. Planning, administration and engagement

Campuses can use these metrics to monitor their progress over time and compare themselves with other colleges and universities.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Paul Rowland. “Onondaga Community College has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Onondaga’s sustainability efforts began in 2007 when Onondaga Community College President Debbie L. Sydow, Ph.D., signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Since then, the College has launched a number of sustainability initiatives, including:

  • Installing solar panels on the roof of the Whitney Applied Technology Center
  • Composting food waste from campus dining facilities
  • Encouraging a campus-wide recycling initiative
  • Applying sustainable landscape practices
  • Implementing energy efficient improvements across campus
  • Installing electric vehicle charging stations
  • Introducing green building design strategies for new construction projects
  • Hosting sustainability-focused educational events

“We are very pleased to have achieved a STARS Silver Rating for our sustainability accomplishments. We look forward to tracking our progress with the STARS program as we continue to improve our sustainability initiative,” said Vormwald.