Whether reviewing, coordinating, or managing the entire process of submitting an inventory, GreenerU gets your institution to the STARS.
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS is a program from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS offers multiple benefits including the following:
When submitted to STARS, reports are reviewed and given a rating (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum) with support from AASHE staff. The staff ensure that the reports are accurate and comprehensive prior to being published on AASHE’s website.
Many institutions elect to submit two credits, PA 4 and IN 11, that review and verify the accuracy of the data and submission. Institutions earn points by engaging with others in a comprehensive review either internally or externally, for up to 1.5 points. These reviewers fulfill the credit of reporting assurance, ensuring that the data has been reviewed by someone unaffiliated with the data collection process.
Under version 2.2 of STARS, reporting assurance is encouraged but not required for institutions to submit. Instead STARS incentivizes and rewards institutions that complete a successful assurance review. Reviews comprehensively assess each credit for inconsistencies, errors, data outliers, written explanations, and valid URLs. All reviews require the reviewer to use the STARS Review Template, a spreadsheet that ensures all reviewers follow a standard review process and that reviewer feedback is addressed and approved prior to submission.
In addition to the reporting assurance credits, institutions have another opportunity to earn credits from report reviews. Schools can also earn points for serving as peer reviewers of other institutions STARS reports, fulfilling the requirements of EN 11 inter-campus collaboration.
AASHE has found that institutions that choose to complete the reporting assurance process have fewer mistakes to correct, thus ensuring their scores are more accurate prior to AASHE’s staff review and that their reports are published faster.
Since the addition of the reporting assurance credit, we completed third-party external reviews for several colleges and universities. We supported multiple University of Massachusetts schools to submit their STARS reports, including Amherst and Lowell. Most notably, we had our first international client as we supported Humber College complete the reporting assurance credits.
We offer a variety of AASHE STARS related services which include but are not limited to the external review. Many of our clients hire us to perform data management services where we support data collectors throughout the process, offering advice and insight into the types of data needed and where to start collecting data. By supporting our clients in the data collection process, the external review is typically smoother and has fewer errors. We work with University of Massachusetts, Lowell (v2.2), University of Massachusetts, Amherst (v2.2), Bryant University (v2.2), and University of Southern California (USC) (v2.2) to complete an external review while supporting their data collection processes.
We have supported a few other institutions exclusively with an external review for the reporting assurance credits. Most recently, we supported Humber College (v2.2) complete their review. One of our first reviews was with Colorado State University (CSU) (v2.1) in 2019, before the reporting assurance credits were added in version 2.2. We supported Bentley University (v2.2) in 2020 with their review and are actively supporting their data collection efforts for a submission later this year.
Gathering data and sharing best practices, policies, and programs are important to furthering sustainability efforts. Colleges and universities are leaders and models in climate action and innovative sustainable solutions. We enjoy supporting institutions as they share their successes and make the world a better place.
Is your school ready for a sustainable future? Gathering data and submitting a report to AASHE STARS is an excellent way to measure your progress against your peers. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the growing community of schools that are leading the way.