AASHE STARS reports are a valuable tool for sustainability in higher education. The metrics provided by a report give sustainability staff a quantitative—and thus easily comparable—understanding of where their program’s strengths and improvables lie.
The reports also help peer institutions benchmark themselves. In some cases, showing your internal stakeholders that a rival institution is scoring better than your school in a given area can help inspire support for change.
That said, the ability of these reports to support these uses depends on users entering good quality data. For most of us, ensuring data quality is not an exciting task. Thankfully, AASHE has provided a number of tools and resources to help (and incentivize!) you with this work.
First, there is AASHE’s “Data Quality Boot Camp Series” of webinars, which GreenerU’s Alex Davis participated in recently. He was able to glean the following tips:
One good practice is to partner with someone not associated with the data collection to read through your report before you submit your data to AASHE. A reviewer could be someone else from your institution, someone from a peer institution, or external support.
And there’s an added bonus: if you complete this review process using AASHE’s guidelines, you’ll be eligible for an Exemplary Practice credit —something that could help you increase your score.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about working with GreenerU to complete a pre-submission review. We’re always happy to help!
STARS Data Quality Boot Camp Webinar Series: Overall Tips: you can view a recording of the full webinar as well as presentation slides.
The STARS Review Template is a spreadsheet that walks through every credit with questions to help a reviewer catch incorrect or unclear entries.