Press Release for Thursday, January 10, 2013
UNF Recognized As STARS Bronze Institution for Sustainability Advancement
Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Associate Director
Department of Public Relations
The University of North Florida was recognized by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education as a STARS Bronze Institution based on the University's accomplishments in campus sustainability.
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) is an innovative, voluntary self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge progress toward sustainability and be recognized for sustainability leadership. STARS was designed to provide a framework for understanding sustainability in higher education, enable meaningful comparisons between universities and facilitate information sharing.
"We're very proud of our AASHE bronze rating," said Dr. Radha Pyati, UNF Environmental Center director. "The process illuminated the University's strengths and accomplishments and also pointed us in the direction of improvement."
Institutions earn points in three main categories: education and research; operations; and planning, administration and engagement. Each of these categories includes subcategories such as purchasing, curriculum, energy and human resources. To earn the bronze status, institutions need a score of 25. UNF scored 33.
Some of the sustainability advancements by UNF include construction of LEED-certified buildings on campus, overall waste reduction and co-curricular education. UNF President John Delaney has made a commitment that all new buildings on campus will be LEED-certified. The University now has nine LEED buildings, three of which earned a gold status, four have a silver status and two are basic LEED-certified. The LEED™ Green Building Rating System is a voluntary third-party rating system where credits are earned for satisfying specified green building criteria.
Another advancement is in the area of overall waste reduction. UNF went from recycling 95 tons of waste in 2005 to 228 tons in 2011, a 238 percent increase in recycling, and experienced an 18 percent reduction in total waste from 2005 to 2011. The University has also implemented programs such as electronic waste recycling, hazardous waste management and a housing move-in/move-out waste reduction program.
Integrating co-curricular education is another advancement by UNF. One example is the annual Garbage on the Green event, which is a waste audit that evaluates what is thrown away at the University. Results are used to better understand the solid waste program and make improvements. UNF also offers peer-to-peer education programs related to sustainability. Students who volunteer at the Frederick and Ophelia Tate Ogier Organic Gardens on campus teach other students about organic gardening and choices for a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, the Department of Housing and Residence Life Green Team helps teach students who live on campus about current environmental issues, solutions to those issues and to be a good steward of the environment.
Launched by AASHE in early 2010, STARS is the only system of its kind that involves public reporting of comprehensive information related to a college's or university's sustainability performance. STARS provides institutions with a standardized assessment tool to measure their sustainability performance. The system includes 139 environmental, economic and social indicators. All of the requirements for evaluating and scoring an institution are transparent and made publicly available.
UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.