For the second time, Michigan State University has received a gold rating for sustainability achievements through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, or AASHE.
Released on a triennial basis, the university received its first gold rating in 2019 with 70.8 points. In 2022, MSU increased to 75.15 points and is the No. 1-rated school in the state.
“This gold rating is a point of pride for Spartans, especially from an organization that specializes in higher education,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “Still, we always strive to do more. In the MSU strategic plan — Empowering Excellence, Advancing Equity and Expanding Impact — we laid out our intention to achieve a platinum rating by 2030. With all of our collective efforts, I know we can get there.”
AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking and Rating System, or STARS, is used by more than 900 public and private universities in 40 countries and is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability efforts. Participants report achievements in four overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, and planning and administration.
“Sustainability is driven by every Spartan at MSU. The STARS report illustrates the sustainable actions of our employees and students while showcasing the university’s progress in embracing sustainability in academics, outreach and operations,” said Laura Young, sustainability program coordinator. “MSU is dedicated to identifying opportunities to continue driving change for a sustainable future.”
In line with its roots of empowering people through educational opportunity, MSU’s strongest area continues to be academics. The university received 92% of the points available in that category, an increase from 86% in 2019. MSU has more than 800 courses, as well as several degree programs, that incorporate sustainability into the curriculum or through experiential learning. Half of the university’s continuing education programs through MSU Extension address sustainability topics.
The rating also recognized the research being conducted by MSU’s world-class faculty toward sustainability challenges, often working with interdisciplinary teams in collaboration with communities around the world to solve global problems.
Other sustainability-related efforts at MSU include:
- Committing to convert nearly 370 internal combustion engine vehicles in the fleet to fully electric vehicles over the next decade
- Processing more than 52,000 pounds of food waste each month through vermicomposting and the anaerobic digester
- Maintaining a resilient main campus through designated Campus Natural Areas and the Tree Management Plan that includes a one-for-one Tree Replacement Policy
- Engaging students in sustainable practices through signature programs including Eco Reps and Pack Up. Pitch In.