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Appalachian’s sustainability programs receive Gold STARS rating

BOONE—Appalachian State University has received a STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS).

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STARS is a transparent, self-reporting tool for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability progress. STARS ratings are based on three categories: education and research, operations, planning and administration, and engagement.

“This rating means that Appalachian has demonstrated a commitment to sustainability that spans our entire university,” said Ged Moody, Appalachian’s director of sustainability. The rating is for a three-year period.

STARS ratings are based on a points system with gold awarded to institutions receiving 65 to 85 points. Other categories are reporter, for institutions that report their data but receive no rating, bronze, silver and platinum.

“Appalachian has been a proud partner of the AASHE STARS process since the beginning, being both a Pilot and a Charter participant,” wrote Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock to the STARS steering committee. “We look forward to continued use of the STARS platform to guide, track and monitor our progress on the journey toward sustainability.”

Appalachian’s report is online at

“Many people across campus have worked hard in this community effort to achieve the STARS Gold rating,” said Ged Moody, Appalachian’s director of sustainability. “Dr. Lee Ball from the Department of Technology and Environmental Design was instrumental in Appalachian’s participation in the STARS pilot program.”

Appalachian was one of 22 institutions to participate in the STARS pilot program in 2008.

“Crystal Simmons, a specialist in the Office of Sustainability, managed the 18-month assessment process,” Moody said. Others involved in the self-assessment were graduate students in the Office of Sustainability and members of the Sustainability Council’s Institutional Data Subcommittee and the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning on campus.

Others who assisted with the self-assessment are listed at

The campus community also assisted by completing a STARS survey and taking leadership positions to advancing sustainability across campus. “Your efforts have helped our entire community receive a continuing education in sustainability principles in a collaborative, participative atmosphere,” Moody said of faculty and staff collaboration on the assessment. “STARS is an important tool in advancing and integrating sustainability awareness and principles across campus.”

Of the 186 current STARS participants, only 34 had received Gold status as of the end of May 2012.

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, STARS is open to all institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.


AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit