Research, partnerships earn UWM gold sustainability rating

Adding a Bublr bike-share station on campus and diverting stormwater to nourish campus gardens are two sustainability upgrades that helped UW-Milwaukee earn a coveted STARS Gold Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The university’s strong 2016 rating follows its first AASHE commendation, a silver rating in 2013.

Nearly 600 colleges and universities on six continents compete for top sustainability ratings through AASHE.

“A gold rating sets UWM apart as one of the leaders in higher education sustainability,” said Kate Nelson, chief sustainability officer at UWM.

STARS stands for the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, which measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. STARS evaluates sustainability across five categories: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration and innovation.

As southeastern Wisconsin’s only top research university as ranked by the Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education, UWM’s research mission helped the university move up in the AASHE rankings. More than 120 UWM professors were recognized by AASHE for their research related to sustainability.

“The extensive and transparent scope of STARS gives credit to the broad extent of sustainability at UWM,” Nelson said. “The efforts are visible throughout campus, from academic coursework and research to community engagement projects and operations. Sustainability guides how we fertilize our lawns and use fossil fuels on campus. Sustainable practices also influence what food we serve students, how we prepare them for the workforce and so much more.”

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “UW-Milwaukee has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

The 2016 UWM STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.

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