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STARS Benchmark Report

STARS Silver Logo - a silver ring with white lettering on the top that says "Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System." The bottom says Bronze. Inside the ring is a lighter silver and has the STARS star symbol and underneath it says, "stars" and below that it says "a program of aashe."


The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) is a commonly used sustainability benchmarking tool for colleges and universities. It assesses campus sustainability efforts in all areas including academics, outreach, operations, and administration. Universities earn a rating based on the percentage of points they earn. 

South Dakota State University completed its first benchmark report in 2016 earning a Bronze rating. In 2019, SDSU submitted the latest report and earned a Silver rating.  This benchmarking tool helps campus plan and prioritize future sustainability efforts on campus.

Full STARS Report

View the full STARS report

STARS 2019 Report Highlights


A stack of books.

4%  of classes include sustainability concepts. 

Magnifying glass

There was an increased number of courses that look at how to improve campus sustainability.  

Graduation cap

20 sustainability-related degrees are offered. 


295 faculty/staff are engaged in sustainability research. 



All SDSU clothing is made under fair working conditions.  

A person giving a presentation.

There was an increased number of outreach programs.  

A diagram of three people connected.

20+ community partnerships work to improve sustainability.  

A compass.

90%  of new students have an opportunity to learn about sustainability at orientation.  


A lady bug

91%  of campus grounds are managed under an Integrated Pest Management Plan.  

A water droplet

There was a 3%  reduction in potable water use per weighted campus user from the baseline year.

Dollar bills

There are sustainable purchasing policies and requirements for certain products.  

A fork and knife

11%  of food and beverage expenditures are from sustainable sources.  

Planning & Administration

The dollar sign

91%  of all employees are paid at or above a living wage of $14.37 per hour. 

A heart with a heart beat line through it.

There was a 5% reduction in workplace injuries and occupational disease cases per FTE employee from the baseline year.  

Two people standing and one sitting in a wheelchair.

SDSU offers a variety of diversity related support and programming.  

A diagram.

Sustainability is included in multiple campus master/strategic plans.