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.
Highlights of the report are below.
STARS 2019 Report Highlights
4% of classes include sustainability concepts.
There was an increased number of courses that look at how to improve campus sustainability.
20 sustainability-related degrees are offered.
295 faculty/staff are engaged in sustainability research.
All SDSU clothing is made under fair working conditions.
There was an increased number of outreach programs.
20+ community partnerships work to improve sustainability.
90% of new students have an opportunity to learn about sustainability at orientation.
91% of campus grounds are managed under an Integrated Pest Management Plan.
There was a 3% reduction in potable water use per weighted campus user from the baseline year.
There are sustainable purchasing policies and requirements for certain products.
11% of food and beverage expenditures are from sustainable sources.
Planning & Administration
91% of all employees are paid at or above a living wage of $14.37 per hour.
There was a 5% reduction in workplace injuries and occupational disease cases per FTE employee from the baseline year.
SDSU offers a variety of diversity related support and programming.
Sustainability is included in multiple campus master/strategic plans.