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SUNY Orange Receives "Silver" Sustainability Rating

April 8, 2019

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – A decade of continued commitment to sustainability and growth in environmentally friendly practices has helped SUNY Orange earn a “silver” rating as part of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

This recent rating is the College’s third entry in the STARS system and represents SUNY Orange’s first silver rating following successive bronze ratings in 2011 and 2014. The College earned a score of 47.53, an increase of 9.0 percent from its 2014 bronze score of 43.6. The College’s initial rating score in 2011 was 35.4. STARS participants report achievements in the areas of: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovations and leadership.

“The elevation of our STARS rating from bronze to silver is a testament to our entire College community, but in particular to the commitment and guidance of our Sustainability Coordinator Kirsten Gabrielsen and our Sustainability Committee,” said Dr. Kristine Young, SUNY Orange president. “Our college employees and students have embraced sustainability and made it a part of our fabric and culture, from how we operate our buildings to the origins of items we purchase regularly to the curriculum we offer. And our current students are literally paying it forward to our future students with their embrace of sustainable practices.”

Among those items that most significantly bolstered SUNY Orange’s 2019 rating: the College has increased the number of academic courses that are solely focused on sustainability or have one or more sustainability-related topics included; measurable sustainability improvements as outlined in various campus plans, including the Sustainability Master Plan; and a College-wide commitment to including all sectors in sustainability efforts through significant involvement from SUNY Orange’s Shared Governance system.

The College’s full rating can be found online. SUNY Orange is a charter member of the STARS program and was an early signee of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007.

With more than 800 participants in 30 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

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

For more information on the STARS program, visit www.stars.aashe.org. For the latest on SUNY Orange’s sustainability program contact Kirsten Gabrielsen, sustainability coordinator, at (845) 341-4166.