Rutgers University—New Brunswick has earned a STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework for publicly reporting comprehensive information about a college or university’s sustainability performance.

The university’s certification submission outlines achievements in five areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration and innovation and leadership. It provides information about Rutgers’ progress toward the goal established in the 2021 Climate Action Plan of becoming carbon neutral by 2040 and helping the nation do likewise by 2050.

Highlights from the submission show that nearly 20 percent of all Rutgers—New Brunswick researchers — 422 of 2,293 — and more than three-quarters of its academic departments study ways to reduce carbon emissions or some other facet of sustainability.

The Office of Climate Action (OCA) led the certification effort in collaboration with students, staff, and faculty throughout Rutgers. It’s the first STARS rating achieved by a Rutgers campus.

“Participation in STARS is a critical step in achieving our climate goals operationally, academically and in our community,” said Brian Ballentine, senior vice president for strategy and senior advisor to the president. “Thanks to the leadership of our Office of Climate Action and its many collaborators across our campuses, Rutgers is living its commitment to addressing climate change locally and globally.”

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 to anyone. It allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions because it is based on credits earned.

“We are very proud to have achieved a STARS rating for our sustainability accomplishments thus far and are grateful to the dozens of students, staff, and faculty who made this report possible. We look forward to using what we have learned through this process to accelerate climate action at Rutgers,” said Angie Oberg, associate director for the Office of Climate Action.

Oberg notes that because STARS is a sustainability-focused system that assesses environmental, social, and economic factors, it addresses Rutgers climate goals as well as OCA’s core values of climate justice, civic responsibility, and actionable scholarship.

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