Find out how this green rating system makes it easier to track and benchmark your campus sustainability measures — anywhere in the world

by Brianna Crandall — October 23, 2019 — The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recently announced the release of STARS 2.2, the latest version of its green rating system to track and benchmark higher education campus sustainability measures.

The newest version of STARS features greater international relevance and integration with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Within the Technical Manual, institutions can see how each of the 17 STARS subcategories, such as Curriculum, Public Engagement, Food & Dining, or Water, map to the SDGs.

Additional internationally recognized standards and terminology have also been incorporated throughout.

Institutions will also find that more regional certifications and local equivalents have been included.

Other new features of STARS 2.2 include:

  • A new “Points of Distinction” section to allow participants to highlight their most notable sustainability programs, initiatives or accomplishments.
  • Simplified criteria for some credits that have proven to be particularly time-intensive (e.g., the Food and Beverage Purchasing and Sustainability Planning credits).
  • More flexibility and additional opportunities to earn partial points (e.g., in the Learning Outcomes and Open Access to Research credits).
  • Changes intended to minimize clerical and conversion errors (e.g., reporting electricity use in kilowatt-hours).
  • A new Reporting Assurance credit that awards points for engaging in an independent review and revision process before submitting your report.
  • New options to earn bonus points in the Innovation and Leadership section.

Participants are invited to upgrade to this new version right away, but also have the option to report under the older version (2.1) until August 31, 2020.

For any questions, suggestions, feedback or comments, AASHE says to email

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS is intended to engage and recognize the full spectrum of higher education institutions, from community colleges to research universities. The framework encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions, as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking the first steps toward sustainability.

For more information about the release of STARS 2.2, visit the AASHE website. AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation by offering essential resources and professional development.