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Sustainability Plan and STARS

Sustainability Plan and STARS

STARS Gold Rating Logo

The Virginia Tech Sustainability Plan was created in 2009 to address the ways in which the university plans to meet the goals outlined in the original Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment.  The Sustainability Plan was updated in 2014 and approved by the University Council in 2015.  Since that time, there has been a shift in focus towards the use of STARS as the primary sustainability plan for campus.

STARS - The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System

Virginia Tech uses the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Educations (AASHE)  Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System (STARS) to track most of the elements that appeared in the original Sustainability Plan. Virginia Tech's most recent STARS Report is available.

STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. This tracking system considers five core areas when measuring a university’s sustainability standing: Education & Research (with subcategories of co-curricular education, curriculum, and research), Operations (buildings, climate, dining services, energy, grounds, purchasing, transportation, waste, and water), Planning Administration & Engagement (coordination and planning, diversity and affordability, human resources, investment, and public engagement), Innovation, and Supplemental Data.

The Energy and Sustainability Committee at Virginia Tech, along with the Office of Sustainability and a large group of sustainability stakeholders on campus, determined that the STARS program would be a suitable replacement for the Sustainability Plan, a document well over 200 pages, which would be too time- and labor-intensive to keep up-to-date in a meaningful way. The 2015 update to the Sustainability Plan outlines this transition, and includes additional points that are not yet covered by the STARS framework, but are important to Virginia Tech's sustainability mission.

Virginia Tech submitted its first STARS report in August 2011, receiving a Silver rating.  The university has since received a Silver rating in March 2013, a Gold rating in October 2014, and another Gold rating in December 2017.  The university submitted its most recent STARS report in February 2021 and received its third Gold rating!   

There are approximately 1,028 institutions registered with the STARS program. Of those, only 229, including Virginia Tech, are Charter Participants. Virginia Tech is one of only 140 members ranking as Gold, which positions the university in the top 15 percent of sustainable institutions!

AASHE - The association for advancement of sustainability in higher education
STARS - A program of aashe.