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Sustainability Ratings

The three main sustainability rating systems in higher education allow colleges and universities to streamline data collection, share best practices, and challenge each other to improve. STARS, Sierra Magazine, and Princeton Review play an important role in helping to fuel the sustainability movement in higher education.


aashe stars gold

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) STARS program is a self-reporting system focused on sustainability that assesses environmental, social, and economic factors in its ratings. Colleges and Universities like GMC report to STARS every three years. GMC earned a Gold rating for STARS in 2014.

Developed by the higher education community through a transparent process, STARS is designed to provide a framework for understanding sustainability in all sectors of higher education. It is the most comprehensive of the major sustainability rating systems for higher education.

Over time, it helps enable meaningful comparisons across institutions using a common set of measurements, and helps create incentives for continual improvement toward sustainability, building a stronger and more diverse campus sustainability community.

Green Mountain College was a Charter Participant in the program in 2011, when it earned its first rating of Gold. Becoming involved with AASHE helped GMC publicly report comprehensive information related to the College’s sustainability performance in education and research, operations, planning, administration, and engagement.

Green Mountain College’s Sustainability Office was primarily responsible for the information collected here, but a number of student researchers, faculty and staff, administrators, and even classes contributed to the collection of data and synthesis of information. The STARS process allowed the College to track information where no records were available previously, and inspired the creation of new initiatives based on suggestions from the reporting tool and examples of initiatives at other colleges.

All of the information reported is publicly available. View GMC’s results here.

Sierra Magazine's Cool Schools List

The Cool Schools rating system is the second most comprehensive of the three major rating systems. It requires a subset of the STARS questions, mostly focused on environmental impact. Green Mountain College has been on the Cool Schools List since 2009. GMC was #1 in 2010, #2 in 2011, #11 in 2012, #6 in 2013, and #8 in 2014.

Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll

The Princeton Review Green Honor Roll is based off from a slightly smaller subset of STARS questions. Like Sierra Magazine, it is mostly focused on environmental impact. Every year, over 800 colleges and universities are evaluated for the honor roll, but only 20-25 schools make the cut. GMC was one of only 21 schools in the nation to make the honor roll in 2013 and one of only 22 schools to make it in 2014. GMC made the honor roll again in 2015, as one of only 24 out of the 861 that were evaluated.

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