How Does Tufts Compare?

Below are two graphs displaying how Tufts compares to other institutions. The percentage achieved in each of the four categories, Innovation, Planning, Administration & Engagement, Operations, and Education & Research, are stacked on top of each other to show the compounded percentage of total points achieved.

Percentage of Total Points Achieved

%total acheived (all)

%total acheived (peer)

Each of the following graphs measure the number of points achieved by a given institution out of the total offered by STARS. Tufts’ results are in red. Beside each graph is a description of the variables included in each category.


Education and Research


This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that provide their students with sustainability learning experiences outside the formal curriculum. Engaging in sustainability issues through co-curricular activities allows students to deepen and apply their understandings of sustainability principles. Institution-sponsored co-curricular sustainability offerings, often coordinated by student affairs offices, help integrate sustainability into the campus culture and set a positive tone for the institution.




This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that have formal education programs and courses that address sustainability. One of the primary functions of colleges and universities is to educate students. By training and educating future leaders, scholars, workers, and professionals, higher education institutions are uniquely positioned to prepare students to understand and address sustainability challenges. Institutions that offer courses covering sustainability issues help equip their students to lead society to a sustainable future.



research This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are conducting research related  to or focused on sustainability. Conducting research is a major function of many colleges and universities. By researching sustainability issues and refining theories and concepts, higher education institutions can continue to help the world understand sustainability challenges and develop new technologies, strategies, and approaches to address those challenges.


Includes Sustainability Research Identification, Faculty Involved in Sustainability Research, Departments Involved in Sustainability Research, Sustainability Research Incentives, and Interdisciplinary Research in Tenure and Promotion



buildings This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are taking steps to improve the sustainability performance of their buildings. Buildings are generally the largest user of energy and the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions on campuses. Buildings also use significant amounts of potable water. Institutions can design, build, and maintain buildings in ways that provide a safe and healthy indoor environment for inhabitants while simultaneously mitigating the building’s impact on the outdoor environment. 

Includes Building Operations and Maintenance, Building Design and Construction, and Indoor Air Quality.


This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are measuring and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Global warming is expected to have myriad negative impacts throughout the world, including increased frequency and potency of extreme weather events,sea level rise, species extinction, water shortages, declining agricultural production, and spread of diseases. The impacts are expected to be particularly pronounced for poor communities and countries.

Includes Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction, Air Travel Emissions, and Local Offsets Program



dining services
This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are helping build a sustainable food system. Modern industrial food production often has deleterious environmental impacts. Pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture can contaminate ground and surface water, which has potentially dangerous impacts on wildlife and human health. Furthermore, the often long-distance transportation of food to institutions produces greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution. Additionally, farm workers are often paid sub-standard wages, subjected to harsh working conditions, and exposed to dangerous pesticides. Institutions can use their food purchases to support their local economies; encourage safe, environmentally-friendly farming methods; and help alleviate poverty for farmers.

Includes Food Purchasing, Trayless Dining, Vegan Dining, Trans-Fats, Guidelines for Franchises, Pre- and Post-Consumer Food Waste Composting, Food Donation, Recycled Content Napkins, Reusable Mug Discounts, and Reusable To-Go Containers

This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are reducing their energy consumption through conservation and efficiency, and switching to cleaner and renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, and low-impact hydropower. For most institutions, energy consumption is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming. Global warming is expected to have myriad negative impacts throughout the world, including increased frequency and potency of extreme weather events, sea level rise, species extinction, water shortages, declining agricultural production, and spread of diseases.

Includes Building Energy Consumption, Clean and Renewable Energy , Timers for Temperature Control, Lighting Sensors, LED Lighting, Vending Machine Sensors, Energy Management System, and Energy Metering


This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that plan and maintain their grounds with sustainability in mind. Beautiful and welcoming campus grounds can be planned, planted, and maintained in any region while minimizing the use of toxic chemicals,protecting wildlife habitat, and conserving water and resources.

Includes Integrated Pest Management, Native Plants, Wildlife Habitat, Tree Campus USA, Snow and Ice Removal, and Compost


This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are using their purchasing power to help build a sustainable economy. Collectively, colleges and universities spend many billions of dollars on goods and services annually. Each purchasing decision represents an opportunity for institutions to choose environmentally and socially preferable products and services and support companies with strong commitments to sustainability.


Includes Computer Purchasing, Cleaning Products Purchasing, Office Paper Purchasing, Vendor Code of Conduct , Historically Underutilized Businesses, and Local Businesses




This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are moving toward sustainable transportation systems. Transportation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants that contribute to health problems such as heart and respiratory diseases and cancer. At the same time, campuses can reap benefits from modeling sustainable transportation systems. Bicycling and walking provide human health benefits and mitigate the need for large areas of paved surface, which can help campuses to better manage storm water. Institutions may realize cost savings and help support local economies by reducing their dependency on petroleum-based fuels for transportation.

Includes Campus Fleet , Student and Employee Commute Modal Split, Bicycle Sharing, Facilities for Bicyclists, Bicycle Plan, Mass Transit, Condensed Work Week, Telecommuting, Carpool Matching, Cash-out of Parking, Carpool Discount, Local Housing, Prohibiting Idling, and Car Sharing


This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are moving toward zero waste by reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting. These actions mitigate the need to extract virgin materials, such as trees and metals. It generally takes less energy and water to make a product with recycled material than with virgin resources. Reducing waste generation also reduces the flow of waste to incinerators and landfills which produce greenhouse gas emissions, can contaminate air and groundwater supplies, and tend to have disproportionate negative impacts on low-income communities. Waste reduction and diversion also save institutions costly landfill and hauling service fees. In addition, waste reduction campaigns can engage the entire campus community in contributing to a tangible sustainability goal.

Includes Waste Reduction, Waste Diversion, Construction and Demolition Waste Diversion, Electronic Waste Recycling Program, Hazardous Waste Management, Materials Exchange, Limiting Printing, Materials Online, Chemical Reuse Inventory, Move-In and Move-Out Waste Reduction


This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are conserving water and making efforts to protect water quality. Pumping,delivering, and treating water is a major energy user, so institutions can help reduce energy consumption and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy generation by conserving water. Likewise, conservation and effective stormwater management are important in maintaining and protecting finite groundwater supplies. Water conservation and effective stormwater management also reduce the need for effluent discharge into local surface water supplies, which helps improve the health of local water ecosystems.

Includes Water Consumption, Stormwater Management, Waterless Urinals, Building Water Metering, Non-Potable Water Usage, Xeriscaping , Weather-Informed Irrigation


Planning, Administration & Engagement


This subcategory seeks to recognize colleges and universities that are institutionalizing sustainability by dedicating resources to sustainability coordination, incorporating sustainability into their primary campus plans, and developing plans to move towards sustainability. Staff and other resources help an institution organize, implement, and publicize sustainability initiatives. These resources provide the infrastructure that fosters sustainability within an institution. Strategic and physical campus plans guide an institution and its physical development. These important documents establish an institution’s priorities and influence budgeting and decision making. Incorporating sustainability into these plans is an important step in making sustainability a campus priority and may help advocates implement sustainable changes. Sustainability plans and climate plans provide a road map for how to achieve sustainability goals.

Includes Sustainability Coordination, Strategic Plan, Physical Campus Plan, Sustainability Plan and Climate Plan

This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are working to advance diversity and affordability on campus. In order to build a sustainable society, diverse groups will need to be able to come together and work collaboratively to address sustainability challenges. People of color and low-income communities tend to suffer disproportionate exposure to environmental problems. This environmental injustice happens as a result of unequal and segregated communities. To achieve environmental and social justice, society must work to address discrimination and promote equality. The historical legacy and persistence of discrimination based on racial, gender, religious, and other differences makes a proactive approach to promoting a culture of inclusiveness an important component of creating an equitable society. Higher education opens doors to opportunities that can help create a more equitable world, and those doors must be open through affordable programs accessible to all regardless of race, gender, religion, socio-economic status and other differences. In addition, a diverse student body, faculty, and staff provide rich resources for learning and collaboration.

 Includes Diversity and Equity Coordination, Measuring Campus Diversity Culture, Support Programs for Under-Represented Groups, Support Programs for Future Faculty, Affordability and Access Programs, Gender Neutral Housing, Employee and Student Training Opportunities
  human resources

This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that have incorporated sustainability into their human resources programs and policies. This includes recognition for treating and remunerating their workers responsibly and fairly. An institution’s people define its character and capacity to perform; and so, an institution’s achievements can only be as strong as its community. An institution can bolster the strength of its community by making fair and responsible investments in its human capital. Such investments include offering benefits, wages, and other assistance that serve to respectfully and ethically compensate workers. Investment in human resources is integral to the achievement of a healthy and sustainable balance between human capital, natural capital, and financial capital.

 Includes Sustainable Compensation, Employee Satisfaction Evaluation, Staff Professional Development in Sustainability, Sustainability in New Employee Orientation, Employee Sustainability Educators Program, Childcare, Employee Wellness Program, and Socially Responsible Retirement Plan


This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that make investment decisions that promote sustainability. Most institutions invest some of their assets in order to generate income. Together, colleges and universities invest hundreds of billions of dollars. Schools with transparent and democratic investment processes promote accountability and engagement by the campus and community. Furthermore, institutions can support sustainability by investing in companies and funds that, in addition to providing a strong rate of return, are committed to social and environmental responsibility. Investing in these industries also supports the development of sustainable products and services. Finally, campuses can engage with the businesses in which they are invested in order to promote sustainable practices.

Includes Committee on Socially Responsible Investment, Shareholder Advocacy, Positive Sustainability Investments, Student-Managed SRI Fund, Socially Responsible Investment Policy, and Investment Disclosure




public engagement This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that give back to their communities through community service, engagement, and partnerships. Volunteerism and the sense of compassion that community service helps develop are fundamental to achieving sustainability. From tutoring children to removing invasive species to volunteering at a food bank, students, faculty, and staff can make tangible contributions that address sustainability challenges through community service. Community engagement can help students develop leadership skills while deepening their understandings of practical, real-world problems. Institutions can contribute to their communities by harnessing their financial and academic resources to address community needs. For example, faculty research and courses can focus on how to address community problems. In addition, colleges and universities can offer incentives for their graduates to pursue careers that fill community needs, and schools can use their prominence to advocate for sustainability outside of their institutions.


 innovationThese credits recognize institutions that are seeking innovative solutions to sustainability challenges and demonstrating sustainability leadership in ways that are not otherwise captured by STARS.

Includes Innovation 1, Innovation 2, Innovation 3, and Innovation 4