Tufts University earns STARS Silver rating for Sustainability Achievements

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass.  – Tufts University recently earned a Silver rating for its sustainability efforts under the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS), a new program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

Tufts earned a Silver rating, receiving a 62.73% overall score for its submission, just shy of a Gold rating.

“Tufts’ Silver rating in the recent STARS assessment provides strong recognition of our institutional achievements in sustainability,” University President Tony Monaco noted. “This is a priority for me personally, and in light of the clear support across the university for intensifying our commitment, I am certain that we will accomplish even more in the years ahead.”

Through STARS, institutions evaluate performance in four main areas: education and research; operations; planning, administration and engagement; and innovation. Tufts received maximum credit in innovation and above average scores in two of the other three main categories. Areas of particular strength included student-led initiatives, such as trayless dining; sustainability outreach and publications; research initiatives, incentives for developing sustainability courses; diversity and affordability; and human resources.

The STARS Silver rating is the latest accomplishment in Tufts’ long history of leadership in sustainability and the environment. In 1990 then-President Jean Mayer convened a conference of global educational leaders at the Tufts European Center in Talloires, France. The conference led to the Talloires Declaration, a 10-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities. The declaration  has since been signed by 433 institutions in over 40 countries.

Tufts was also a founding and the first university member of the Chicago Climate Exchange. In 1999, under then-President John DiBiaggio, the university publicly committed to meet the Kyoto goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), an organization of colleges and universities committed to a sustainable future, STARS (www.stars.aashe.org) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. It is the only program of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, STARS is open to all institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada, and the criteria that determine a STARS Rating are transparent and publicly accessible. Because STARS is based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

Of  121 STARS rated institutions in the U.S. and Canada, 22 earned Gold, 65 earned Silver, and 27 earned Bronze designations.  

Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university’s schools is widely encouraged.