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March 3, 2008
Sacramento State Bulletin

University joins national effort to
track sustainability in higher education

Sacramento State has joined 90 other college and university campuses in the pilot phase of a program designed to create national standards for environmental sustainability in higher education. Called STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System), the national program was launched last month.

The campus has long been committed to sustainability efforts, says Mike Christensen, assistant vice president for Risk Management Services and Environmental Health and Safety. But participation in the STARS program will provide Sacramento State and the other campuses with a common yardstick to measure their success.

“Sustainability means operating today in a way that ensures environmental quality for future generations,” Christensen says. “We’ve been doing it a long time.” 

Sustainability efforts abound on the campus, he says. Examples include building and renovating properly, planning drainage, being energy efficient, taking greatest advantage of natural light, recycling, recapturing waste water, and using alternative fuel vehicles, among many others.

During STARS’ 12-month pilot period, Christensen and his counterparts in other universities will gather sustainability data and report their findings to AASHE—the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education—which will devise an “apples to apples” system for comparing the institutions’ sustainability success.

“STARS allows universities to work together,” Christensen says. “It is designed to help universities develop a uniform standard, and to compare ourselves to one another, and learn from one another.”

About the writer:
Sacramento State’s Sandy Harrison can be reached at






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