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UC San Diego Receives STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements


  • Christine Clark

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  • Christine Clark

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The University of California San Diego has earned a STARS Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

This is the second time UC San Diego has received a STARS Gold rating. The program evaluates campus achievements in five overall areas: 1) Academics, 2) Engagement, 3) Operations, 4) Planning and Administration, and 5) Innovation and Leadership.

“We are honored to receive a STARS Gold rating and thank AASHE for this opportunity to share our sustainability accomplishments,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. “Being a leader in sustainability involves looking at problems from all perspectives to create innovative solutions. As Tritons, we are courageous, curious and steadfastly committed to protecting the planet.”

The recognition from AASHE is consistent with other awards that have commended UC San Diego for its leadership in environmental sustainability practices. The campus was the very first university winner of the National Laboratory Freezer Challenge and was recently honored with the 2018 Grid Edge Innovation Award for serving as an epicenter for research, development and commercialization on smart electric vehicle (EV) charging. In addition, several organizations have lauded the campus for its efforts protecting the environment, such as the USG National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the Commercial Real Estate Digital Innovation Awards, San Diego Gas & Electric, Nature magazine, the San Diego Association of Governments, the San Diego Regional Clean Cities Coalition and others.

“As the first institution of higher education in California to receive a STARS Gold rating, we are thrilled to build on that success and to again have our efforts recognized by AASHE,” said Gary Matthews, Vice Chancellor for Resource Management and Planning. “From our over 30 LEED buildings, to our innovative microgrid, and our expansive network of electric vehicles, every day our faculty, students and staff study and put into practice solutions that are helping to address our greatest global challenges.” 

Highlights of UC San Diego’s sustainability initiatives include:

  • Innovative academic programs in climate and marine science, along with hundreds of courses related to sustainability;
  • More than 30 student organizations working on sustainability;
  • Completion of over $100 million in energy efficiency projects;
  • A highly innovative energy park consisting of a microgrid, fuel cell powered by directed biogas, and an integrated energy storage system;
  • 3.1 megawatts of solar photovoltaic generating capacity installed on and off campus, with plans to install more;
  • The largest university electric vehicle (EV) charging system in the country;
  • Certification of all Housing, Dining and Hospitality restaurants and markets under the Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) program;
  • Campus programs in everything from green laboratories, to health and wellness to diversity, inclusion and support for underrepresented faculty, students and staff.

According to AASHE, the STARS program is one the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “UC San Diego has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

For more information about UC San Diego’s sustainability efforts, click here.

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