Monday, September 19, 2011

Rio Salado Earns Silver Rating for Sustainability

Rio Salado College’s commitment to sustainable practices is being recognized with a Silver rating by the national STARS program.

STARS stands for Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Reporting System. It is a nationwide program developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Colleges participating in STARS assess their efforts toward social, economic and environmental sustainability.

“We are one of only 88 colleges and universities from across the country to achieve a STARS silver rating or better, placing Rio Salado College in the forefront of sustainability in higher education,” said Todd Simmons, Vice President for Administrative Services at Rio Salado College.

After completing and submitting self-assessments, colleges that participate in the program earn STARS credits in four categories: Education and Research, Operations, Planning and Administration, and Innovation.

Credits are earned for a variety of sustainability initiatives, including everything from sustainability course offerings, to energy efficiency, building maintenance, indoor air quality, LED lighting, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2009, Rio Salado College won the America’s Greenest Campus contest for having the smallest carbon footprint among the 500 contest entrants. Rio Salado’s official carbon footprint, as documented for the American College and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment, is .84 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually per full-time student.

“Sustainability is a core value of Rio Salado College and we are unalterably committed to demonstrating, assessing and being accountable for this value,” Simmons said.

In August 2010, Rio Salado College became one of only two Maricopa County Community Colleges to join as a charter member of the STARS program.