Tarleton State University’s sustainability efforts have brought a Bronze Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Rating points are awarded through the Sustainability Tracking and Rating System (STARS), a self-reporting tool. Accumulated points place members in categories beginning with “reporter” and going through bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels.

University President Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio called the achievement a benchmark for Tarleton.

“Our strong emphasis on student engagement and STARS’ focus on sustainability is the perfect combination to help Tarleton continue to be a leader in managing critical resources and caring for our environment,” he said.

Tarleton received high scores in student and community engagement and in related academic programs, such as wildlife and eco-sustainability, according to Hector Davis, environmental health and safety coordinator at Tarleton.

“By establishing the bronze baseline, we can share that with the campus community and hopefully get more people involved next time around,” Davis said. “The STARS tool helps us identify what we’re doing and what we can improve.”

Tarleton’s Bronze Rating is good for three years, after which Davis expects an even higher rating.

“With renewed interest and improved reporting and participation, we can make our rating a higher priority,” he said. “I think it will become a focal point for a lot of people who may not have known this was happening and want to get on board. It can be a starting line.”

While areas like building maintenance and indoor air quality most often define sustainability efforts, Davis points out that almost every part of campus life is involved in earning the rating.

“It’s the way you plan, the way you invest, the way you structure classes and operations,” he said. “It’s not what we do; it’s the way we do it.”

With 25 AASHE member institutions in Texas, Tarleton is one of only 14 to achieve bronze status or higher.

Worldwide, the program has more than 800 participants on six continents and is the most widely recognized framework for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.