Reflecting its dedication to being a sustainability leader, St.
John’s University has earned a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment
Association of Sustainability in Higher Education (STARS)
Developed and launched by the Association for the Advancement of
Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in 2010, STARS was designed
as a self-reporting tool enabling U.S. and Canadian universities
and colleges to gauge their relative progress in furthering
sustainability. Participating institutions, who choose to submit
the requested information, receive bronze, silver, gold or platinum
ratings. Currently STARS has 246 members — membership is open to
all U.S. and Canadian institutions of higher education.
As a charter participant in STARS, the St. John’s
Sustainability Committee has been using the system’s
comprehensive framework as a benchmarking tool and roadmap in
developing its own greening strategy.
“STARS’ emphasis on economic, social and environmental issues is
consistent with St. John’s commitment to helping the needy and to
reducing greenhouses gases by 30% as part of PLANYC and its
landmark partnership with the EPA,” said Committee Co-Chair Tom
Goldsmith, Director of Energy and Environmental Conservation. “The
extent to which our faculty has integrated sustainability into
their research and the curriculum, reflects the seriousness of our
efforts and contributed to our high rating,” he said.
“Since STARS tracks all aspects of a university’s
sustainability efforts, it’s a meaningful assessment tool for
all of our greening activities,” said Eleni Argensti ‘12C, a
Student Sustainability Coordinator.
“Its informative overview allows us to see how far St. John’s
has come, how we stack up compared to other institutions and
where we can make improvements,” she said. Eleni and fellow
Sustainability Committee members Erin Chalmers ‘11Ed and Joanna
Shields ‘11C, pulled together and recorded the information
necessary to receive a rating. “ We were very pleasantly surprised
by how well we did,” said Eleni.
Calling the University’s silver rating a “fantastic
achievement,” Sustainability Committee Co-Chair
Frank Cantelmo, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology said, “I
am very proud of our students who devoted so much time and
effort to this important undertaking. It is student engagement that
has made this possible and which has helped St. John’s create a
culture of sustainability. This accomplishment shows what the
St. John’s community can get done when we work together in a
Underscoring the importance of the University’s culture of
sustainability, Provost Julia
A. Upton, R.S.M., stated, “As we endeavor to guide our thought,
teaching and action by the values of this institution, we naturally
continue to embrace the sustainability movement.”