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American University of Sharjah joins International Sustainability Rating System
American University of Sharjah (AUS) has announced its participation in an international program to encourage sustainability in all aspects of higher education. The program, called the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
To date, more than 850 higher education institutions from around the world have registered as STARS participants and AUS is proud to be one of them. AUS’ core values relate directly towards being a leader in sustainability. In 2010 AUS created a dedicated team, AUS Sustainability, to promote those values through supporting activities that accrue positive social, economic and environmental benefits.
“AUS is very excited to become a participant in the STARS program,” said John Katsos, Head of AUS Sustainability. “AUS is committed to making itself the most sustainable university community in the UAE and broader region.”
AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in four overall areas: 1) academics, 2) campus and public engagement, 3) operations and 3) planning and administration.
Rose Armour, AUS Sustainability Operations Associate, noted that “Participating in the STARS program will provide key metrics while working to achieve AUS’ sustainability goals.”
The program is open to all institutions of higher education globally. “The advantage of STARS is that institutions can earn credits for all of their contributions to sustainability,” said Meghan Fay Zahniser, AASHE Executive Director. “From providing sustainability coursework to using green cleaning products, to energy efficiency in campus buildings, there are lots of opportunities for a school to identify and track its sustainability progress.”
Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program was developed by higher education for higher education and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because the STARS program is based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.
“We are looking forward to the enthusiastic participation from our students and staff, as well as watching our sustainability efforts grow on campus through the STARS program,” said Ryan Highland, AUS Sustainability Engagement Associate.