EUREKA — Eureka College has earned a STARS Bronze rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.
This is the first time Eureka College has submitted a full report on the sustainability of its campus, although the college has been a member of AASHE for four years.
"Eureka College is committed to sustainable practices as evident in our Eureka College values and our 10 Essentials curriculum,” Eureka College Provost Dr. Ann Fulop said. “This award is due to the effort and commitment of Dr. Everett and her students to work with the entire college community to complete the STARS assessment and to continue to move the college into a sustainable future. At Eureka College, we afford students opportunities to put their classroom knowledge into practice through real world experience. Dr. Katy Everett's program is a stellar model for highlighting synergies between classroom and experiential learning.”
"STARS was developed by the sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts," said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. "Eureka College has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Bronze Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts."
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE's mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. With more than 800 participants in 30 countries, 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 five overall areas: 1) academics 2) engagement, 3) operations, 4) planning and administration, and 5) innovation and leadership.
Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.
"We are very proud to have achieved a STARS rating for our sustainability accomplishments and I look forward to watching our efforts grow and improve with the support of our amazing administration," said Dr. Katy Everett, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Sustainability Committee Chair.
Dr. Everett, EC senior Kaitlyn Hild and 2019 EC graduate Riley Francis were also selected to present at the AASHE’s annual conference in Spokane, Washington, on Oct. 27-30.
Hild (Environmental Science ‘20) submitted an abstract on the capstone research of her environmental science degree for a presentation titled “Implementing Composting at Eureka College: Challenges and Successes of Small Campus Composting.”
Francis, who is now utilizing her environmental studies degree as Marketing Coordinator at Straight-Up Solar in Bloomington, conducted her capstone research on the feasibility of Eureka College installing solar panels to reduce emissions and be more economically efficient. Her presentation, titled “Solar Energy Systems: Site Assessment of Eureka College,” includes a complete solar assessment of the college, which was presented to the Facilities Committee of the Board of Trustees in February.
Everett, meanwhile, successfully proposed two hour-long sessions on campus sustainability at small institutions. Along with peers from Randolph College and the University of Lynchburg, she will present “Working creatively with what you’ve got: Advancing campus sustainability with limited resources,” and along with peers from Muhlenberg College, she will present “Developing Interdisciplinary Sustainability Programs at Small Liberal Arts Colleges.”
In addition, she will present an AASHE webinar on Aug. 7 titled “STARS Incorporation into Capability-Based Gen Ed Curriculum.”
“All Environmental Science students complete an internship and senior capstone project in our community with the expectation that they will share their findings,” Everett said. “Presenting research at scientific conferences is integral for our students to gain confidence and experience in a professional setting. Our campus is committed to being more sustainable and that is reflected in the work of our students, which I am excited to share at the AASHE conference this year.”