Campus & Community

University of Denver recognized for sustainability efforts

The University of Denver has been awarded a silver rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (AASHE STARS). AASHE STARS is a comprehensive, transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

“It is evident in the breadth of the reporting categories in AASHE STARS that this rating reflects the hard work of many units, as sustainable practices are increasingly embedded across campus,” says Chad King, university sustainability coordinator.

Reporting categories include curriculum and research, campus and public engagement, operations (buildings, grounds, purchasing, transportation and waste), planning and administration (governance, diversity and affordability, and well-being), and innovation.

DU has implemented a wide variety of practices and programs related to sustainability. Highlights include, but are not limited to:

  • Reducing the University’s carbon footprint by 27 percent from a fiscal year 2006 baseline
  • Offering 72 undergraduate and 125 graduate courses related to sustainability
  • Providing sustainable options (through on-campus dining company Sodexo) for 79 percent of seafood products, 70 percent of coffee and tea products, and 15 percent of produce products
  • Supplying more than 170 bicycle racks, with the ability to accommodate more than 1,500 bikes
  • Encouraging students, staff and faculty to use alternative transportation methods
  • Housing the Bridge Community Garden, which has plots available for students, faculty and staff

The silver rating comes as a result of information provided by DU and the Center for Sustainability from fiscal year 2014. King has highlighted several areas where he hopes the University will implement programs to receive additional points when submitting its application for fiscal year 2016.

“A silver rating highlights many things we are doing well and provides a challenge for us to collectively work toward measurable improvements for a gold rating in our next submission,” King says. Such improvements may include increasing investment in the sustainable fund, improving food purchasing and creating a student educators program.

The full report can be found on the AASHE website.

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