Grand Island, Neb – Central Community 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.
The AASHE STARS report submitted was for the time period from July 2015 through June 2016. However, all of CCC’s previous sustainability initiatives and projects positively positioned the school for its first review using the established AASHE STARS rating system. The STARS report measures sustainability progress across academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership through an established set of standards in higher education. The STARS rating highlights areas where CCC has made great progress and where new goals and initiatives are needed. Specifically, the report says CCC has made progress in sustainability-related courses through the e-badge program and community partnerships. With the 1.7 MW wind turbine beginning operation in January 2017 at the Hastings Campus, a new pollinator garden on each campus, and now increased awareness of tracking water, waste, paper, and engagement, CCC will be moving towards its goal of becoming a top tier two-year higher education sustainability leader.
“Central Community College is very proud to have achieved the first STARS rating for the school’s initial sustainability accomplishments,” said CCC’s environmental sustainability director Benjamin Newton. “The environmental sustainability office collaborated with several CCC offices and departments seeking information that we previously did not have measured. We look forward to watching our sustainability efforts grow and improve through the STARS program and as early sustainability adopters in Nebraska.”
Central Community College is a Cum Laude Leader and signatory of the Climate Commitment as part of the Climate Leadership Network (previously the ACUPCC), and as a signatory of the Sustainability Education & Economic Development (SEED) Initiative, it has made a commitment to educate, implement and model the practices needed for a sustainable future. Dr. Greg Smith, CCC president, has been a sustainability leader for many years and the initial STARS rating officially recognizes previous campus accomplishments.
“Sustainability is an area that is constantly evolving and through STARS, we are able to see what areas are the most critical to address, the areas we are already doing well in and where we can continue to improve in the years to come,” said Olivia Whittaker, CCC’s environmental sustainability manager.
With more than 800 participants on six continents, 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) engagement, 3) operations, and 4) planning and administration.
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Central Community College has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Bronze Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”
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.
Central Community College’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website: