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September 22, 2014

Fanshawe's sustainability achievements recognized.

By Amanda Richman, Sustainability Coordinator

Fanshawe College is excited to announce that it has earned a STARS Silver 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 in North, Central and South America. Currently, only six Ontario colleges have a STARS rating. Fanshawe joins Humber College as the second in Ontario to receive silver recognition. Durham, Fleming, Niagara, and Sheridan Colleges have each achieved bronze ratings with the submission of their STARS reports.

STARS silver ratingWith more than 650 participants on six continents, AASHE's STARS program is the most widely recognized reporting framework in the world for benchmarking a college or university's sustainability performance.

Participants report achievements in four overall areas: 1) operations, 2) academics, 3) engagement and 4) planning and administration.

The rating system awards bronze, silver, gold or platinum for points earned in each category. Minimum points for each level are 25, 45, 65, and 85 respectively. Energy efficiency and waste diversion are operational aspects taken into account; this system also awards points for sustainability efforts in categories such as curriculum, human resources, and innovative programs. Fanshawe surpassed the 45-point threshold for silver with a total score of 50.82 points. Fanshawe currently pursues and achieves more than half of the sustainability initiatives and criteria identified within the STARS program.

In 2009, the college signed the Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability, agreeing to provide leadership and maximize our contribution to a sustainable future. This allowed us to formalize our commitment to sustainability and begin establishing a sustainable culture at the College. Since then, we have worked hard to make changes in many areas of the College to implement best practices in both our operations and academics. This commitment has been embedded in our strategic framework with one of the goals being to "foster a high-performing and sustainable college".

Some of the sustainability initiatives and practices we have in place include:

  • Our diverse composting program;
  • Waste reduction at campus events;
  • A secure bicycle lock-up facility to encourage staff and students to leave their cars at home;
  • The Sustainability Speakers' Series and Sustainability Lunch and Learn Series;
  • Weekly local farmers' market to encourage the local food movement;
  • Motion sensors in hallways and classrooms to reduce unnecessary electricity consumption;
  • Employee and student wellness plans.

Our first STARS achievement has helped educate the college of our current achievements, while identifying opportunities to elevate our status as leaders in institutional sustainability. Fanshawe is committed to becoming a more sustainable college and has already made significant progress with plenty of room to grow. Going forward, we hope to continue to unite students and employees in our current sustainability initiatives and goals. Fanshawe's first STARS report serves as the foundation for the creation of an official sustainability strategy for the institution, and we look forward to working toward achieving a gold rating in our next report.

Fanshawe's STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website, where you will find a more detailed inventory of the college's sustainability programs and initiatives.

You can also view Fanshawe's Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan for additional information about sustainability at Fanshawe.

About AASHE:

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. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit www.aashe.org.

For more information about the STARS program, visit www.stars.aashe.org.

For further information, please visit Fanshawe's media contact page.