Institutional News

Bennington College Receives Second STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements

Bennington College has earned its second STARS Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

stars seal gold rating

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.  

Bennington College’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.

For years, Bennington College has had sustainability and sustainable education in mind with all college operations through working groups, curriculum, and planning. The College publicly committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 by becoming a signatory of the American College and University Presidents climate Commitment through Second Nature.

The College reported on emissions information and integrated greenhouse gas emissions reduction in our operations and capital planning. This more recent reporting through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education is a new tool to help guide the college’s sustainability efforts through every office. This reporting and commitment reviews carbon emissions, as well as other aspects of college operations, such as admissions travel, dining services, paper use—really every aspect of the college’s operations. 

“Our second AASHE Gold STARS rating is truly a reflection of each individual's actions on campus. By working together and making thoughtful decisions, we are doing hard but important work to combat the climate crisis,” said Holly Anne Andersen, Project Manager for the Planning Office.

With more than 900 participants in 40 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. 

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Bennington College has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold 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.