Awards and Honors, Institutional News

Bennington College Recognized for Achievement in Sustainability

Bennington College announced today that it has been recognized as a top performer in sustainability by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), ranked number three in energy on their 2022 Sustainable Campus Index (SCI). 

The Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing sustainable colleges and universities overall and in 17 impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). 

"Bennington College is proof that a historic rural campus with an eclectic mix of different building types, vintages, and uses can find creative ways to make the most of available resources to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Holly Anne Andersen, Bennington College’s AASHE Reporting Liaison. “Our ongoing progress towards lowering our carbon footprint means that we try to consider the energy use implications of every decision, large and small. We are grateful for AASHE providing this platform so that we can tell the story of a small liberal arts college addressing the climate crisis through incremental physical change."

Bennington College achieved top performer status by earning a high score overall in the Energy subcategory in STARS. 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.

“Congratulations to Bennington College for their incredible sustainability accomplishments,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Upon reading the innovative and high-impact initiatives within this report, I’m encouraged that the global sustainability transformation that we desperately need is, in fact, happening.”

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.

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. 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.