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St. Lawrence Recognized for Its Efforts in Sustainability

After completing a detailed campus report measuring academic and administrative practices on campus, St. Lawrence University has once again earned national recognition for its achievements in several areas of sustainability.

The University received a rating of “silver” from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education based on its score in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, or STARS.

STARS is a self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure and compare their sustainability performance across a number of areas using a common set of measurements and data. Various publications, such as Sierra magazine’s “Cool Schools” and The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges as well as organizations interested in pursuing sustainable campuses use the information to list and rank the sustainability efforts of participating institutions.

St. Lawrence received its highest marks in the areas of coordination and planning, diversity and affordability, and academic research for the number of faculty and students who are looking into issues of sustainability. In the area of diversity and affordability, St. Lawrence scored an 8.36 out of 10 for having a diversity and equity committee, office and/or officer; for assessing diversity and equity; for supporting underrepresented groups; and, for the institution's affordability and access.

“Academic efforts and sustainability planning have distinguished St. Lawrence University from the start of our sustainability journey,” said Ryan Kmetz, assistant director of sustainability and energy management. “We have embraced sustainability as a core value at this institution, and we are proud to have our efforts recognized by AASHE – and to receive our STARS Silver rating.”

St. Lawrence had also received a rating of silver in 2013, although, according to Kmetz, several of the survey questions and categories have changed significantly since then.

In 2015, St. Lawrence finalized a long-term operating agreement for clean hydroelectric power with Gravity Renewables. The dam has been generating renewable electricity for St. Lawrence since 2016. St. Lawrence also receives 65 percent of its electricity as certified renewable wind energy credits through its electrical supplier.

Kmetz said the Office of Sustainability has been collaborating with the Campus Committee for Sustainability and Climate Neutrality to develop a new Climate Action Work Plan.

“This plan provides measureable sustainability targets for the University while also providing it with an outline for progress toward achieving a STARS gold rating,” Kmetz said. “It allows us to effectively address two goals simultaneously.”

For more information on St. Lawrence’s sustainability efforts, visit www.stlawu.edu/green.