Cal Poly Pomona has been rewarded for its sustainability efforts by becoming the first public university in the state to complete the STARS report, earning a silver rating.
STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) allows colleges and universities to measure their sustainability progress. The STARS rating, developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, is composed of three main categories: education and research; operations; and planning, administration and engagement. A fourth category, innovation, offers extra credit points for “new, extraordinary, unique, ground-breaking or uncommon outcome, policies and practices.”
The university received its highest rating in the education and research category, reflecting efforts in the College of Environmental Design. One innovation point was awarded for the Lyle Center’s achievement as the first carbon-neutral facility in the California State University system.
In addition to typical sustainability efforts such as recycling and organic gardens, the report also takes into account other factors, such as academic curriculum, transportation, community partnerships and energy consumption in buildings.
“I think people focus too much on the big solar panels,” says Meaghan Smith, the university’s sustainability manager who oversaw the report. “That’s a wonderful start, but there’s so much more to sustainability than just hybrid cars and solar panels. It’s the way we conduct business in the office, how we publicize stories, our accessibility and diversity.”
Cal Poly Pomona’s demonstrated its long-term commitment to sustainability in 2007 when President Ortiz became a charter signatory of the Presidents Climate Commitment, and the university set a long-term goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030.
To view Cal Poly Pomona’s STAR report in detail, go to https://stars.aashe.org/institutions/california-state-polytechnic-university-pomona-ca/report/2011-05-04/.
(Photo: The campus celebrates the new Amonix 7700 solar systems in 2010.)