Cal Poly Pomona’s commitment to the environment has earned a new level of distinction, one that recognizes the university’s leadership and innovation.
The university has received a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the premier organization for advancing sustainability on college campuses.
Cal Poly Pomona is the top CSU on the list and the third-highest California school with a score of 69.78. UC Davis and the University of San Diego have the highest scores among California campuses. Only 58 colleges and universities have achieved a gold designation of the nearly 500 worldwide that are part of the program.
The gold STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) rating highlights Cal Poly Pomona’s success in several key areas, including facilities, education, research, dining, purchasing and transportation. It also includes areas not directly related to the environment – community engagement, diversity, employee training and sustainable compensation – but are beneficial for the overall health and sustainability of the campus and surrounding communities.
“We are proud of our gold STARS rating because it highlights many of the areas in which we excel,” says Professor Kyle D. Brown, director of the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies and chair of the Environmental Sustainability Task Force. “Faculty, students and staff actively pursue innovative ideas, the Lyle Center helps educate and demonstrate sustainable living to the community, and our campus produces much of its own energy through various solar projects.”
Cal Pomona joined the STARS program in 2011, earning a silver rating. It achieved gold this year in part by improving the reporting of existing and on-going activities, such as community service, sustainability research and sustainable compensation for employees.
“Community service was not part of our original Climate Commitment mandate,” Brown says. “However, AASHE believes that if you’re encouraging service among students and aiding communities, you are promoting sustainability. The Center for Community Engagement provided excellent data on activities, such as tutoring, beach cleanups and participation in Pomona Beautification Day.”
Similarly, research on sustainability is not new at Cal Poly Pomona, but the task force has now adopted a definition of sustainability research, which allows for better documentation of the work.