Cal Poly Pomona’s continuous efforts to integrate sustainability into university operations and campus life have been rewarded with another high rating from the premier organization that assesses colleges and universities.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conferred a silver rating to the university for its STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) report that measured sustainability in every aspect of Cal Poly Pomona.
The Office of Sustainability in Facilities Planning & Management (FP&M) painstakingly compiled the 251-page report that took nearly a year to complete and took everything from student research to greenhouse gas emissions to water use into account. Minutiae in the report included identifying which classes from several academic years were focused on sustainability and related topics. (Read the CPP STARS report.)
“This silver rating is a testament to all the hard work by students, faculty and staff at making sustainability not only a core value of Cal Poly Pomona and a way of life, but also at helping the environment,” said Monika Kamboures, the university’s sustainability coordinator. “There is much more we can do and that will be our goal in the coming years.”
In addition to more common sustainability efforts such as recycling and organic gardens, the STARS report also contains other elements such as academic curriculum, transportation, community partnerships, and energy consumption in buildings.
FP&M has for years embraced green building practices in capital construction projects and scored well in this category on the STARS report. The Student Services Building is the first Cal Poly Pomona facility to garner Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, the highest possible award, and seven other campus buildings also earned LEED certifications.
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Cal Poly Pomona has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”
Cal Poly Pomona has a long history of sustainability. For its efforts, the university was included in The Princeton Review’s 2021 Guide to Green Colleges. In addition, the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies was the first carbon-neutral facility in the California State University system.
The silver rating for 2023 is validation of the continued efforts at enhancing sustainability, which is one of the university’s core values. Sustainability is also woven into the social fabric of the student community and the governing board of Associated Students, Inc.
Cal Poly Pomona demonstrated its commitment to sustainability in 2007 when then-President Michael Ortiz became a charter signatory of the Presidents Climate Commitment, and the university set a long-term goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030.
In 2011, Cal Poly Pomona was the first public university in the state to complete the STARS report and earned a silver rating. The highest rating is platinum, followed by gold, silver and bronze. STARS reports can be submitted every three years.
With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, the 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.
Unlike other ratings systems, STARS is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determines ratings is transparent and accessible. STARS is a program based on credits earned and allows for internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.