By Rachel Popa
Roosevelt University received a bronze designation from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education from its Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, according to a statement from the university. Roosevelt is one of 274 universities in the Americas that has been granted a STARS rating by the AASHE.
“It is a long and in-depth process, and definitely not easy to get this kind of certification,” said Paul Matthews, assistant vice president of campus planning and operations at Roosevelt.
Completing its first ever self-assessment this past December, Roosevelt is one of 10 universities and community colleges in the state of Illinois to receive a STARS rating, and one of only three in Chicago to be rated.
According to the AASHE, Roosevelt received the highest rankings for landscape and hazardous waste management, sustainability outreach, inter-campus collaboration, public policymaking and establishment of community partnerships. Additionally, Roosevelt received a perfect score for coordination, planning and governance, which includes sustainability coordination and planning.
Roosevelt is unique in the sense that its sustainability program is comprised of both students and faculty, according to the university’s statement.
“Sustainability is a goal that Roosevelt’s administrative and academic sides are working on together,” said Mike Bryson, professor and director of the sustainability studies program. “But really, it is our students who deserve the most credit, for they have been driving our sustainability planning and our recent inventory.”
Nineteen students from the sustainability program began their inventories of the university’s sustainability last spring, the university said.
“We broke into groups that looked at sustainability in the university’s academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration,” said Rebecca Quesnell, a May 2015 sustainability studies graduate who currently serves as the university’s full-time Sustainable Operations Coordinator.
Maria Cancilla, a sustainability studies major at Roosevelt, said that her time working through the STARS process has been beneficial to her continued learning on the subject.