ASC Achieves Silver in National Sustainability Program

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Agnes Scott College has achieved a “silver” rating in the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS),  a program designed to encourage sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

A silver STARS rating recognizes Agnes Scott’s sustainability leadership in three overall areas: 1) education and research, 2) operations and 3) planning, administration and engagement.  Though the college may not boast the number and size of sustainability programs offered at larger colleges and universities, Agnes Scott rose to a silver rating with the help of a number of “innovation” credits that rewarded the college’s creativity.

“STARS offers a very fair system of ranking,” said Susan Kidd, the college’s director of sustainability. “A smaller college like Agnes Scott gets credit for all the steps we have taken to ensure substantial institutional

Innovative programs at the college included an arboretum project designed to provide an interactive tour of historic trees on Agnes Scott’s campus; a partnership with the city of Decatur to collaborate on sustainability initiatives in the city; a revolving fund to help pay for sustainability improvements on campus that would save money and then, in turn, fund other sustainability projects; and a project with Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), Southface Energy Institute and Renewal System Solutions to significantly improve the energy efficiency of five houses near campus, part of a larger, 10-home metro Atlanta area project designed to improve each home’s energy consumption by 30 to 50 percent, as well as collect verifiable data on how effective these techniques could be in other homes.

“As a recent Agnes Scott graduate, it was great to see how far we have come as an institution to incorporate sustainability in all aspects of campus operations. Collecting information for STARS from various departments showed there is a great enthusiasm for establishing more sustainable practices and continually improving them for the future,” said Ashley Fournier, the college’s sustainability projects coordinator who helped organize the college’s STARS reporting.

Agnes Scott was a charter participant in STARS, administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and the only program of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Nearly 200 colleges and universities are STARS participants. Agnes Scott is the third college or university in Georgia to receive a rating. Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have also received STARS ratings.

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.