Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating Systems (STARS) is a voluntary, self-reporting framework for helping colleges and universities track and measure their sustainability progress. 

A blue star with a swirl around it representing AASHE's STARS program

STARS was developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) with broad participation from the higher education community. 

What is STARS?

The STARS system encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability.

An institution’s STARS score is based upon the percentage of applicable points, earned in credits, across four main categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration.

STARS is designed to:

  • Provide a framework for understanding sustainability in all sectors of higher education.
  • Enable meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements
  • Create incentives for continual improvement toward sustainability.
  • Facilitate information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance.
  • Build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.

Middlebury has been participating in the STARS assessment since 2011.

STARS report gold badge with "sustainability tracking, assessment, and rating system" and "a program of AASHE written on it

Our Most Recent Report

Middlebury’s latest STARS assessment was completed in March 2022 and we achieved a gold rating. This is STARS’ second highest rating, next to platinum, which we are striving to achieve in our next report scheduled for the coming year!

Why is STARS Important?

In alignment with the goals that AASHE outlines for the STARS program, Middlebury uses this rating, and the valuable data that comes along with it, to:

  • Engage our community
  • Generate new ideas
  • Create a baseline for continuous improvement
  • Inform strategic planning and budgeting
  • Work toward our Energy2028 pillar of integrating climate and sustainability more holistically across Middlebury’s curriculum

Middlebury College is honored to be ranked among the 1,196 higher education institutions, (348 of which have earn a STARS rating) who utilize the STARS report to strive toward campus sustainability!

How do we Prioritize STARS at Middlebury?

Environmental Council

Middlebury has made the STARS report a priority in many different ways over the years. During the 2023-2024 academic year, a committee on the Environmental Council entitled “The State of Sustainability at Middlebury and What’s Next?” worked on a number of projects surrounding STARS outreach and improvement on Middlebury’s Vermont campus. 

Sustainability Solutions Lab

For several years, student interns supported by Middlebury’s Sustainability Solutions Lab (SSL) and Sustainability & Environmental Affairs staff have worked on research, outreach, implementation, and improvement of Middlebury’s STARS report and ranking. This work is ongoing and will continue with interns throughout the spring, summer, and fall of 2024 as we gear up to submit our next report.