In November, 2014, the Centre for Place and Sustainability Studies completed the STARS sustainability assessment. The assessment is an attempt to take a snapshot of what is happening in the University with regard to sustainability. It does not include everything, but it does benchmark where we were at a particular place in time. The STARS framework, developed by AASHE, shows us what is possible compared to best practices in other universities, and may be used as a tool in shaping a University sustainability action plan.
Press Release: Lakehead University participating in sustainability assessment
Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 – Orillia and Thunder Bay
Lakehead University has registered for the Sustainability Tracking and Rating System (STARS) to rate sustainability on the Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses.
Offered through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (ASSHE), STARS is a voluntary, self-reporting tool that will rate the university’s sustainability achievements from economic, environmental and social perspectives.
More than 600 institutions worldwide have participated in STARS, which examines categories such as operations, planning and administration, academics and engagement.
Lakehead’s Centre for Place and Sustainability Studies will direct the project using the latest version of the STARS assessment tool, with a completion date of approximately one year from now.
“This project is part of a larger culture-building initiative on the Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses. Every institution in higher education is facing multiple social, ecological, political, and economic challenges associated with sustainability,” said Dr. David Greenwood, Canada Research Chair of Environmental Education and Director for the Centre for Place and Sustainability Studies.
“This project will help us pay better attention to the sustainability work already underway at Lakehead and guide us to where we ought to go next,” Dr. Greenwood said.
The Centre for Place and Sustainability Studies is working with a diverse team of stakeholders on both campuses that is gathering data and stories for the assessment that will be used to identify future directions for the university and build community on campus.
“At Lakehead University we are excited to join this growing movement to show where we’re excelling in sustainability and provide some direction on what more we can do to improve in this area,” said Dr. Rod Hanley, Provost and Vice-President (Academic).
There is also potential to use STARS as a service-learning project in the classroom. For example, a fourth-year Geography class has piloted STARS by assigning students to gather and report on data in the fields of Transportation, Energy, Buildings, Dining Services, and Water. Independent study options are also available to individual students interested in participating.
The Going Greener Report from the Council of Ontario Universities documents progress and sustainability initiatives on behalf of universities in Ontario. Lakehead projects are highlighted on page 13.