Selkirk College Sees Silver STARS for Sustainability
One of the foundations of daily operation at Selkirk College finding ways to minimize the environmental footprint on our campuses. Results from a new report show that progress is being made through the efforts of many.
The effort to make Selkirk College more environmentally sustainable is working according to an organization that engages a full spectrum of post-secondary institutions from across North America and around the world.
For the second time, Selkirk College has earned a STARS silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education from academics to operations to engagement and innovation.
"Environmental sustainability is one of the Selkirk College's five fundamental commitments as stated in our newly released strategic plan,” says Laura Nessman, the college’s Sustainability Coordinator. “We are committed to implementing practices that promote a healthy natural environment and climate change mitigation in our teaching practices, administration, programming, facilities and operations, funding allocations and applied research priorities."
Leading By Example in the Region
Selkirk College is committed to developing and supporting college-wide and regional solutions to environmental remediation, cleaner transportation, lowered emissions and waste reduction. Some examples include constructing new buildings to target LEED Gold or better building standards, working to green fleet vehicles, running waste reduction and diversion programs, and continually striving to reduce energy consumption and shift our reliance away from non-renewable energy sources. Selkirk College is currently installing a 100 kilowatt grid-tied solar project on the Castlegar Campus.
With more than 800 participants in 30 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. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.
"STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts," said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. "Selkirk College has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts."
Completing the report helped identify those areas in which the college is thriving in terms of sustainability, as well as those areas that need further attention.
"We will be using the findings from the STARS report to guide our ongoing work towards sustainability," says Nessman. "The report contributes to an ongoing multi-campus effort to learn about, evaluate, and report on our sustainability achievements. STARS has been an effective process for identifying areas in which Selkirk College sustainability initiatives are thriving and areas that require further attention."