UW News

January 28, 2019

University of Washington earns high marks in international sustainability rating

UW Sustainability

bicyclist riding through the quad on a sunny day

The University of Washington has been recognized as one of the most sustainable higher education institutions in North America, according to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).

The UW received a gold rating, with a score of 77.18 percent. This is the third time the UW has received a gold rating, and the first time the comprehensive report covered all three UW campuses.

The STARS ratings, administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, are good for three years and are based on self-reported assessments. The UW’s submission included information on sustainability efforts and performance in 93 different credit areas.

“This gold rating recognizes the hard work, resourcefulness and creativity of our staff, faculty and students across the university in pursuit of impactful sustainability initiatives,” said Lou Cariello, vice president of UW Facilities. “We remain grateful for and passionate about the opportunity we have to continue leading in this area and influencing the initiative of others to further accelerate sustainability improvements.”

UW Sustainability coordinated the extensive reporting effort, which involved leaders from more than 30 departments across all three UW campuses in Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma.

“What is clear from UW’s gold STARS ranking by AASHE is that the sustainability community values the things at the core of UW Tacoma’s urban-serving mission, like a commitment to equity and justice and the role that a culture of sustainability can play in the lives of our students and their families,” UW Tacoma Chancellor Mark A. Pagano said. “We are very proud that what we do every day contributes to UW’s position as a leader in sustainability.”

The report covers the variety of sustainability efforts at the different locations, including Seattle’s traditional campus environment, Tacoma’s urban-serving campus and Bothell’s mix of built and natural environments, such as its 58-acre wetland. Information about the UW’s sustainability performance in academics, operations, engagement and planning and administration were part of the report.

“We are proud to showcase our sustainability efforts, our spectacular campus and be a part of this tri-campus success,” said Alexa Russo, UW Bothell sustainability coordinator. “We enjoy working with our students, faculty and staff to improve our practices and work to further advance sustainability in the coming years.”

The UW scored highest in the areas of transportation, purchasing, coordination and planning, diversity and affordability, and campus engagement. Credit also was given for several innovative practices, including the campus Salmon Safe certification, Athletics Sustainability, the Green Laboratory program, and Mailing Services’ Electric Assist Bike Mail Delivery fleet.