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Spring 2021: Fresno State Receives STARS Bronze Rating for Sustainability!

 Bronze Award AASHE

The campus has earned a STARS Bronze rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, (the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) defines sustainability as “a pluralistic and inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations.” The campus achieved 32% of the STARS criteria, surpassing the minimum of 25% to achieve Bronze status. The full interactive STARS report is available here.

In response to a CSU system-wide effort towards sustainability, Fresno State began collecting, analyzing, and entering campus information into the STARS framework, which measures and advances sustainability in all aspects of higher education, in August 2019.  Following a yearlong effort, the student-led Sustainability Taskforce submitted the campus’s first STARS report in August 2020, which (after addressing subsequent reviews) earned Bronze status as of November 2020--just one year after gaining a Senator of Sustainability position in the student senate. To have achieved Bronze status so quickly is a testament to a rare and effective collaboration developed between students, faculty, staff, & administration.
ASHEE STARS reports achievements in five overall areas:

1) academics
2) engagement,
3) operations,
4) planning & administration, and
5) innovation and leadership.

The current report mostly reflects the academic and engagement aspects of campus sustainability--which represent a small piece of the larger campus-wide picture. With the Sustainability Taskforce now working on operations, planning & administration, there are hopes of achieving Silver status by 2022 and Gold status by 2025 in alignment with goals set forth by the CSU Chancellor’s Office.
In the report’s Executive Letter, Chancellor-Elect Dr. Joseph Castro says, “Combining STARS with UN Global Compact commitments, and CSU-wide support from the chancellor's office, we have a comprehensive integrative framework to support and advance all aspects of sustainability, resiliency, and adaptability across all of [Fresno State’s] campus efforts. This reporting serves as an inaugural milestone in our advancement of sustainability as a top priority to our faculty, students, partners, alumni and the general public.”

RELEVANCE TO OUR COMMUNITY
This announcement comes amidst a global pandemic that has created economic strain resulting in a surge of unemployment, homelessness, racial and environmental injustices, all while the national election concludes. Although this year has been difficult, it has presented Fresno State in a unique opportunity to boldly lead and create innovative solutions to problems that are inexplicably tied to sustainability. Such sustainability initiatives support existing impacts of Fresno State--such as high social mobility and graduation rates--that serve to elevate the community at large. We believe it will not be very long until the campus is also leading in sustainability, which will serve to create a lasting impact in the Central Valley.  

As industries such as energy, infrastructure, transportation, fashion, agriculture, business, and technology continue to move towards becoming more socially, economically, and environmentally responsible, higher education must reflect the times and serve as a pioneer. Growth is exemplified at Fresno State by the Student Cupboard, distribution of electronic and hotspot devices, the collaboration between the Senator of Sustainability and UN Global Compact Committee, the improved signage on campus recycling bins, construction of the first LEED certified building, and much more (as recognized in the most recent ASHEE STARS report).
With about 80% of Fresno State graduates continuing onto their career paths within the Central Valley, it is a top priority for our students, faculty, and staff to foster a more socially, economically, and environmentally just community. Through high impact practices and course-based undergraduate research, faculty hold the power to inspire the next generation of leaders in our community.

FUTURE PLANS
With the continued support from Interim President Jiménez-Sandoval and Vice President Adishian-Astone, the student-led Sustainability Taskforce plans on integrating sustainability into all facets of the university, including; academics, facilities, and administration. They are also working on coordinating efforts with various campus committees including the Faculty and Student Senates, The Water and Sustainability Committee, and will be working with the Climate Task Force in the near future.
We recognize that the next steps in achieving CSU AASHE goals will be the result of collaboration, as we move to improve sustainability within our campus operations, planning and administration. In coordination with the student-led Sustainability Taskforce, facilities will be implementing a new energy system that will provide data-driven resources to students, faculty and staff. The accessible data will be a great resource of information that can then be used for class projects, possible research, and greater collaboration between academics and facilities. Although the focus for the upcoming year will be on operations, planning and administration, efforts will continue in academics and engagement with the help from Faculty and Student senates. All members of the campus community are encouraged to participate in sharing relevant data and experiences so we may truly encompass all sustainability related efforts.

“We are very proud to have achieved a STARS rating for our sustainability accomplishments. We look forward to watching our sustainability efforts grow and improve through the STARS program and our other sustainability efforts with the United Nations Global Compact and the Climate Action Taskforce,” said committee leaders.

About AASHE STARS:
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s 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. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions. “STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Fresno State has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Bronze Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

For more information about AASHE, visit www.aashe.org.
For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org.
If you have campus information or data that has yet to be reported, or want more information on campus sustainability efforts, please reach out to Dr. Beth Weinman (bweinman@csufresno.edu) or Suzanne Shaw (suzannes@csufresno.edu). 

Contributing Members of the Sustainability Taskforce:  Ayana Alewine, SEI Climate Fellow Marissa Acosta, Nicole Lucha, Michael Mayfield, Feng Teter, and Sustainability Senator Jason Vang.

 


 

Fall 2019 Sustainability Symposium

Fall Symposium Flyer

Fall Sustainability Symposium

The inaugural Fall Sustainability Symposium, lead by the Fresno State Sustainability Club and supported by the Associate Vice President for Water and Sustainability, will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Ellipse Gallery at the Henry Madden Library.

The event will provide time for networking and discussion among its attendees about sustainability in our community from 9 – 11 a.m. followed by keynote speaker Dr. Peter M. J. Hess at 11 a.m. who will discuss "How can Fresno move toward sustainability and meet the challenges of climate disruption?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Sustainability Club Newly Elected Officer Team

The votes are in and the Sustainability Club 2019-2020 officer team has been selected. The Sustainability Club works to ensure that Fresno State is working to a more environmentally sustainable campus. The club holds bi-monthly meetings, a Green Bag Lunch, which is an informative talk about various sustainability issues, participates in the water-wise landscaping on campus, various volunteering opportunities and the club participates in Earth Day on campus. Check out the Sustainability Club's web page.

2019-2020 Sustainability Club Officers:

  • President- Marissa Acosta, 2nd-year Environmental Science Major
  • Vice President- Devon Lee, 2nd-year Biochemistry Major interested in Climate Sciences
  • Secretary- Nicole Lucha, Senior Environmental Science Major
  • Treasurer and ASI Senator of Sustainability- Kyle Zoldoske, 3rd-year Communications Major with a Minor in Economics
  • Social Media Coordinator- Na Xiong, 6th year at Fresno State, Sociology and Physics Major