Share this

UNI scores gold with STARS sustainability rating

April 8, 2013

Eric O'Brien, UNI sustainability coordinator, 319-273-7207,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The University of Northern Iowa received a STARS gold 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, is a program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. This is the second STARS gold rating UNI has received since 2011.

STARS offers bronze, silver, gold and platinum ratings. Of the 245 rated institutions, UNI is one of just 45 to be rated gold. UNI's evaluation by STARS was based on a comprehensive list of credits in three major areas: education and research, operations and planning, administration and engagement. UNI also saw a 5.3 percent improvement in this year's score from its initial rating in 2011.

Highlights leading to the STARS gold rating include:

-       Increase in local food purchases from 25 percent to 34 percent

-       Socially responsible investments

-       77 percent of students get to campus each day by means other than a single occupancy vehicle

-       35 academic departments teach at least one sustainability-related course

-       UNI students performed an average of 45 hours of community service through courses, student organizations or other university-affiliated projects

"The recent rating is reflective of years of work inside and outside the classroom to make UNI a more sustainable campus," said Eric O'Brien, UNI sustainability coordinator. "Our institutional commitment to sustainability has fostered positive change and resulted in noticeable improvements to our STARS rating in just the last two years."

There are 245 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada, including six in Iowa participating in STARS. UNI is the only university in Iowa to receive a gold rating.

For more information about UNI's sustainability efforts, including the upcoming Sustainability Dialogue and Action Conference on April 12 and 13, visit or contact O'Brien at 319-273-7207 or