CSUN Strikes Gold Again in National Higher Ed Sustainability Ranking

CSUN students at duck pond

Students at CSUN conduct field work on the pond on campus. Photo by Nestor Garcia.

California State University, Northridge has earned another stellar ranking from the nation’s largest organization for sustainability in higher education. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) awarded CSUN its third gold rating in its Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

CSUN first earned a gold rating in 2016. This latest score marks the third consecutive year the university has completed the complex and rigorous STARS application. AASHE also named CSUN a top performer in diversity and affordability. CSUN continues to be one of the top performers in the CSU system.

“Achieving the STARS gold recognition is a great accomplishment for the campus, as it shows we have made tremendous strides in our sustainability efforts and programing,” said Austin Eriksson, director of energy and sustainability at CSUN.

Seventeen different sections of sustainability, categorized by engagement, academics, administration and operations, help rank top-performing schools, according to the organization’s annual Sustainable Campus Index. The rankings are formed according to each institution’s STARS rating. The tool assists campuses, including CSUN, in understanding areas that might need improvements in their sustainability programming, as well as areas where they excel.

The Princeton Review uses the STARS ratings as a basis for their lists of “Green Colleges.” The Sierra Club also uses the same ratings for its list of “Cool Schools.” CSUN made both organizations’ most recent lists. According to ​the AASHE report, more than 900 STARS reports were submitted by 477 institutions in 11 countries. CSUN was the only CSU recognized by AASHE ​for diversity and affordability.

CSUN has made immense progress and changes to its campus sustainability efforts and programming. Some of the biggest accomplishments over the past several years include opening the Sustainability Center on campus, creating and implementing a campus-wide Zero Waste Plan​, Earth Week and reducing water consumption on campus by more than 55 million gallons per year.

“By no means have we arrived at the finish line,” Eriksson said. “We still have quite a bit of work to do.”

To learn more about sustainability efforts at CSUN, visit https://www.csun.edu/sustainability.

CSUN’s STARS report is available on the AASHE website: http://www.aashe.org.