Soka University of America Earns Bronze Rating

 In higher education, Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) is a comprehensive sustainability rating system that allows institutions to measure, track, and improve their sustainability performance. Recognizing the benefits of STARS to measure and improve campus sustainability, Soka University of America (SUA) completed its first STARS assessment report in September 2017. This report serves as a baseline for SUA in its future efforts to improve campus sustainability, and it also reflects the university’s commitment to social, environmental, and economic sustainability. SUA recently received a STARS Bronze rating, missing the Silver rating only by 0.8 points.

A wide range of existing initiatives and programs contributed to SUA’s Bronze rating. The sustainability focus of the courses offered at SUA and research undertaken by faculty and students were key factors contributing to SUA’s Bronze standing. Also, SUA’s public engagement activities, such as formal community partnership for compost and recycling with the city of Aliso Viejo, student’s involvement in community service, and membership of the Worker Rights Consortium, enabled SUA to receive a Bronze rating.  SUA’s report is publicly available on the STARS website.

SUA’s university sustainability committee (2016-2017) worked on the STARS report from January to June 2017. Student sustainability committee members with the guidance of environmental studies faculty, Professor Robert Hamersley, worked on preparing the STARS report for SUA. The team worked with administration, various departments on campus, and staff to discuss and assess the university’s sustainability initiatives. SUA is currently planning to continue working on sustainability advancements through student-led projects, increased outreach concerning sustainability, and planning plus implementation of policies that aid sustainability improvements. SUA's STARS report can be accessed here