USD’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.

USD completed the AASHE STARS assessment in alignment with expectations laid out in the 2015 Presidents’ Joint Committee on Sustainability report. The assessment was mostly completed by USD sustainability undergraduate students as part of a sustainability capstone course, and the report highlights the activities, actions and programs that can be implemented on campus to further USD’s sustainability efforts.

“Conducting this baseline sustainability assessment is so important because it allows us to see our strengths and weaknesses so that we can move forward on sustainability efforts in a more strategic way,” said Meghan Jarchow, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Sustainability & Environment. “When we complete this report again, I am confident that we will be able to improve our rating by continuing to expand our sustainability efforts and doing a more thorough job of reporting all of our sustainability work.”

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. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “USD has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS bronze rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

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.

“We are very proud to have achieved a STARS rating for our sustainability accomplishments,” said Jarchow. “We look forward to watching our sustainability efforts grow and improve through the STARS program.”


AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE's mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. 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. For more information about AASHE, visit

For more information about the STARS program, visit

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