Barnard College has earned a STARS Silver 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, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. 

With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework for comprehensive, publicly reported information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. The STARS report demonstrates how sustainability and climate action can and should be incorporated into every administrative and academic department, assessing not only emissions and waste but also diversity, compensation practices, and student involvement. 

The year-and-a-half-long journey to completing the STARS assessment was a collaborative effort, led by Barnard’s Office of Sustainability and Climate Action, with involvement from more than 30 departments around campus.

“We can be proud of our Silver rating,” said professor Sandra Goldmark, the director of campus sustainability and climate action. “It shows us that Barnard is, and has been, moving in the right direction. There is more to be done, but we want to take the time to recognize the hard work of so many that made this achievement possible.”

The College has an established history of prioritizing campus sustainability. After joining the NYC Carbon Challenge in 2009, Barnard became one of the first New York City institutions to reach the initial goal of a 30% emissions reduction from 2005 levels. The College signed the “We’re Still In” pledge in 2017, declaring that it will continue honoring the global pact to reduce emissions and stem the causes of climate change. In 2019, Barnard released its Climate Action Vision, a living document that outlines a 360-degree approach to elevate the role of women, people of color, and low-income communities in defining new paradigms for climate leadership.

“Climate change is one of the most urgent crises of our time, demanding action that redefines leadership, crosses disciplinary and intellectual boundaries, and addresses the structural inequalities that contribute to our current global predicament,” said President Sian Leah Beilock. “I am proud of the work we’ve done on campus to earn this Silver rating, and I’m excited about our plans to continue the vital work of creating a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.”

In the new academic year, Barnard will continue to make strides towards a more sustainable campus and world by identifying a clean pathway and timeline for carbon neutrality, reducing Scope 3 emissions through a novel framework called “Circular Campus,” tackling how to address emissions from air travel, and evaluating how to include discussions of climate change in the Foundations curriculum. In keeping with this sustained commitment, on October 20, Barnard was selected as one of 419 total colleges for inclusion in The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition with a green rating score of 89/99.

Read the full STARS report here.