Seven higher-education institutions have received a gold rating for their sustainability efforts as part of a new evaluation effort begun by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) measures an institution’s sustainability performance in several categories: education and research; operations; planning, administration and engagement; and innovation.

AASHE says 245 higher-education institutions have signed up to take part in STARS; 34 schools were in the first group to meet the January deadline for submitting their data. Of those, none received the highest rating, platinum; seven received a gold rating, 17 received a silver rating, nine received a bronze rating, and one submitted data, but indicated it was not seeking a rating.

"From these submissions, we are learning that our campuses are doing some incredible things to implement sustainable practices," AASHE Executive Director Paul Rowland says. "On the other hand, they are also identifying the areas in which they have room for improvement, and we see tremendous opportunities for them to help each other in these endeavors."

Those that received gold ratings: American, Duke, New York, and Oregon State universities; the universities of Colorado at Boulder and South Florida; and Middlebury College.

Information and ratings for all of the 34 campuses that submitted data to STARS are online at https://stars.aashe.org/institutions/.