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Villanova University Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements


VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University 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. 

“We are very excited to have not only have completed the STARS evaluation for the first time, but also to rank as a Silver level institution,” said Liesel Schwarz, Villanova University Sustainability Manager. “STARS is a very comprehensive view of campus sustainability, including environmental, economic and social impacts of the University. We will use the results of STARS to compare ourselves with peer institutions, and to develop a campus sustainability plan to better guide us forward.”

With more than 650 participants on six continents, 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 four overall areas: operations, academics, engagement and planning/administration.

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.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Stephanie Herrera. “Villanova has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Recognized as one of the nation’s greenest colleges by the Princeton Review and other publications, Villanova continues to achieve excellence in sustainability initiatives on campus. The University is committed to integrating sustainability programs into its institutional policy and practice. In 2007, The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, President of the University, signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), with the goal of making Villanova a net climate-neutral campus by the year 2050.

In addition to the efforts aimed at making Villanova’s physical campus more sustainable, the University has numerous academic programs that provide an emphasis on sustainability. They include a master’s degree in sustainable engineering; first-year environmental learning community; bachelor’s degrees in environmental science, environmental studies, and environmental biology/ecology; undergraduate minors in environmental studies and sustainability studies; biology master’s degree, graduate certificate, and advanced graduate certificate with a concentration in ecology, evolution, and organismal biology; master’s degree in water resources and environmental engineering, a graduate certificate in urban water resources design, and a graduate sustainability course in “Sustainable Industrial Chemistry.”

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.

About AASHE: 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