CCC Earns Silver for Sustainability Achievements

May 8, 2020

STARS Silver EmblemCentral Community 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. 

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

According to Ben Newton, CCC’s environmental sustainability director, the overall performance of CCC has improved significantly since its first STARS Bronze rating in 2017, by committing to a climate action plan with target goals. In his role, Newton collaborates with all CCC staff, campuses, and centers in achieving these goals and regularly shares best practices with local, state, regional and national audiences. For central Nebraska and beyond, CCC believes environmental sustainability is important and necessary for a healthy ecosystem, communities and economic sustainability.

“The three years of sustainability progress at CCC has been a collective campus and community effort in Central Nebraska,” said Newton. “Being open to innovative strategies not only helps our students and communities, but also provides resiliency in recent times of flooding and now the pandemic. CCC is committed to strategies to be a great steward of our environment for our students, community and the planet.”

Some additional college-wide goals for the near-term include increasing courses that include sustainability, transition to one electric fleet vehicle and charging station on each campus, establishing native plant habitat, a bike share on each campus, and resiliency action projects in each community.   

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: 1) academics 2) engagement, 3) operations, 4) planning and administration, and 5) 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. “CCC has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver 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.

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.