CCC Earns Gold for Sustainability Achievements

May 25, 2023

Central Community College has earned a STARS Gold 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.

“After earning a bronze rating in 2017 and a silver rating in 2020, I am thrilled our continuous improvement efforts have earned CCC a gold rating in 2023,” said CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall. This STARS Gold rating ranks Central Community College in the top 5 associate colleges for sustainability achievements in the United States.” 

According to Ben Newton, CCC environmental sustainability director, the school’s goals include carbon neutrality by 2034 and making strides toward greater resource conservation and sustainability each year. A major ongoing initiative from this report includes an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent since 2014. CCC was recognized as being a leader in the state through hosting the sustainability pavilion at the Nebraska State Fair, increased composting efforts, being selected for a World Wildlife Fund Climate Week spotlight and two former sustainability interns being named Guinness World Records holder. CCC faculty and staff continue to expand educational activities through eBadges, energy technology workforce development, sustainability clubs and newsletters. 

“We are very proud to have achieved a STARS GOLD rating for our sustainability accomplishments,” Newton said. “The Central Community College administration, faculty, staff and students have all been key to helping our sustainability efforts grow and improve by tracking collective efforts by our team through the STARS program. For central Nebraska and beyond, we believe environmental sustainability is important and necessary for healthy communities, people and economic sustainability.”

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. “Central Community College has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold 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.

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