WWU Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements

Students from Western's Climate Leadership Certificate program relax during their place-based orientation in the Methow Valley this summer. (WWU photo by Luke Hollister)

BELLINGHAM, WA, Aug. 10, 2023 Western Washington University (WWU) 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.

WWU’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website: https://reports.aashe.org/institutions/western-washington-university-wa/report/2023-06-06/

Amanda Cambre, director of Facilities Management at WWU, commended the institution's commitment to sustainability.

"What impresses me most about the work that WWU has accomplished to maintain our Silver STARS rating is the dedication of our teams who each took intentional steps through our integrated sustainability model and Sustainability Action Plan to maintain our momentum through the turbulent intervening years demonstrating our commitment to these imperative goals,” Cambre said.

"We are grateful for AASHE’s leadership in helping institutions measure their sustainability progress and compared to peer institutions," said Lindsey MacDonald, associate director of Sustainability at WWU. "This serves as an incredibly helpful tool for Western to identify areas of exemplary performance and areas for growth into the future. Our current rating will serve as a great compass for the work of the President’s Sustainability Council. The achievement underscores the university's commitment to empowering its community, fostering innovative solutions, and contributing to a brighter and more sustainable future.”

The Silver STARS rating signifies WWU's progress in various areas of sustainability, including academics, engagement, operations, planning, and administration. These include WWU’s Green Direct partnership program with Puget Sound Energy; the Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund; initial steps to convert the campus heating system from steam to a more energy efficient hot water system; and Kaiser Borsari Hall, the new net zero energy electrical engineering and computer science building, now under construction.

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

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. 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.


About Western Washington University

Western Washington University offers more than 200 academic programs on its main campus located in Bellingham, and at additional sites in Anacortes, Bremerton, Everett, Port Angeles and Poulsbo. Western is recognized nationally for its successes, from being named the top master’s-granting institution in the Pacific Northwest for 23 years in a row by U.S. News & World Report, which also named WWU as the of the best public schools in the West for veterans, to its recognition as one of the most sustainable, green campuses in the nation by the Sierra Club. Western is also known for being a top producer of prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, and Peace Corps volunteers, and nationally ranked for graduates who go on to earn research doctorates.  The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Academic Workplace report named Western as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, winning honors in two categories: teaching environment and tenure clarity and process.



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 www.aashe.org.

For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org.