The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) is a self-reporting, transparent tool that allows colleges to rate and compare their sustainability practices. It was developed by AASHE.
Each participating institution self-reports data in several sub-categories: Education and Research; Operation; and Planning, Administration, and Engagement. In each category there are a set number of points to be earned. The score for that category is the percentage of points earned in comparison to the total points possible to earn. Each institution can also earn Innovation Credits for new, ground-breaking practices and performances. The final score is calculated by averaging the percentages from each category with each Innovation Credit adding one point after the average is calculated. Luther had a score of 50.9 and received a silver rating.
Each year the Sierra Club, in collaboration with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI), and the Princeton Review publishes its list of the top 'green' schools in America. Luther was ranked 45 of 162 participating schools for 2013. Schools must submit a questionnaire and are then ranked based on their submission. More information can be found at the Sierra Club website.
Second Nature's mission is to create a sustainable society by transforming higher education. They recognize innovative and advanced leadership in education for sustainability, climate mitigation and adaptation, and institutionalized sustainability. The Climate Leadership Award is bestowed to signatory campuses of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) that have been nominated. The campuses are then evaluated on student preparedness, climate innovation, and campus efforts to expand its sustainability efforts into the greater community. Finalists submit short videos about sustainability efforts on campus. Luther was one of four baccalaureate colleges to be chosen for the award. Click here to view Luther's video.
Each year, The Princeton Review surveys school administrators about sustainable practices on their campuses. The schools are then ranked based on whether students have a campus quality of life that is both healthy and sustainable, how well a school is preparing students for employment in the clean energy economy of the 21st century as well as for citizenship in a world now defined by environmental concerns and opportunities, and how environmentally responsible a school's policies are. Luther was ranked in the top 8!
For more information on methodology, click here.
In 2011, Luther received an A on the College Sustainability Report Card. The College Sustainability Report Card is the only independent evaluation of campus and endowment sustainability activities at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. In contrast to the academic focus on sustainability in research and teaching, the Report Card examines colleges and universities, as institutions, through the lens of sustainability. Institutions are ranked based on nine equally ranked categories. Information is gathered through a survey given to college administrators and students. The institutions are then ranked on a 4.0 scale based on their performance. A grade is then calculated for each category, and the grades for all categories are averaged. Schools can also receive extra credit points for any innovative or comprehensive programs. Schools receiving an A- or higher are selected as Overall College Sustainability Leaders.
To take a closer look at our score, click here!
For more information about methodology, click here.
After completing what was then Iowa's largest solar field in 2012, Luther received local and national praise for its achievement. Letters were received from the US Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu and Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad.
"Luther is a perfect example of how colleges and universities can help drive America's clean energy economy and win the jobs of the future. I congratulate Luther and its students on completing Iowa's largest photovoltaic solar array- powering your campus with clean, renewable energy for years to come."
-U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
"I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the dedication of Luther's solar energy production facility. I am pleased to see that your college is continuing to do its part in reducing Iowa's carbon footprint. This new facility on your campus, in addition to your already successful wind turbine, is a giant step in the right direction as we work to become more energy independent and make use of the many great energy resources we have here in the great State of Iowa.
Congratulations on this milestone event. Please accept my best wishes for continued success at Luther College!"
-Terry E. Branstad
Governor of Iowa
With the addition of the solar array finished in the summer of 2012, Baker Village is now all electric. In recognition of this great achievement, Iowa Outdoors, a project of the Iowa DNR, featured this and other achievements Luther has attained in the area of sustainability. To look at the article, click the PDF.