Office of Sustainability

STARS: Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System

HSU STARS Timeline

August 2016
Office of Sustainability preps training materials for campus reporters

Sept – Oct 2016
Orientation sessions for STARS Reporters

Oct – Dec 2016
Data entry to STARS online reporting tool

Jan– Feb 2017
Office of Sustainability will review STARS data

March 2017
HSU receives external review by Third Party

April 2017
Data is formally submitted to STARS

May 2017
Final rating is announced to campus

Humboldt State University has set out to prove we are serious about sustainability—again!  During the fall 2016 semester, HSU re-evaluated sustainability across campus, assessing performance for the second time with a self-reporting framework called Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The campus completed the assessment in May 2017, receiving an overall rating of GOLD with 69.28 points.

Access HSU's most recent assessment findings here


History of Humboldt State University & STARS


What makes STARS different?

How does the STARS system work?

How can I help with campus sustainability?



STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.  This system was developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) with broad participation from diverse representatives of the higher education community. Beacuse HSU is an active member of AASHE, all students, staff, and faculty at our institution have access to AASHE’s online resources, which include opportunities for networking, information sharing, collaboration and professional development. 

Read more about AASHE’s member benefits here.

History of Humboldt State & STARS

As some may recall from 2012-2013, the greater campus community at Humboldt State University participated in its first-ever STARS report. With the help of the Office of Sustainability, reporters from various departments throughout campus gathered a myriad of data relating to their respective operations and responsibilities. 

HSU's 2013 Rating and final STARS Report: click here


Humboldt State will resubmit data and accrue a new STARS rating every three years when the previous report expires. The 2016-2017 report presents a unique opportunity for the campus to compare current metrics to those established in 2013. 

What makes STARS different?

AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a university’s sustainability performance. Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada, 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.  

How does the STARS system work?

  1. STARS is broken into four sectors: Academics (AC), Engagement (EN), Operations (OP), and Planning & Administration (PA).
  2. Each sector is further tiered into data credits that describe specific metrics, activities, or practices throughout campus.
  3. Fulfillment of credits allows the University to accumulate points.
  4. STARS awards a rating of platinum, gold, silver or bronze based on earned points.
  5. The data used to assign points are made public so that institutions may compare their own activities to those of other campuses, and get inspiration for ways to improve and achieve success. 

How can I help with campus sustainability?

While only designated reporters and their departmental leads will be responsible for delivering in-depth sustainability information for the STARS report, every single stakeholder on campus plays a role in some element of making HSU a more sustainable campus. STARS evaluates all levels of campus activity, from how many student groups on campus are focused on sustainability, to the recycled content in office paper, to the policies our university has in place to promote social equity, justice, and diversity.  Campus stakeholders, in particular staff and faculty, are encouraged to incorporate sustainability concepts into their jobs and daily responsibilities, operationalizing these concepts as common and routine exercises at HSU. 

To get involved in a variety of sustainability initiatives on campus or to find out more about STARS, contact:

  • Katie Koscielak, Sustainability Analyst
  • (Email)
  • 707-826-5945 (Campus phone)
Humboldt State University