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WSU projects good sustainability rating

Weber State University might soon be rated highly  for its effort to integrate sustainability in different areas of campus.

Hal Crimmel, a professor in the English department and member of the Environmental Issues Committee, spoke to the senate about WSU’s involvement with the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).

On, the organization described itself as a “transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.” Crimmel said WSU was enrolled in the program in 2010 by facilities management.

In the STARS program, universities receive points based on how much sustainability is being integrated in different areas. Crimmel said that based on the points, WSU will most likely be awarded a bronze rating, which he said is “really terrific.”

Jennifer Bodine, a sustainability specialist on campus and member of facilities management, has worked closely with Crimmel, specifically as the primary data collector. She also officially submitted WSU’s data to STARS in the hopes of obtaining the bronze energy rating for the university.

“It’s a great way for us to gauge how we’re doing and in which areas we need improvement,” she said.

As part of the program, universities can receive points based on how sustainable and environmentally-friendly certain classes and curriculum are. Currently, the university is receiving points for having around 70 classes that meet the requirements as stated on the STARS website. Faculty present at the meeting questioned how other classes can be submitted for review. Crimmel encouraged any teachers interested to email him.

“What we hope to do in the future is have a more formal system,” he said.

The data for the STARS program was presented to President Millner on Monday. Though Millner was unavailable for comment, both Crimmel and Bodine said she seemed pleased with the direction the STARS program will take the university.

Crimmel said the university’s participation in the STARS program will help measure progress toward fulfilling the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), a motion to address climate change by universities and institutions who agree to certain commitments. These commitments are to complete an emissions inventory, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral within two years, take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience, and make the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.

Though WSU is making strides in sustainability on campus, Bodine said there are still things WSU could work on that would require the help of students.

“Literally, we could come up with a project for any one in any major,” she said. “It’s applicable with anyone.”

Bodine said any students interested in becoming more involved with the sustainability efforts on campus should contact Jake Cain in the Energy and Sustainability office at 801-626-6311.

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