By Phillip Lentsch–

U of L has achieved a new STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE). The award is given for Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

The rating represents a significant 6.9 point increase from 2013 in U of L’s overall score to 65.12 percent. Currently, U of L is one of 89 STARS Gold schools on the planet and the only STARS Gold school in Kentucky. Progress in the strategic plan for sustainability has kept U of L in a leadership role in environmental, social and economic stewardship.

“In the midst of so much bad news about U of L, it’s refreshing to learn that we are still doing a lot of things right, especially in the area of sustainability. This rating documents the incredible progress that students, staff and faculty have helped push forward over the years,” Justin Mog said. Mog currently serves as the Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives.

In the past three years, U of L has earned four new “Innovation Credits” in the area of campus sustainability. These include: Nutrition Navigators and the U of L SmartPlate; Supporting Diversity with a preferred name option for class/grade rosters; Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy; and the Beargrass Falls Environmental Park. These efforts represent how U of L has attempted to expand upon its sustainability options, with a growing presence on social media also gaining traction. The Sustainability Council has launched Twitter and Instagram feeds to increase awareness, and has even started its own blog.

University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky University, Madisonville Community College, and Jefferson Community and Technical College all have STARS silver ratings as of 2016. Transylvania University and Hopkinsville Community College earned Bronze ratings in 2015 and 2013, respectively. U of L, however, has outshined the rest with its latest Gold rating. The Sustainability Council is pleased with the reward, but plans on implementing even more measures on campus.

“When you sum up all we’ve achieved in the name of better environmental, social, and economic stewardship, U of L is top ranked in the state and in the top 100 worldwide. But this is no time to rest on our laurels. We’ve still got a lot of important work ahead to reach STARS Platinum,” Mog said.

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal