UMN Morris recognized as top performer in 2021 Sustainable Campus Index
The University of Minnesota Morris has been recognized as a top performer in the 2021 Sustainable Campus Index, earning Top Performer status overall among baccalaureate institutions. A publication from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing sustainable colleges and universities overall and in 17 impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).
The experience at UMN Morris uniquely prepares graduates for futures in sustainability work. Sustainability Director Troy Goodnough says, "Students drive our sustainability success at Morris. We just celebrated fifteen years of sustainability progress at UMN Morris this fall. Many students over the past decade have contributed to our progress." The hands-on experience students gain while studying here allows them to enter the workforce prepared to make a difference. Goodnough explains, "It is exciting because we also see our amazing Morris alumni doing great sustainability work in Minnesota and beyond. Morris is working hard to be a model community, as we collaborate with our city, county, schools, and other partners to extend our leadership outward across Minnesota."
UMN Morris is listed among the top ten baccalaureate institutions, and is one of only two public schools in the top ten. As a rural liberal arts school located in west central Minnesota, UMN Morris is blessed with abundant wind, rich soil, and ample sun. The campus stands at the intersection of diverse ecological prairie and forest regions, which makes it an ideal laboratory for new ideas in sustainability. It's a place for students, faculty, staff, and community members to collaborate and develop a model for sustainability leadership.
The Morris campus engages in a broad array of initiatives devoted to sustainability. Among the areas of focus are renewable energy, zero waste, water conservation, and sustainable construction and renovation, but efforts extend to almost every area of campus of operations. In 2019 UMN Morris was ranked as the #1 campus in the United States for most renewable electricity generated on campus per student by Environment America, and, in 2020, the campus achieved carbon neutrality in electricity.
“Congratulations to the University of Minnesota Morris for their incredible sustainability accomplishments,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Upon reading the innovative and high-impact initiatives within this report, I’m encouraged that the global sustainability transformation that we desperately need is, in fact, happening.”
UMN Morris’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS was developed by AASHE with broad participation from the higher education community. The credits included in STARS span the breadth of higher education sustainability and are organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. All reports are publicly accessible on the STARS website.
AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. They work with and for higher education to ensure that our world's future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges.