Oregon Tech Receives Recognition for Sustainability Efforts
Oregon Institute of Technology has received a STARS Bronze rating in recognition of the university’s sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a new program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.
Oregon Tech has actively participated in sustainability efforts and education since the university’s Geo-Heat Center began operating in 1974. The efforts of the Geo-Heat Center were complemented by the legislative establishment of the Oregon Renewable Energy Center at Oregon Tech in 2001. Since that time, there have been many initiatives in sustainability projects and efforts toward making sustainability a more integral part of all campus operations. The entire Klamath Falls campus is geothermally heated, creating significant cost savings, while also reducing CO2 emissions.
Additionally, the campus has a geothermal power plant, soon to be accompanied by a large scale photovoltaic system and a larger scale geothermal power plant. Oregon Tech’s Renewable Energy Engineering program is the first of its kind in the U.S., while other majors at Oregon Tech such as Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences are including sustainability-related classes in core curriculum areas.
AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall areas: 1) education and research, 2) operations, and 3) planning, administration, and engagement.
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Paul Rowland. “Oregon Tech has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Bronze Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”
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.
“We are very proud to have earned a bronze STARS rating for our sustainability accomplishments. We look forward to using the STARS system to prioritize future sustainability efforts that will minimize environmental impacts and ensure OIT’s long-term viability,” said Charles Riley, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil engineering and chair of the OIT sustainability committee.
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development, and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit www.aashe.org. For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org.
About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is one of seven institutions in the Oregon University System, and the only public institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, communications and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public and international communities through hands-on learning. Oregon Tech’s main campus is in Klamath Falls; other sites are located in Portland, Salem, La Grande and Seattle. Oregon Tech will consolidate its campuses in the Portland area to a larger facility in Wilsonville in Fall 2012. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.
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