Oregon Institute of Technology has announced its participation in a new program to encourage sustainability in all aspects of higher education.
Oregon Tech registers as charter participant in new, first-of-its-kind
sustainability rating system
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Oregon Institute of Technology has announced its participation in a new program to encourage sustainability in all aspects of higher education. The program, called the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
To date, nearly 230 higher education institutions have registered as STARS Charter Participants and Oregon Tech is proud to be one of them. The school is no stranger to sustainable practices. Oregon Tech’s Klamath Falls campus has been geothermally-heated since the 1960s, dedicated Oregon’s first combined geothermal heat and power plant in April of this year, and has plans for a larger geothermal power plant to be operational in 2012. Oregon Tech began offering a bachelor’s degree program in Renewable Energy in 2005, the first of its kind in the nation. The institute implemented a sustainably plan in 2007.
“STARS will help Oregon Tech to evaluate our sustainability goals and compare our progress with other colleges and universities,” said Carrie Wittmer, sustainability coordinator and STARS liaison for Oregon Tech.
Wittmer now has a three-year appointment as a STARS technical adviser, a role in which she will meet with other technical advisers form other institutions of higher education from across the nation. The technical advisers will meet monthly to facilitate reporting and interpretation of the reporting standards.
“This is just one more activity in the sustainability arena that we hope will enhance Oregon Tech’s visibility on a national level,” she said.
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 & research, 2) operations, and 3) planning, administration & engagement.
“The advantage of STARS is that institutions can earn credits for all of their contributions to sustainability,” said AASHE Executive Director, Paul Rowland. “From providing sustainability coursework, to using green cleaning products, to energy efficiency in campus buildings, there are lots of opportunities for a school to identify and track its sustainability progress.”
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.
About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Tech is one of seven institutions belonging to the Oregon University System. Oregon Tech’s applied-technology education model fosters an environment of hands-on learning. Students complete externships to have real-world experiences to call on when they graduate. Oregon Tech established a Bachelor of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering in 2005, which is the first degree of its kind in the nation.
Oregon Tech’s main campus is in Klamath Falls; other sites are located in Portland, La Grande and Seattle. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more.
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 www.aashe.org/stars.