The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) officially gave NSU a bronze rating in its Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Program last week for its efforts in sustainability.
A unique aspect to this rating system is its transparency. Any one is able to see the points given to the university on AASHE’s website as well as what initiatives the university is pursuing. NSU scored the highest in the area of “Campus Engagement.”
“The recognition takes a look at how NSU is approaching [and] is reviewing their sustainability approach from a holistic perspective across all of the departments in the whole NSU community,” said Seth Mangasarian, director of the Physical Plant.
In 2016, NSU began working toward raising its sustainability after signing the Campus’s Act on Climate Pledge. By employing programs like those that raise recycling and employ green cleaning products, the university has made strides to become more environmentally friendly.
“Sustainability is basically just doing everything that you can to help the environment,” said Megan Knights, junior environmental science major and Student Sustainability Coordinator in the Office of Facilities and Management. “[NSU] is really trying to become more environmentally friendly in the future.”
Knights said that through further programming, NSU hopes to raise its bronze rating to a silver or a gold status. She said that they may be able to achieve this through eco-friendly building of the new residence halls and possibly adding a composter.
Mangasarian stressed that further initiatives are under review, but to be expected. He also said that students are the most important factor behind sustainability efforts.
“This was not achievable without the entire cooperation of the entire NSU community,” he said. “One of the main focuses [of the Student Sustainability Coordinator position is] to reach across the department and, more importantly, to ensure that we are reaching the student body because that’s where as a community we’re gonna have to come together for any type of increase in the energy savings and the approach that we’re using.”
For more information on the STARS rating, go to stars.aashe.org/institutions/nova-southeastern-university-fl/report/2017-05-08/.