TRU scores highest rating in globally recognized sustainability program

The platinum rating comes after years of self-reported sustainability initiatives as a part of the STAR system

TRU’s solar compass and sidewalk are just one of many projects that have contributed to the university’s platinum score. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

TRU has come out on top as a global leader in the realm of sustainability in post-secondary institutions.

Last month, it was announced that TRU had achieved a platinum rating on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating system, the first of any Canadian university to do so.

STAR is a program that post-secondary institutions self-report to about their sustainability initiatives and performance. TRU first started using the STAR framework in 2010 along with a wave of other first-wave adopters. Since then, TRU has received a silver rating in 2011 for its first report and a gold rating in 2015 with it’s second.

TRU’s platinum rating, the highest that can be achieved from STAR and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, comes one year ahead of schedule, something that has made the TRU sustainability community proud of what they’ve achieved.

“We are excited to be the first in Canada and one of only five higher education institutions globally to achieve this rating,” said Matt Milovick, vice president administration and finance.

TRU’s efforts and achievements will be globally recognized, as AASHE only provides positive recognition and a public database for its participants. TRU is one of 900 of these participants in over 20 countries.

Participating members report their progress through four categories in the STAR system, academics, engagement, operations and planning and administration, subcategories including landscape management, water use, building energy consumption and campus greenhouse gas emissions. Through these categorical reports, institutions earn points towards their overall ratings.

Recent innovation projects such as the solar compass, Tap Water Challenge and bike sharing programs were also graded and contributed to the platinum score.

“The platinum rating emphasizes that sustainability has become core to the ethos of the campus,” said Jim Gudjonson, TRU’s director of environment and sustainability. “This milestone could not have been reached without the perseverance, passion and hard work of the entire TRU community – from the early adopters to our engaged students and faculty and dedicated staff – this is a shared achievement.”