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UW-Madison sustainability evaluated, ranks 7 out of 10 in UW System

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System gave UW-Madison a silver rating, but the university ranks in the bottom half of reporting UW System institutions. 

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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System awarded UW-Madison a silver rating Monday, among nine other UW System institutions who were assessed.

However, with UW-Madison’s overall score of 51.72 percent of possible points, the flagship campus ranks seventh out of 10 reporting UW System schools. Excluding the institutions with scores that are over three years old — which STARS considers to be expired — UW-Madison shifts to fifth out of seven. 

Five other UW System schools — UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Platteville, UW-Stout and UW-Whitewater — also have a silver rating from STARS, although UW-La Crosse and UW-Stout’s reports are expired. 

UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point received a gold rating — along with UW-Milwaukee, which also has an expired report. 

A platinum rating, the only one higher than gold, was only received by 6 institutions nationwide out of 977, or around 0.6 percent. The rating is determined through four categories: academics, engagement, operations and planning and administration — with additional points awarded for innovation and leadership. 

Of the UW System institutions with STARS reports, UW-Stevens Point scored the highest overall at 69.30 percent. UW-Green Bay currently holds the lowest overall score at 45.05 percent. 

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank called UW-Madison’s silver rating an intermediate step on the way to better sustainability practices, according to a press release. 

“It tells us where we’re doing well and where we need to improve,” Blank said. “It tells us something about how we compare to our peers. And it’s going to help us to recruit faculty, staff and students. People want to be on a campus that cares about the environment. It is in the air.”

UW-Madison’s Director of Sustainability Missy Nergard plans to use the STARS report as a guide for next steps.

“When I first started I was using the example of ‘We don’t even know where we are on the map, so it’s really hard for us to project where we’re going to go next,’” Nergard told the Cap Times. “Now that we have our STARS report back, we have the information we need. We know where we are on the map.”

UW-Eau Claire is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, which administers STARS, but doesn’t have a rating. UW-Parkside and UW-Superior are neither members nor have STARS ratings, according to the STARS website.

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