UVM's Office of Sustainability has participated in external sustainability assessments, including: The Sierra Club "Cool Schools" survey; The Princeton Review "Green College Honor Roll" survey; and The Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) "College Sustainability Report Card" survey.
In 2010, UVM received:
- 16th place on Sierra Club "Cool Schools";
- 93 out of 100 points on the Princeton Review "Green College Honor Roll" - a college has to get 99 to make the honor roll; and
- an overall A- on the SEI "College Sustainability Report Card."
Although these rating and ranking systems get press coverage and raise interest in sustainability and in the particular institutions, answering hundreds of questions of various sizes and importance can take up tremendous amounts of time and have other inherent problems. In July of 2010, the director of the UVM Office of Sustainability, Gioia Thompson, along with a number of other sustainability directors and coordinators from higher educational institutions sent a letter to several organizations that solicit sustainability surveys. The letter urges the organizations to incorporate transparency, accountability, disclosure of professional credentials of staff, uniform matrices, rejection of financial conflicts of interest in their surveys, and to give an opt-in or opt-out choice. Read the letter here.
The Office of Sustainability is informally tracking a number of indicators and data sets using the Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System (STARS) from AASHE. In the spring semester the ENVS 187 Campus Sustainability course will once again review the Operations and Planning, Administration & Engagement sections of STARS, and bring student ideas about improving practices to the administration.
Check AASHE STARS to see progress.