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Measuring Sustainability Performance in Higher Education

In: Business and Management

Submitted By tmw221
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Measuring sustainability Performance in Higher Education:
Implementing a Sustainability Scorecard

Toni Washington
Gov’t & Not for Profit – ACC 410
Prof. Sandra Smith
March 14, 2012

1. Determine how SU specifically gained support for implementing the STARS model and whether this was good management practice.
In the beginning, when SU began the participation in the STARS pilot program, some of the faculty was not interested in participating. SU gained support for implementing the STARS model once people began to understand the importance of it and how it would help each campus and the individual departments. Some felt that the students should have been able to participate in the pilot program rather than just certain student organizations. 2. Determine the most difficult challenge faced by SU in implementing the STARS model.
The most difficult challenge faced by SU in implementing the STARS model was getting the faculty to participate. Some did not respond to the survey nor did they provide any information pertaining to their teaching or research. It was probably mainly due to the fact that they did not understand what was meant by sustainability-focused or related teaching and research pertaining to particular programs. 3. Analyze whether or not SU’s participation in the STARS pilot study will/did add value to the institution.
SU’s participation in the STARS pilot study did add value to the institution by pointing out the different things in which STARS should be giving points towards. SU’s feedback provided some very import factors in the consideration of the way in which points are awarded. For example, STARS gives out points for LEED certified or LEED equivalent buildings when they should really be considering the Energy Efficient buildings. The way in which STARS give out credit was confusing. Comparing a bike rack near a building and upgrading a building by adding a super efficient energy system, should not be allotted the same number of points. Even though they both reduce the emissions, one is more significant than the other. The amount of data that has to be collected is overwhelming. There is no clarification as to what the credits mean to each individual campus. 4. Evaluate whether or not the STARS model rewards higher education for focusing on the “low-hanging fruit” or its more long-term strategic sustainability challenges.
In my opinion, STARS model rewards higher education for focusing on the “low-hanging fruit” as opposed to the more long-term strategic sustainability challenges. They are looking at what is being done in the present rather than what is being done to improve thing for the near or not so near future. STARS need to improve the way in which they evaluate institutions and the way in which they gather the information. One suggestion that was made by SU was hiring an undergraduate to collect and update the data. STARS took their advice and did just that.

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