The University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability is in the process of completing the university’s first-ever comprehensive sustainability assessment. The office is using the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) self-reporting tool developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS is the standard tool used by more than 900 universities to measure sustainability performance, assess progress and set strategic goals. The assessment encompasses all aspects of the university, from academics and research to engagement, planning and operations.
What is sustainability?
Sustainability is defined by AASHE “in a pluralistic and inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations.” The concept of sustainability recognizes the interdependency of three dimensions: environmental, social and economic. To learn more about the UM Office of Sustainability’s definition, click here.
How you can help
The Office of Sustainability needs the UM community’s assistance in three categories:
- Reporting exemplary practices related to sustainability on our campus. For example, this includes designations such as UM’s Bicycle Friendly University designation. Examples used by other schools include sustainable dining certifications, stormwater modeling and pay scale equity.
- Reporting sustainability related research. Research associated with the community wellbeing and disaster resilience flagship constellations is likely considered sustainability related, as is research related to natural systems, energy, greenhouse gases, food security, issues of equality and social equity, etc.
- Reporting courses that are sustainability focused or include a unit or module on sustainability (including issues of social equity.) Courses that are related to a major sustainability challenge as defined by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals should also be reported. In this category, a business ethics course that includes a section on corporate social responsibility would count, as would courses such as environmental law, diversity in higher education, multiple social work courses, toxicology courses. etc.
If you are not sure whether a practice, research focus or course is sustainability related, submit it anyway using the form below.