2017 ECU Campus Sustainability Report
Sustainability and efforts to ‘go green’ have not only captured the efforts of corporations and businesses around the world, it also has caught the attention of higher education institutions. East Carolina University has recognized the importance of sustainability and chosen to participate in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). Established by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS is a voluntary, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge progress toward sustainability and be recognized for their leadership. Created by the higher education community, STARS helps ECU set and meet our sustainability goals while promoting information-sharing among our campus community. In 2009, the UNC System adopted a Sustainability Policy, which set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 and established “sustainability” as a core value of institutional operations, planning, capital construction, and purchasing practices. This policy enabled UNC institutions to create sustainability programs and provide staff as well as financial support for sustainable development initiatives on campus. While ECU has had a fledgling program promoting sustainability on campus, other institutions such as Appalachian State University, NC State University, and UNC Chapel Hill already had mature programs in place. ECU expanded our sustainability movement in the spring of 2016 by hiring Chad Carwein as the first University Sustainability Manager. I am proud to announce that, after months of data collection and reporting, East Carolina University has earned 41 points and our first-ever STARS Bronze Rating. Our submission was close to the 45 points needed for a STARS Silver Rating and, since the rating is valid for three years, I’m confident that we will make enough progress to secure a STARS Gold Rating by the time our next submission is due. Now that this information has been made public, I invite you to review our STARS Report and share this exciting news campus wide. We can now highlight our achievement when connecting with prospective students and their parents to illustrate ECU’s commitment to campus sustainability. The value of this achievement cannot be overstated, especially with regard to potential recruitment opportunities. In 2016, the Princeton Review’s Annual Hopes and Worries Survey found that over 60% of prospective students and their family’s believed that an institution’s commitment to environmental stewardship would contribute to their application and attendance decisions [#14]. By completing this STARS Report and submitting our data to other reporting frameworks, ECU will also be included in Sierra Club’s Cool Schools list and the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, to be published in the fall. Thank you to everyone who worked toward accomplishing this milestone and continuing to advance campus sustainability.