The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

UWEC campus receives silver sustainability ranking

AOS submitted sustainability information to STARS organization for the first time
Photo by Maddie Kasper
The campus mall brings more students outside to experience a silver ranked sustainable campus.

UW-Eau Claire has applied and received a ranking for the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).

STARS is a comprehensive sustainability tracking portal where applicants submit data such as investment portal information, purchasing data, greenhouse gas information and more.  

“It all goes into a big report, which is then graded,” said Henry Scamehorn, a graduate assistant at the Administrative Office of Sustainability (AOS) who worked closely with the project.

UW-Eau Claire has ranked “silver” by the STARS standards. The ranking system’s levels include “reporter,” “bronze,” “silver,” “gold” and “platinum.”

The ranking resulted from around a year of data collection done by AOS employees. 

“This was UWEC’s first ever submission for the STARS ranking and we were all fairly thrilled to achieve silver,” Scamehorn said.

UW-Madison, for instance, has a STARS ranking of silver as well. 

“Silver is fairly on par with the rest of the UW schools – some of them flip flop between gold and silver depending on factors like the staffing available, for example,” Scamehorn said. “For our first submission, I think we were pretty excited that we weren’t bronze.”

According to their website, STARS is run by the Association for the Advancement of Higher Education, or AASHE. 

Scamehorn said in addition to sustainable measures taken by each campus, STARS standards place a great deal of emphasis on sustainability classes and education programs offered by the universities. The educational portion can weigh heavily on the overall ranking.

“You submit it every three years, so it gives you time to make some changes in between. Especially with this campus, we’re going to get Sonnentag up and running and eventually the new science building,” Scamehorn said. “I think by the time we make the next submission, some of that data will be on the report, so we’re hoping to see some progress.”

Because, as Scamehorn said, the AOS was virtually created two years ago, this is the first-ever STARS submission the newly formed team has made.

“In 2022, they hired two graduate assistants who did a phenomenal job getting things up and running,” Scamehorn said. “After that, I was hired, as well as my superior Lily Strehlow, and it’s really grown from there.”

According to Scamehorn, the AOS is now made up of Lily Strehlow, himself, and four student coordinators including Bailey Turner, who was one of the main contributors to the STARS application and data collection.

“Bailey was very helpful. We would probably still be working on the project if it weren’t for her, so she was really instrumental in this process,” Scamehorn said. 

Scamehorn referenced recent projects the Sustainability Office has been involved in, some of which were in partnership with the Student Office of Sustainability. These projects include initiatives like the hydroponic gardens in Davies Student Center and new sustainability-related murals in Schofield.

Scamehorn said that while the AOS has worked with AASHE in the past, this was their first time working hand in hand with the organization.

“STARS is kind of their flagship service, and this kinda helps open doors for us to work a bit more closely with them in the future,” Scamehorn said.

Scamehorn will leave his current position when he graduates in May of this year. He will receive his masters in Student Affairs Administration from UW-La Crosse.

Wojahn can be reached at [email protected].

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