San Francisco State University has been awarded one of the highest rankings available for campus sustainability: a gold from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). A program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS assesses the practices of colleges and universities across the country — only 150 of which achieved a gold rating. Of the 22 California State University (CSU) campuses taking part in the STARS assessment this year, San Francisco State was ranked third, behind only CSU, Chico and Cal Poly Humboldt.
“We have been working for a year to document our many sustainability initiatives and are very excited our score reflects SF State’s expanding sustainability program,” said Director of Sustainability & Energy Caitlin Steele.
Among the new efforts featured in SF State’s 2023 STARS assessment were Climate HQ, the University’s new communication hub for climate action, and a Climate Change Certificate program that gives students a foundational understanding of climate change’s causes, effects and solutions. Other highlights included policy changes that deepen the San Francisco State University Foundation’s commitment to socially responsible investing and efforts to ensure that new campus buildings are constructed with sustainability as a top priority. The three-year-old Manzanita Square mixed-use residential center has won another top national ranking for sustainability — a LEED Gold certification — while the Science & Engineering Innovation Center and a new West Campus Green housing unit, both currently under construction, have been designed to do so, as well. Manzanita Square is an all-electric building that supports the state of California’s decarbonization efforts. The Science & Engineering Innovation Center and the new West Campus Green housing development will also be all-electric.
Steele also points to the University’s hiring of its first climate action coordinator, Taylor Mogavero, as an indication of its commitment to sustainability. Mogavero will develop and implement campus sustainability programs, build relationships both internally and externally to support sustainability initiatives and support a campus culture that reflects sustainability, social justice and climate action values. Current projects include analyzing the University’s 2023 transportation survey and updating its transportation demand management report, analyzing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a new climate action plan.
“It’s been amazing working at SF State so far. The sustainability initiatives here are already so strong, and there is great potential to be even better,” said Mogavero, who came to work for the University in August. “Starting my experience at SF State by completing the AASHE STARS report was really enlightening. The report is so detailed and really makes you think about every aspect of the University. We received a great score, but there’s always room to improve.”
Learn about how SF State’s Office of Sustainability works to create a more a sustainable and equitable University.