NEWS RELEASE: Pace University is First in Westchester to Earn Sustainability Rating from New Higher Education Reporting System
High scores in planning, administration, engagement, education and research help achieve bronze rating
University highlighted for boosting lower paid workers’ incomes despite economic downturn
PLEASANTVILLE, NY – Pace University is the first institution in Westchester to achieve a rating in a new program to encourage environmental sustainability in all aspects of higher education.
Specific action items that earned Pace points included:
- Creation of a University-wide sustainability committee.
- A strategic plan that includes “the environmental dimensions of sustainability at a high level.”
- A plan for the physical campuses that also includes sustainability at a high level. The Pleasantville part of it, a multi-million dollar investment in infrastructure to take place over the next five years, was particularly highlighted.
- A plan to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
- Community sustainability partnerships and community service.
- A sustainability plan that includes facility upgrades, sustainable purchasing, an anti-idling policy, a recycling audit, a graduation sustainability pledge, curriculum enhancements, energy conservation, and participation in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2030 challenge to reduce greenhouse emissions 30 percent in the next ten years.
- Future plans to convert the Pace bus fleet to biodiesel and achieve LEED certification on new construction and renovations.
The national rating program, called the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
Pace was also highlighted on the STARS blog for “an institutional best practice” of “sustainable compensation.” This means, the entry says, that ““Pace University pays employees a prevailing wage that is above the minimum wage based on analysis of job type and classification. In the midst of an economic downturn, Pace University provided a one-time lump-sum payment to employees identified as lower-wage earners to offset losses from a freeze on the annual merit award.”
The blog post is accessible from the AASHE website http://www.aashe.org/ .
“STARS allows institutions to earn credits for all their contributions to sustainability,” said AASHE Executive Director, Paul Rowland. “From providing sustainability coursework, to using green cleaning products, to energy efficiency in campus buildings, there are lots of opportunities for a school to identify and track its sustainability progress.”
To date, nearly 230 higher education institutions have registered as STARS participants. Only two other Westchester colleges are participating, and only Pace so far has earned a rating.
“The STARS program has given Pace an opportunity to assess our strengths and identify areas that require closer attention,” said Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman. “We are grateful to AASHE for creating this tool for higher education institutions.”
AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information on a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in education and research, operations, and planning, administration and engagement. High marks in education and research as well as planning, administration and engagement helped Pace achieve a bronze STARS rating.
The completion of Pace University’s first STARS report was a concerted effort of many areas of the university. Pace’s university-wide sustainability committee, GreenPace, spearheaded the compilation of data and entry into the online reporting tool. The GreenPace committee formed in 2008 to help identify, implement and promote sustainable campus initiatives. The committee is comprised of students, faculty, staff, senior administrators, and alumni.
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about the STARS program, visit www.aashe.org/stars.
About Pace University
For 105 years, Pace has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu
Cara Cea, Manager of Public Information