Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 47.57
Liaison Keaton Schrank
Submission Date June 9, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Westminster University - Utah
IN-1: Innovation 1

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Kerry Case
Environmental Director
Environmental Center
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :

STARS as a tool for peer-to-peer student learning:

The STARS initiative at Westminster College was entirely student driven. From the very beginning to the final submission, four undergraduate students lead the way. Students oversaw a team of 25 peers in Introduction to Environmental Studies, who worked in research teams to compile the bulk of the STARS data. The research provided students with hands-on practical experience working in sustainability. The students participating developed a more thorough understanding of campus sustainability than any other group of students prior. Students presented their research at our Undergraduate Research Fair, and their work constituted nearly half of the total research posters presented.

The impact and scope of the project expanded beyond these students as they collected data from over 50% of all students, faculty, and staff and nearly 100% of all campus departments. These interactions served as a vehicle for dramatically increasing campus understanding of sustainability and forged alliances that will help further future sustainability endeavors. Students followed up their data collection by awarding “STARS Stars” to those who provided data and/or lead projects that earned points. This increased the visibility of the project and awareness of the diverse array of efforts that contribute to overall campus sustainability.

The peer-to-peer approach showcases the impressive capacity of students to lead sustainability efforts when empowered to do so by their institution and represents and unique approach to completing the STARS assessment. Giving student leaders the responsibility of overseeing and evaluating sustainability data from their peers put them in a position similar to sustainability professionals on other campuses. This responsibility led the students to adopt an impressively high standard of data accuracy. The project was completed in only six months. Once data collection was complete, the four student leaders used the assessment to develop a three year plan for improving campus sustainability across all sectors.

Overall, students used STARS to create a campus-wide conversation about sustainability that has paved the way for significant future progress. We feel this is a good model for other small colleges that prioritize active, engaged student learning.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.