Black Hills State University Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements

Black Hills State University has earned a STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.   
BHSU is firmly committed to its sustainability mission and has set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. In 2014, BHSU enrolled in STARS, becoming the first university in South Dakota to receive a STARS rating. This achievement underscores their steadfast dedication to sustainability efforts. 
“Our STARS silver rating shows that BHSU has a strong commitment to reaching our sustainability goals,” said Debbie Liddick, assistant director for facilities and sustainability at BHSU. “BHSU has made progress over the last decade with sustainability efforts across the campus. More recently, we have reaped the benefit of the installation of 931 KwH of new solar panels in the past three years, which is the main reason for the large reduction in carbon emissions and meeting our greenhouse gas goal.” 
With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.  
“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Black Hills State University has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.” 
Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.  
BHSU’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website: