Stetson Receives Silver Rating for Sustainability
STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.
Stetson received a STARS Bronze rating after its first sustainability audit in 2012. But the university has continued its efforts to create an increasingly sustainable campus, reflecting its core value of environmental stewardship.
Charging stations are available on campus for electric cars. The university is working to reduce energy and water consumption by 18%, and it uses reclaimed water for irrigation. Students also can pursue degrees in Environmental Science and Studies and participate in projects through the Environmental Sustainability Fellows program.
“This Silver rating reflects the important work that is happening on our campus every day, thanks to our students, faculty and staff,” said Stetson President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD. “As the world struggles with the harmful effects of climate change, never has there been a more important time for the Stetson community to demonstrate its leadership and commitment to protecting our environment.”
To document Stetson’s ongoing progress, World Languages and Cultures Professor Robert Sitler, PhD, took a sabbatical from work to lead the audit during the Spring 2023 semester. Recently, Stetson learned its rating was increased from Bronze to Silver, based on its report covering five overall areas, including academics, engagement, operations, and innovation and leadership. This rating is valid through August 2026.
“I cannot help but mention the outstanding work of the four Environmental Sustainability Fellows directed by Dr. Tony Abbott of the Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience, under the guidance of Dr. Jason Evans, and Stetson’s Facility Management team, under the leadership of Scott Thacker and DeLand’s new Mayor Chris Cloudman,” said Sitler. “The remarkable work in diversity issues directed by Carmen Johnson and the outstanding environmentally oriented offerings of the Gillespie Museum, organized by Kristen Marshall Mattson, were also essential to our success.”
As environmental sustainability rapidly becomes a critical world issue, Stetson strives to not only raise student awareness, but also to one day attain its hope of becoming the premier “green” institution in Florida.
“I’ve been an advocate for environmental conservation my entire adult life, and have promoted sustainable practices at Stetson since I began working here nearly 30 years ago,” Sitler added. “My work at the university has been extremely fulfilling, and taking on the STARS project offered a way of expressing my appreciation for that experience in a substantive way.”
The STARS Silver rating comes after The Princeton Review selected Stetson for its 2023 Guide to Green Colleges, recognizing the university for the seventh time as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible institutions.