The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education 2018 Sustainable Campus Index released Aug. 22 lists the University of Dayton among the world’s top performers in the categories of research and purchasing, and highlights the UD’s Energy GPA program and Kennedy Union green roof.

The lists are based on the association’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) subcategory scores of institutions submitting a valid STARS report between March 2, 2015, and March 30, 2018.

Launched last year, the Energy GPA program provides students in more than 400 University-owned residences a grade for their monthly energy use. Monthly “report cards” include electricity and gas usage and energy saving tips. Grades are determined by comparing a house’s current usage against past usage and weather data, so every residence is graded by a statistically valid method that isolates energy savings from behavior changes.

Inspired by environmental biology and sustainability, energy and the environment students, the Kennedy Union rooftop garden provides a campus hub for sustainability education, improved aesthetics and a cooler roof that can lower the building’s energy costs, and send cleaner water into storm sewers.

Student leaders with the Hanley Sustainability Institute and facilities management led both initiatives.

This spring, the University earned its first gold rating for its sustainability achievements in the STARS rating system. UD’s score ranks in the top 2 percent of all rated schools, first in Ohio, and second among all U.S. Catholic colleges and universities.

The University earned perfect or near perfect marks for academic research; diversity and affordability; sustainability coordination and planning; and innovation and leadership.

Improvement from previous years came in the areas of dining operations, purchasing and grounds; curriculum and programs to address today’s sustainability challenges; and student engagement in sustainability research and peer-to-peer education, according to Steve Kendig, University of Dayton executive director of energy utilization and environmental sustainability.

“We jumped nearly 23 points — and from a silver rating to a gold rating — since our last report submission just 14 months ago, thanks to a joint facilities management and Hanley Sustainability Institute effort to engage more units Universitywide in our sustainability initiatives,” Kendig said. “This rapid improvement — and reaching our goal a year ahead of schedule — is only possible because more units bought into the University’s sustainability goals and committed to evaluating, reporting and aligning performance and priorities to advance sustainability on our campus and our community.”

With more than 900 participants in 37 countries, the STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for reporting information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.

Click on the related links and stories for the University’s full STARS report, the 2018 Sustainable Campus Index and information about the University of Dayton’s sustainability efforts.

UD is part of Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment, which commits the University to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. UD also is a part of “We’re Still In,” which supports climate action to meet the Paris Agreement; the Global Catholic Climate Movement; and the U.N. Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

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