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St. Lawrence University earns recognition for sustainability efforts

CANTON — St. Lawrence University announced it has earned national recognition for its achievements in several areas of sustainability.


After completing a detailed campus report measuring academic and administrative practices on campus, the university received a rating of “silver” from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, based on its score in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS).


“Achieving a silver rating is a significant accomplishment for the entire campus and something we can build on as a part of our collective commitment to sustainability,” St. Lawrence Sustainability Coordinator Louise E. Gava said in a news release.



STARS is a self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure and compare their sustainability performance across a number of areas using a common set of measurements and data, according to the release. Various publications and other groups use the information to list and rank the sustainability efforts of participating institutions.


“This assessment goes above and beyond simply our environmental performance,” Gava said in the release. “It takes into account several other areas of sustainability, such as diversity, access, and affordability, an area of the assessment where we obtained full credit.”


St. Lawrence noted that it earned significant points for making environmental literacy a component of the university’s curriculum. St. Lawrence said it has approved courses for environmental literacy that cover the topics of the consequences of human activities on natural systems, the cultural, economic, and political forces that affect environmental policies, and the impact of natural systems on the environment, human life, health, and welfare. The Sustainability and Adirondack semesters also boosted the university’s rating, St. Lawrence said.


In addition to academic achievements, administrative efforts in information technology and the grounds department’s work surrounding sustainable landscaping and water management also had a significant positive impact, according to the release. St. Lawrence scored strongly for its practices in computer purchasing, limited printing, water consumption, and its bicycle-sharing program, according to the release.


Gava said the campus rallied to gather the information needed to complete the STARS report under tight deadlines.


“This is a real community-building tool,” she said. “While it is a point of honor to achieve a silver rating, simply completing the report is something we should be proud of. In gathering the data, individuals and departments on campus really got involved in the process. They saw the importance of us completing this report. The community interest in what we were currently doing and what we can do to improve, that’s what’s exciting.”


To view the full STARS report for St. Lawrence, visit To learn more about sustainability efforts at St. Lawrence University, visit


St. Lawrence University is a private, independent liberal-arts institution of about 2,400 students. It has about 700 employees and annual revenue of $157 million, according to the Business Journal 500 publication.




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