AASHE’s 2020 Sustainable Campus Index

AASHE’s 2020 Sustainable Campus Index


AASHE recently released the 2020 Sustainable Campus Index, a publication that recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The report also highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from institutions that submitted STARS reports in the most recent calendar year. 

Average scores from past years were included for the first time in this year’s SCI to allow for longitudinal comparisons and to highlight possible trends. This year’s SCI includes highlights from a new, optional Points of Distinction credit that allows institutions to identify programs, initiatives, or accomplishments that best reflect their leadership in advancing sustainability.

Institutions that achieved the top spot overall according to institution type include: 

  • Associate Colleges – Nova Scotia Community College

  • Baccalaureate Institutions – Colby College

  • Master’s Institutions – Thompson Rivers University

  • Doctoral Institutions – Colorado State University


Institutions that achieved the top spot in each sustainability topic area are listed below. The full list of top performers is provided in the report.

  • Air & Climate – Arizona State University and Colby College (tie)

  • Buildings – University of California, Merced

  • Campus Engagement – Berea College, Cornell University, University of Connecticut (tie)

  • Coordination & Planning – Thompson Rivers University and University of Alberta (tie)

  • Curriculum – Colorado State University

  • Diversity & Affordability – Stanford University

  • Energy – Thompson Rivers University

  • Food & Dining – University of Winnipeg

  • Grounds – Cascadia College, Chatham University, George Washington University(tie)

  • Investment & Finance – Arizona State University

  • Public Engagement – University of Connecticut

  • Purchasing – Dalhousie University

  • Research – Binghamton University; Florida State University; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Merced; University of California, San Diego (tie)

  • Transportation – Columbia University

  • Waste – Nova Scotia Community College

  • Water – Colorado College, San Francisco State University, University of Connecticut (tie)

  • Wellbeing & Work – University of Massachusetts Lowell

To date, STARS reports have been submitted by over 500 institutions in 16 countries, eight Canadian provinces, and 49 U.S. states. In recent months, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University became the 1st institution from Morocco to earn a STARS rating, while University of Tasmania became the first Australian institution to earn a STARS rating. These accomplishments will be included in next year’s SCI.
We hope that the contents of this report will inspire students, administrators, faculty, and staff at colleges and universities to work together to implement innovative solutions to sustainability challenges.