EcoMotion Facilitates STARS Workshop in New Mexico

In January, EcoMotion’s Campus Services team visited Central New Mexico Community College. The purpose of the visit was to: a) conduct a STARS (Sustainability Tracking and Rating System) workshop, b) to motivate key faculty and administrators in a group meeting and then individually, and c) to clarify roles and responsibilities for a process that will result in a STARS “submittal” and rating. Luis Campos, Executive Director of the physical plant, was delighted with the attendance, “We’ve tried so hard to expand our circle and to bring more faculty and administrators into the process of becoming a sustainable campus. The STARS workshop was well attended and catalyzed our effort.”

Created and managed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, or AASHE, STARS is the Sustainability Tracking and Rating System that has swept campuses across the country. Like EPA’s automobile fuel economy standards, and LEED for buildings, STARS ratings are more and more important to an institution’s reputation. CNM has taken many steps to go green, including constructing eight LEED certified buildings. EcoMotion’s job is to work with faculty and staff to prepare CNM’s first STARS submittal, which aims for a Bronze ranking.

The morning workshop was attended by 30 key stakeholders. The EcoMotion team presented a primer on STARS, its parent organization (AASHE), why STARS is an important collaboration tool, and how its point system works. Afternoon break-out sessions conducted by Sierra Flanigan, Talia Arnow, and Drew Lowell-Britt covered campus sustainability Planning and Administration, Academics, Engagement, and Operations. At each session, responsible parties for various STARS credits were assigned to appropriate faculty and staff, and a timeline for action was presented. Next month, EcoMotion will be facilitating data gathering, reviewing inputs, and working to fill gaps. Then a submittal will be made, a score reported, and future goals set. After submittal, a campus- wide Earth Day event will celebrate the success of the STARS report.