Solar panels and vegetative roof BW's Harding House residence hall

BW's longstanding commitment to sustainability once again earns national recognition for leadership and innovation in green practices.

BW notches second Silver STARS sustainability rating

August 9, 2022

BW's longstanding commitment to sustainability once again earns national recognition for leadership and innovation in green practices.

STARS silver sustainability medal

Baldwin Wallace University has successfully renewed a silver sustainability rating through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

The Silver STARS Rating, which runs through 2025, required a rigorous review by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and represents "significant sustainability leadership."

As BW President Bob Helmer highlighted in the University's STARS submission, "Concern for the triple bottom line remains part and parcel of our university's mission to prepare students to be contributing, compassionate global citizens."

Measuring Sustainability Performance

The STARS program encourages, measures and honors sustainability achievements in five broad areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

The STARS program is "the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university's sustainability performance."

When BW first earned the designation in 2019, AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser noted, "STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts. BW has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability and is to be congratulated."

One of five BW geothermal fields being drilled for the LEED certified Durst Welcome Center

Green in and out of the classroom

BW's green record of achievement includes the launch of Ohio's first undergraduate major in sustainability in 2008, with a minor, certificate program and scholarly research opportunities as part of the University's academic green portfolio.

In addition, BW's operating plant boasts two solar arrays, a wind turbine, innovative recycling and composting efforts, and five geothermal fields that heat and cool campus buildings. Two buildings were LEED certified at the time of their construction, while bioswales and vegetated swales across campus combat water runoff.

The Berea campus, home to more than 1,500 trees, was designated a Tree Campus USA® by the Arbor Day Foundation in 2017.

BW students can also choose to live in the Harding House sustainable living-learning community or get involved with The Campus Kitchens Project, a student-led organization that recovers food waste and turns it into healthy meals for the community.

With the support of a US Environmental Protection Agency grant, a recent sustainability innovation was the development of the Campus Plate app to capture additional food waste and fight food insecurity on campus.

Solar panels and vegetative roof BW's Harding House residence hall