Unity College achieves sustainability ranking of GOLD by national organization
Unity is the first college in Maine, and one of five in New England to be awarded this prestigious ranking in sustainability.
Unity College has achieved what only 21% of college and Universities in the world have achieved: been rated as “Gold” by the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) based in Denver.
AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly-reported detailed information related to sustainability performance compiled over several months of effort. Unity’s submission includes achievements in education and research, operations and planning, administration and engagement. Collectively, this information improved the colleges ranking from Silver in 2011 to Gold as a result of the various infrastructure, administrative, and curricular changes made in the past three years
“We were the first college to divest from fossil fuel investments which helped spur others to do so, one of the first signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and now we have made the commitment to become a truly carbon-neutral campus without the need to buy external carbon credits to make it appear that we are climate friendly,” said President Stephen Mulkey.
Unity College was the first college in the US to divest its endowment from fossil fuels. The focus now is on divesting our campus infrastructure from fossil fuels. We have a net-zero energy President’s home, a certified passively heated 10 student residence hall that costs only $200 to heat, a new 70 student residence hall designed to be net-zero in carbon emissions, a solar photo-voltaic array on our library that supplies 80% of its electricity, and six pellet biomass boilers that eliminate reliance on fossil fuels in three buildings.
“Unity College has a particularly compelling story to tell because of our unique mission focus on Sustainability Science” said Steve Kahl, Director of Sustainability.
Executive Vice President Khoury added “these initiatives are part of a strategic plan approved by the trustees to become carbon neutral by 2020”. In addition, the recently donated Half Moon Gardens commercial greenhouse and McKay Agricultural Research Station are already augmenting our sustainability curriculum and production of local foods for campus dining.