BW earns ‘silver’ recognition in sustainability system rankings


While there are many things that Baldwin Wallace prides itself on, a commitment to sustainable practices is at the top of the list.
It doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that the university has officially been recognized for this commitment.
The Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System, commonly known as STARS, is a “transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance,” according to the website.
In other words, STARS rates schools on how sustainable they are, and having a good rating on the STARS master list means that as a school, BW is really making an environmental impact.
So, what was BW’s rating on this list of sustainable schools? Dr. Franklin Lebo, an assistant professor of Sustainability as well as the STARS liaison, says we’ve done well.
“Baldwin Wallace rated silver on a scale that starts at bronze and goes all the way to platinum,” Lebo said. “Our actual score numerically was a 51.68% out of a total 201 possible points, and one would need 65% to achieve a gold rating, so BW is doing pretty well.”
What happens next after this rating? Lebo says that the next step after achieving a rating is to obtain a ranking.
“Really, what this STARS program is doing is letting us as a school know how we’re really doing,” Lebo said. “We have the same rating as places like Yale, but we have a different score, so we’ll rank differently. Hopefully, BW will rank just as well as it rated.”
Lebo also says that the ultimate goal he hopes to achieve is to be ranked by both the Princeton Review and the Sierra Club, two prominent institutions that produce lists of the top green schools around the world. Ranking on these lists would mean a lot for BW’s sustainable efforts and reputation.
Another great aspect about the STARS rating, Lebo said, is that curious students now have a site to explore that will tell them all they need to know about BW’s sustainable efforts.
Everything from the different courses offered to the projects students are working on—it’s all in one easily-accessible place.
Sustainability is truly all over campus, with many professors across disciplines incorporating it into their courses, and one of the entry-level sustainability courses are taken by around 400 students every four years.
BW also has two committees composed of both faculty and administration who are strongly committed to environmentally friendly practices and teaching across campus.
The first committee, the Faculty Advisory Council, is composed of professors from across disciplines, including Health Physical Education, Engineering, and History and Religion. They look at sustainability from an academic viewpoint.
The second committee is the Campus Sustainability committee, which includes Lebo himself, as well as other administration like the Director of the Brain Center and the Director of Residence Life.
On the latter committee is Clare Helmer, who serves as the Student Senate Representative for the group but is also the head of the Sustainability and Facilities committee within the Student Senate.
“I think this STARS rating is really exciting and really beneficial for BW,” Helmer said. “I have a love for the environment, and I think this campus is doing a great job promoting a more sustainable attitude overall. Hopefully, we will continue to achieve even more with the expanding program and new opportunities for students.”
For more information about STARS or sustainability, contact Dr. Lebo at [email protected] or explore the website at