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Make Orange GreenKnoxville—The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has received a STARS Silver Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a new program that measures sustainability in all aspects of higher education. AASHE is the premier North American association dedicated to coordinating and strengthening campus sustainability efforts at the regional and national level.

Currently, 307 higher education institutions in North America are STARS participants. Of that number, 33 percent have achieved a STARS rating of silver or higher .

“UT’s STARS Silver rating is a great achievement that reflects the campus’ deep commitment to sustainability,” said UT Sustainability Manager Gordie Bennett.

The program considers environmental, social, and economic factors facing higher education institutions. Participating universities must report on the following areas: education and research; operations; planning, administration, and engagement; and innovation.

UT received all four possible innovation credits through its Friends of Switchie program, Recyclympics, participation in the Solar Decathlon 2011, and the campus food composting program.

Data submitted to AASHE was collected in spring 2011 by UT students Matt Freda, Jenica Nelson, John Regan, Maria Rosales, and Sara Malley. Countless faculty and staff members also provided valuable information that contributed to the submission.

“It’s fitting that students were so involved with this effort, as it is they who will tackle the complex social, economic and environmental issues of the future,” Bennett said.

STARS also works with participating universities and colleges to create the benchmarking and comparison tools needed to begin and enhance campus sustainability programs.

For more information on UT’s STARS rating, click here. For more information about AASHE, visit, and for the STARS program, visit For more information on Make Orange Green, visit

C O N T A C T :

Gordie Bennett (865-974-7780,