Cornell earns second platinum sustainability rating, tops national rankings in 2021

Campus Sustainability Office December 3, 2021
New residence halls on North Campus at Cornell as seen from above, with solar panels covering all roofs
Among other accolades for campus sustainability, Cornell recently opened two new residential buildings on North Campus with rooftop solar. | Photo: Cornell Facilities

Cornell has earned a second platinum sustainability rating – the highest possible– from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Cornell sustainability report card 2021 infographic thumbnail
Open an infographic showing key highlights from the most recent Cornell STARS Report. | Campus Sustainability Office

Cornell is the only Ivy league institution to have achieved a platinum rating, and one of just two in the world to have achieved the accolade twice.

AASHE manages the reporting tool STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System), a comprehensive rating and assessment tool with over 1,000 points of data on education & engagement, campus operations, planning, diversity & equity, and sustainability governance.

“A platinum rating is something everyone at Cornell can be proud of,” said assistant director of campus sustainability Sarah Brylinsky.

“Sustainability is a process, not a destination.  Our facilities staff, faculty, and most importantly, students, are setting a national example of how we create a culture of sustainability innovation.”

Cornell was prominently featured as a top-performing institution in the organization’s 2021 Sustainable Campus Index, coming in first in New York State for overall score, and top marks in green building, campus engagement programs, coordination & planning, and sustainability research.

“But, a high rating doesn’t mean our work is done,” noted Brylinsky.

“We should use STARS to identify areas of improvement and continue to share our successes and learn from other high-performing Universities.”

The STARS report is the foundation for other national and public sustainability rankings, such as the Sierra Club’s Cool Schools and the Princeton Review Green Honor Roll.

Browse Cornell’s full 2021 STARS report and to learn more, or see how Cornell compares to other institutions on the sustainability ratings and reporting page.