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BC Earns National Recognition for STARS Environmental Study


Bridgewater College has earned a Bronze rating from the Association for the Advancement of  Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for its completion of a rigorous 20-month, in-depth study of several areas in sustainability – education, research, operation, planning, administration, engagement and innovation.

The study was conducted through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) – a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure sustainability performance. Bridgewater is one of only eight colleges and universities in Virginia to have completed STARS reporting.

"Bridgewater College takes seriously its responsibilities to the environment, society and future generations," said President David W. Bushman. "The college has gained valuable insight from STARS and its report and will use this experience to expand sustainability programs and advance environmental stewardship in the future."

The study began in September 2011 to provide a baseline for understanding the college's sustainability initiatives, to promote and implement sustainability efforts on campus and to engage students, faculty and staff in sustainability and environmental stewardship. Teshome Molalenge, director of Bridgewater's center for sustainability, said that 100 faculty, 35 staff members and 10 students participated in the study.

"In addition to helping the college set and meet sustainability goals, the program also provided extensive learning opportunities for students in the areas of data collection and interpretation, survey skills, research methodology, report presentation and communication," said Molalenge.

He added that the Bronze rating, which is good for three years, is a "good starting point" for Bridgewater College, which plans to aim for even higher ratings in the future.

The STARS rating is the latest benchmark in Bridgewater College's quest to expand its sustainability efforts and strengthen its commitment to environmental stewardship. In September 2011 it eliminated laser printers from labs and classrooms and replaced them with 15 printing kiosks located throughout the campus; in May 2012, Stone Village – the college's village-style residences that were constructed to conform to an internationally recognized green building certification system –  received "Certified" status as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) project by the U.S. Green Building Council; and in May 2013, Bridgewater dedicated an electric-vehicle charging station.

Additionally, the college conducted a comprehensive energy audit funded in part by a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. That audit gave Bridgewater an overall view of its energy consumption so that it can conserve usage, save natural resources and educate students about energy conservation.

To learn more about Bridgewater College’s sustainability efforts, visit

Posted on 10/7/13

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