Chatham News

Chatham University receives STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements

PITTSBURGH (November 8, 2012) … Chatham University received a STARS Gold 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 and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

Chatham University, the alma mater of environmental icon and Silent Spring author, Rachel Carson (class of ’29), has a long history of environmental preservation and a modern-day commitment to advancing sustainability within its institution and beyond. A charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Chatham is working toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. Chatham’s leadership and commitment to applied sustainability in higher education has been widely recognized. Earning a perfect Green Rating, Chatham recently became one of only 21 schools named to The Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll. Earlier this year, Chatham was named one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to the Guide to 322 Green Colleges, a collaboration between The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, USA Today, the League of American Bicyclists, and Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future have also recently recognized Chatham’s leadership in sustainability.

“We are so proud to achieve a STARS Gold Rating,” says Chatham President Esther L. Barazzone. Chatham appreciates AASHE and its commitment to advancing sustainability initiatives throughout the entire higher education industry. We are grateful for this opportunity to demonstrate our progress through STARS as we continuously strive for excellence in our sustainability efforts.”

On October 11, Chatham broke ground at its Eden Hall Campus, which will house the University’s School of Sustainability and the Environment, the first school of sustainability in the East and only the second in the country. The 400-acre campus will integrate sustainable development, learning, and living throughout its design. Utilizing the latest in sustainable technologies and methods, Eden Hall will aim to produce zero carbon emissions and manage the majority of its energy and wastewater needs directly on-site. Among the first fully sustainable campuses in higher education, it will become a one-of-a-kind venue for education, conferences, community outreach, and ecotourism.

About Chatham’s Green Initiatives
Chatham has purchased renewable power since 2002, and now purchases 100 percent of its total electricity usage from a Green-E Certified mix of renewable energy that is primarily wind power.  Two grants were recently awarded to Chatham, allowing the installation of solar thermal water heating that is designed to lessen dependence on fossil fuels, reduce the University’s carbon footprint, and insulate against fluctuating energy costs.  The largest installation of its kind in Pennsylvania and the ninth largest solar water heating installation in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Utility Solar Water Heating Initiative project database, the project incorporates advanced microchannel technology from Solar Tomorrow, Inc.

In 2011, Chatham became the first institution in the Pittsburgh region to ban the sale of bottled water. Chatham also instituted a new campus-wide printing program that reduced its carbon footprint by 14,400 pounds of carbon dioxide.

A robust composting program compliments a successful school–wide single–stream-recycling program. Reflecting Chatham’s commitment to community involvement in its food, food service provider Parkhurst Dining Services purchases 20 percent of its food from local sources through its FarmSource program and coordinates a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for the campus. The dining hall provides vegan and vegetarian selections at all meals to accommodate the large population that prefers this low–carbon diet, as well as to reduce the campus footprint. In addition, eliminating the use of trays in 2009 has resulted in at least a 25 percent reduction of energy and encourages less food waste, and the switch to reusable take-out containers in 2011 has led to additional dramatic waste reduction.

AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall areas: 1) education & research, 2) operations, and 3) planning, administration & engagement.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Paul Rowland. “Chatham University has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada, and the criteria that determine a STARS Rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation.  It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit

For more information about the STARS program, visit

About Chatham University
Chatham University, founded in 1869, is located in the vibrant Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa. Preparing students from around the world, Chatham’s enrollment throughout the past decade was the fastest growing in the Pittsburgh region. With enrollment of over 2,300 students and consisting of an undergraduate women’s college and co-educational graduate and online programs, Chatham has consistently been ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Offering challenging academics and innovative programming in the fields of sustainability and the environment, health and lab sciences, creative and liberal arts, and business and entrepreneurship, a Chatham education is designed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy, today.

For more information, call 412-365-1139 or visit