North Star Shines Silver with Sustainability!

STARS Silver Rating

The Sustainability Office at North Seattle Community College is proud to usher in the new academic year with exciting news surrounding sustainability efforts at the College. It brings us great pleasure to announce that we have achieved a STARS Silver rating for sustainability!  This achievement highlights our increasing effort and dedication to sustainability here at North Seattle Community College, and ranks us amongst the top tier of community colleges and other two-year institutions that have participated in the STARS program across North America.

Since 2010, North Seattle Community College has been participating in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS). As a charter member of the STARS program, North earned a Bronze rating in 2011, making it the first campus in the Seattle Community College District to become an officially rated institution. The program, the only one of its kind, assesses sustainability using environmental, economic and social indicators in three categories: education and research; operations; and planning, administration and engagement. Innovation credits are then added to this average, determining the total STARS score. The final scores correlate to an overall campus rating: Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.

Our STARS submission allows us to understand in detail where we have been particularly successful, and in what areas we could use a refocusing of our efforts. Highlights from our submission include the Innovation section, where we showcased some of the unique projects our students and staff have undertaken since our last submission. Projects in this section included student Dennis Skarr’s EcoBike, an energy producing stationary bicycle, in which Dennis retrofitted a stationary bike in our Wellness Center, allowing it to produce electricity when being used. Dennis has received great acclaim for the EcoBike, and it is currently being prepared to be part of a month-long energy awareness campaign at Joint Base Lewis McCord, where it will be rotated throughout four different gym facilities at the base for the month of October.

Also reported in the Innovation section was the school’s hard work in helping to create the Licton Springs P-Patch. Slated for completion this fall, the agreement between the City of Seattle and North Seattle Community College to build the P-Patch on campus represents a huge advancement for the program, and the first time a garden has been built on state land throughout the 40 year history of the City’s P-Patch program. These projects represent the core, innovative spirit that our students and staff constantly put forth into all aspects of campus life.

While the STARS reporting was spearheaded by the Sustainability Office, we have been supported in countless ways by the entire community here at North. Without the hard work and dedication from the students, faculty, facilities and operations staff, administration, and everyone in between, we would not have been able to achieve this milestone for our campus. Additionally, we have had much help and coordination by the Seattle Community College District Office. After North’s success in 2011, the district decided to pursue STARS ratings for all three of its campuses this year. While Central and South are working hard to finish up their submissions, we at North are proud to be part of a district that is quickly shaping itself into a hub for sustainability efforts and education within the region.

As we move into the new academic year, we look forward to using this rating to help guide our work, and build on the Sustainability Program and the College’s past success. We will undoubtedly be faced with new challenges, and as we identify the areas that need improvement, we hope you all will join us in meeting those challenges head on, with the energy and commitment needed to help solve some of our society’s most pressing issues from the ground up.

We keep the door open, so stop by the Sustainability Office any time! We are located in the College Center building, room CC1355B, or you may visit to learn more about the projects and opportunities the Sustainability Office has to offer. For more information about AASHE or STARS, please visit

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 at 15:47:52

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