Iowa Board of Regents Sustainability Plan

In 2009, the Iowa Board of Regents approved a Sustainability Plan for all Regent Institutions that identified eight functional areas in which institutions were directed to develop methodologies for implementing, measuring, and educating.

The fifth-annual Sustainability Progress Reports for Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa were provided to the Iowa Board of Regents at the June 2014 board meeting. These reports cover the sustainability initiatives and accomplishments of the Regent Institutions during the 2013-2014 academic year. For a detailed listing of all of Iowa State University's new sustainability programs and initiatives as well as new updates and achievements involving ongoing efforts, refer to the ISU Sustainability Report Addendum for 2012-2013.

Prior years' Sustainability Progress Reports can also be viewed for the 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012 (also a Sustainability Report Addendum), and 2012-2013 academic years.

In addition to our personal monitoring and reporting, there are third-party organizations that also monitor (and grade) national campus sustainability efforts.

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) is a transparent, self-reporting international framework for colleges and universities to measure and highlight their sustainability performance and commitment, developed by The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. STARS focuses on 135 sustainability performance measurements in three main areas: education and awareness; operations; and planning, administration, and engagement. Participating institutions can receive a STARS platinum, gold, silver, or bronze certification. Iowa State University completed its first STARS certification in 2013 and received gold.

College Sustainability Report Card

One of the most popular grading reports for colleges and universities is the College Sustainability Report Card. The College Sustainability Report Card is a self-reporting based system sponsored by the Sustainable Endowments Institute that compiles sustainability information from hundreds of colleges and universities in all 50 U.S. States and Canada and grades their "green" progress.

This evaluation combines information from 43 indicators (including everything from sustainability staff and student organizations to renewable energy purchases and local food use) in nine major sustainability categories, to determine an overall grade.

The intent of the report card is to encourage universities to strive to their highest level of sustainability and energy conservation through learning from each other, being challenged by one another, and celebrating the green accomplishments of all students, faculty and staff.

Iowa State University's current grade: B.  Previous report card grades for ISU are:  B- in 2010, and C in 2009 and 2008.

In 2012, the Sustainable Endowments Institute suspended the College Sustainability Report Card, therefore, no additional grades for Iowa State University are available.


National Wildlife Federation 

The National Wildlife Federation has also published "A National Report Card on Sustainability in Higher Education" on two different occasions. The study, conducted along with the Princeton Survey Research Associations International, reviews environmental performance at 1,068 institutions. The first study was conducted in 2001 and the following in 2008. This survey evaluates trends and new developments over extended periods of time and recognizes colleges and universities for exemplary efforts. These grades are based on collective, national performance on environmental literacy, energy, water, transportation, landscaping, waste reduction and more.

In the report from 2008, Iowa State was recognized as:

  • An Exemplary School for On-Campus Clean Energy Sources and Cogeneration
  • An Exemplary School for Recycling More than 80% of Total Municipal Waste Generated
  • A School Committed to doing more with Energy Efficiency, Conservation and Renewable Energy
  • A School Committed to do more with Recycling, Solid Waste and Materials Flow