New York University has renewed its Gold rating through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). NYU is a charter participant, having first submitted to STARS in 2011.

Gold seal that reads: Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Gold. A program of aashe.

With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. STARS reports on five categories: academics, engagement, operations, planning & administration, and innovation and leadership. STARS is a transparent and self-reporting assessment accessible to any institution.

In order to challenge institutions to continually push the envelope, STARS is an evolving assessment and gets more difficult with each version. The most recent versions (v2.0 and later) added additional sustainability categories and set more aggressive targets. Because the STARS rating system has become more stringent over time, NYU’s score improvement since 2011 and maintaining our Gold status reflects the significant strides we have made over the past decade. NYU has ranked within the top 30% of the 323 certified institutions.

Score Highlights


  • Green Commuters: NYU’s Transportation score is the 4th best of the 323 certified institutions, due to the number of NYU community members who take public transportation or walk to campus in addition to NYU’s numerous transportation programs, such as the shuttle bus system.
  • Conscious Consumers: NYU’s impressive performance in Purchasing (in the 83rd percentile) is due to our Green Cleaning Policy, IT purchasing policies, and Supplier Diversity Initiative.
  • Green Thumb: NYU achieved all available points on the Landscape Management credit due to NYU’s organic land care standards maintained on its 11 acres of managed grounds.


  • NYU obtained close to 85% of the available points in the Diversity & Affordability subcategory. This is due, in large part, to the many programs run by the Office of Global Inclusion (including the Being@NYU survey and resulting actions) and NYU’s Affordability initiatives. NYU performed better than 80% of institutions on the credit Affordability and Access, which awards points for policies and programs that make NYU more affordable and accessible and support non-traditional students. It also awards points for the relative proportion and graduation rate for students from low-income backgrounds.
  • NYU achieved significant points in Campus Engagement due to the numerous programs focused on orienting new staff and students to sustainability initiatives on campus.
  • NYU captured the majority of points in the Public Engagement category and scored better than 81% of schools due to the array of sustainability networks we participate in including the NYC Carbon Challenge, Urban Green Council, and Menus of Change. We also gained points in this category for NYU’s role in advocating for sustainability advancement in local and state policy.


  • NYU scored high (79%) in the category of sustainability research conducted on its campuses, encompassing a wide array of multidisciplinary projects, including:
    • Using data science and machine learning to identify patterns in NYC building energy use at the Tandon School of Engineering Center for Data Science;
    • Researching the availability and impacts of drinking water fountains in NYC public schools through a joint project with the Steinhardt and Wagner schools; and
    • Studying relational perspectives on environmental justice.

These statistics are based on available data as of April 16, 2020.

Learn more by reading our press release.