UCLA has received a Gold rating through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) spearheaded by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), an organization of international sustainability specialists. STARS tracks the environmental stewardship of universities and colleges from around the world. UCLA earned the recognition for campus-wide sustainability efforts in multiple areas, including transportation.
Over 1,000 higher education institutions across the globe are registered in the STARS program. For the accreditation, UCLA had to report on achievements in the environmental, social, and economic aspects of academics and research, campus and public engagement, operations, and planning and administration.
UCLA's gold rating solidifies its status as one of the nation's most sustainable universities. UCLA Transportation helped the University earn the accreditation through its alternative fuel fleet, sustainable transportation programs, and bicycle infrastructure and amenities.
The University's green fleet keeps growing, with 62% of the current inventory using alternative fuel, and an estimated 42.5 metric tons of CO2 are saved each year due to electric vehicles. The University is on track to have a completely carbon neutral fleet by 2025.
More than 63% of all commuters travel to UCLA by some form of sustainable transportation, including public transit, carpool, bicycling, and walking. The overall employee drive-alone rate has continued to drop, hitting below 50% two years in a row.
A new Active Transportation Plan outlines initiatives to become a more walk and bike supportive campus. Recommendations in the plan improve health, livability, and safety at UCLA.
The plan already has one success: the League of American Bicyclists awarded UCLA the Gold Bicycle Friendly University designation for enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus. The prestigious honor from the oldest national advocacy organization for cyclists places UCLA in the top 15% of the national rankings.
Other examples of sustainable practices that contributed to UCLA’s STARS Gold rating include: campus researchers helping develop L.A. County’s first sustainability plan, expanding zero waste efforts, publishing a sustainability cookbook from the dining hall chefs, establishing a new state-funded California conservation genomics initiative, and launching an environment and sustainability Ph.D. program.