Sustainability Reports and Awards

CMU is continually reassessing its sustainability efforts and achievements through various internal and external reporting and documentation methods. Externally, we utilize the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS). The AASHE STARS reports provide a comprehensive data tracking system to evaluate our sustainability goals.

STARS is a self-reporting framework for higher education institutions in order to measure and gauge their sustainability performance. It creates incentives for improvement and allows institutions to monitor progress in sustainability. STARS has a Bronze (25 points), Silver (45 points), Gold (65 points) and Platinum Rating (85 points), each which represent different levels of sustainability leadership.

The 2020 STARS report report received a Gold Rating, with a score of 65.1.

The 2017 STARS report report received a Silver Rating, with a score of 51.8. 

Past sustainability reports


2022 First Place Food Organics (Campus Race to Zero Waste)

CMU received high honors in the 2022 Campus Race to Zero Waste thanks to the ongoing efforts by students and staff. CMU won first place for large-sized campuses in the Food Organics category of the competition, which is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. CMU has previously won second place in composting for Campus Race to Zero Waste,

2021 Sustainability Public Education Award (EPA)

For its outreach and education efforts in 2020, CMU received the WasteWise National Narrative award for sustainability public education. This award is based on efforts to educate and engage students on sustainability. The award  was based on the work Central Sustainability had done in 2021 including sustainability walking tours, an Earth Week conference, educational videos and collaborations with the CMU community. 

2021 AASHE Student Sustainability Leadership Award

Teresa Homsi and Eric Urbaniak won the Campus Sustainability Student Leadership Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for their work promoting sustainability at CMU. This work specifically included establishing Central Sustainability and "institutionalizing" sustainability. Read more about this award with CM Life's coverage.

2020 National WasteWise College/University Partner of the Year (EPA)

This award was in recognition of the university's waste diversion and sustainability efforts in 2019. During the height of the pandemic, CMU's diversion rate plummeted, but with considerable work, we were able to increase it back to 38%. This award also notably recognized a project between CMU and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College to implement a food recovery project at the Andahwod Continuing Care Community. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, this project diverted over 6,000 pounds of food waste from landfills. Read more about this award on the EPA's website website or through CM Life's coverage.

2019 and 2020 WasteWise College/University Partner of the Year (EPA)

What initially started as a small student food recovery project in 2010 transformed into zero-waste dining halls that divert approximately 330 tons of food scraps from landfills every year. The university buys back some of the compost from Morgan Composting, completing the cycle. This initiative has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with the 2019 WasteWise College/University Partner of the Year Award for exemplary waste prevention, environmental stewardship and productive (re)use of materials. Although CMU holds other food recovery awards, this is CMU’s first time in the No. 1 national spot in sustainability.

EPA’s Midwest Region Food Recovery Challenge

CMU has received the EPA’s Midwest Region Food Recovery Challenge award every year from 2014 to 2017 for its continual dedication to waste prevention and food recovery. The Food Recovery Challenge and WasteWise are both part of EPA’s Sustainable Management Program, which aims to prioritize using and reusing materials more productively over their entire life cycles.

Sustainable campus highlights

CMU hosts a variety of different spots showcasing different kinds of sustainability on campus, ranging from social, cultural, and environmental. 

Our regular, in-person or virtual, interactive sustainability walking tours feature some of these spots such as the Bovee University Center, the Jack Saunders Marching Band Field, Rowe Hall, Graduate Housing, Warriner mall, and so many more!

As part of our effort to encourage cultural sustainability and preservation, we also created a campus art tour to showcase the creative and oftentimes, unnoticed artwork on CMU’s campus.

During walking tours, we take participants on an adventure all across campus and talk sustainability. We invite you to join us for a walk and learn more about campus resources, coalition-building, environmental justice, art, advocacy, and community health, among a number of other topics. The tour takes about two hours, so make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes, a bottle of water, and a spirited attitude! If you're interested in going on our walking tour, email and ask to be added to the mailing list for walking tour updates.