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UMD recognized in 2020 Sustainable Campus Index

students sits in front of Bagley Outdoor Classroom studying on bench
November 9, 2020

Top performer in research and highlighted for innovation -- UMD is moving sustainability forward. 

The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) has been recognized as a top performer in the 2020 Sustainable Campus Index. A publication from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing sustainable colleges and universities that submitted a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report in the most recent calendar year. 

In the Index, UMD is listed among the top performers in the area of research. Special thanks to Dr. Julie Etterson (Head, Biology Dept.) and Environmental Education graduate student Ashlyn Teather for their meticulous collection of sustainability research efforts, funding, and course data for this category. UMD is also being highlighted for its Pollinator Pledge, a student-led resolution that supports pollinator-friendly practices and native plants in perpetuity, while halting the use of synthetic pesticides. Three students, now alumni, Rachel Hopwood, Michael Purtell, and Dave Herrera, pioneered the passing of a one-page policy that ensures the university continues its commitment to grounds stewardship and pollinator protection despite the turnover of students or staff that support this cause.

"Congratulations to the University of Minnesota Duluth for their incredible work in creating a more sustainable world," said AASHE's Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. "Through the leadership and action of change agents within UMD, I'm encouraged and hopeful that a just and equitable society will soon be realized." 

University of Minnesota Duluth’s most recent  STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website:


The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS was developed by AASHE with broad participation from the higher education community. The credits included in STARS span the breadth of higher education sustainability and are organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. All reports are publicly accessible on the STARS website. For more information, visit


AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world's future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit Follow AASHE on Facebook and Twitter.