University celebrates achievements in sustainability


Collegian | Grant Coursey

Stacey Baumgarn, Tonie Miyamoto, Mary Liang, Nik Olsen, Fran Letts and Carol Dollard of Colorado State University’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System team was recognized for CSU’s fourth straight Platinum STARS rating in a row April 18.

Grant Coursey, Staff Reporter

The Colorado State University President’s Sustainability Commission celebrated CSU’s commitment to the environment at their Sustainability Recognition and Milestones Event Tuesday, April 18 in the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building.

The PSC is an organization that pulls members from across campus to provide a variety of perspectives on sustainability for the CSU president and executive leadership team encompassing economics, social justice and the environment.


The organization works to connect sustainability efforts across campus, advise and lead university-wide sustainability initiatives and empower students, faculty and staff to pursue new initiatives to advance sustainability.

Tuesday’s event recognized and celebrated numerous individuals, groups, labs and programs for their achievements in sustainable practices at CSU over the past year. However, with how sustainable the campus is, the co-chair of the PSC Carol Dollard said it can be difficult to choose who to celebrate.

“We can’t pick a favorite child — we are going to be proud of all of them,” Dollard said. “(But) you sort of have to put the reins on. We can’t celebrate everything because everybody is doing great stuff, but not everybody gets around to submitting (for) the award.”

The most notable celebration of the event was CSU’s fourth Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System platinum rating.

STARS is administered by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and boasts more than 1,100 universities registered with the programs.

CSU was the first university in the world to receive a platinum STARS rating  the highest rating possible and, as of 2022, is the only university to receive four platinum ratings. CSU is now joined by other prestigious universities like Stanford University, Cornell University and University of California, Berkeley in the platinum rankings, Dollard said.

“I always say it’s great when Stanford is catching up to you,” Dollard said.

The awards given to those recognized at Tuesday’s event were bamboo seed planters. Living awards that grow herbs were chosen as a more sustainable option to traditional paper certificates after previous awardees expressed concern at the lack of sustainability of the paper certificates, co-chair of the PSC Tonie Miyamoto said.

Miyamoto joked that she and Dollard would be dropping into awardees’ offices to make sure they were upholding the “living” part of the awards.


The PSC recognized projects and initiatives started by faculty and staff from across campus.

The College of Business made an especially strong showing with several achievements in the past year, one of which was the development of a program to incentivize College of Business faculty to ride their bikes or public transportation to campus in exchange for gift cards to local businesses.

While faculty and staff programs were the majority of those who received recognition for their achievements in sustainability, students also made a showing.

One student-run program was a residence hall eco-leader-organized-and-run compostable paper towel program, which was piloted in Allison Hall restrooms in spring 2022 and has now grown to over 150 vents on campus to compost paper towels.

Another student-run program involved the replacement of traditional sod lawns with more sustainable, environmentally friendly clover lawns in the Fort Collins area.

If faculty or staff would like to nominate a program, group or individual for next year’s sustainability recognition and milestones event, the link to do so can be found on the CSU President’s Sustainability Commission website.

Reach Grant Coursey at or on Twitter @GrantCoursey.