Colorado State University ranked top university in US for sustainability



Colorado State University’s sustainability efforts have been recognized with a record third platinum rating — and the highest overall sustainability score out of all United States universities.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education awarded CSU a platinum rating under its Sustainable Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, CSU announced this week. 

The program measures sustainability efforts at 990 universities internationally. 

CSU received the highest score of any university in the United States, and the university scored higher than its last score in 2017, according to CSU. Receiving its first platinum rating in 2015 — the first university in the world to do so — and second in 2017, CSU is the only university in the rankings to receive a platinum ranking three consecutive times.

This year, CSU shared the platinum ranking with Stanford University, Thompson Rivers University in Canada, University of New Hampshire, and the University of California, Irvine. 


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“Sustainability is a true community effort, and we at CSU take sustainability as a point of pride in everything we do,” CSU President Joyce McConnell said in a news release. “I want to thank everyone at Colorado State who had a hand in helping our institution reach this impressive benchmark, and I also ask that everyone keep working.”

 CSU announced multiple things it has done since 2017 to become more sustainable:

  • The university added more than 335,000 square feet of new LEED platinum- or gold-certified classrooms, research spaces and offices.
  • The League of American Bicyclists named CSU a platinum-level community again in 2019. 
  • CSU created the Ram Food Recovery Program, which safely redistributes food, addressing food insecurity and waste on campus. 
  • A student’s idea led to the creation of several apiaries and pollinator-friendly gardens on campus. CSU received recognition from Bee Campus USA in 2018.
  • 18 solar installations now generate over 10 million kilowatts of electricity on campus annually. 
  • Nearly 50% of all tenure and tenure-track faculty conducting research are engaged in sustainability research.
  • 80% of all campus academic departments have at least one faculty or staff member conducting sustainability research. 
  • In 2019, Facilities Management and Housing & Dining Services respectively offset 20% and 100% of its electricity use, bringing the campus total to 13.5%. CSU’s goal is to use 100% renewable electricity by 2030. 

“Sustainability is not a plateau where we can say ‘we’ve done enough,’ ” McConnell said in the news release. “There are areas where we can improve and become an even more sustainable place to learn and discover.”

Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at

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