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Press Release

Cal Poly Earns STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements

View of the Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics

Contact: Chad Worth
805-756-5163; [email protected]

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly has earned a STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in recognition of its sustainability achievements.

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. Cal Poly adopted the AASHE STARS in March 2016 as a framework for implementation, measurement and improvement of sustainable practices.

With a score of 75.14% in 2023, Cal Poly is now the third highest-ranked campus in the 23-campus California State University system. The score marks a significant improvement over Cal Poly’s 70.16% score in 2019. The report is completed every three years.

“Cal Poly is committed to leadership in sustainability in both the academic and operations side of campus,” said Chad Worth, Energy and Sustainability manager at Cal Poly.

Since 2019, the university has made significant progress, including:

  • Integrating sustainability strategies throughout the 2035 Campus Master Plan.
  • Completing a comprehensive Utility Master Plan (with a strong focus on carbon reduction and electrification strategies).
  • Updating the campus Climate Action Plan to accelerate the path to carbon neutrality.
  • Updating greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory showing campus has reduced total GHG’s from buildings and transportation by more than 14% since 1990 (despite campus more than doubling its building square footage and on-campus residency over that time).
  • Completing a 430-kilowatt solar power system at the yakʔitʸutʸu student housing complex.
  • Creating a High-Performance Buildings policy to guide design and construction of low-carbon, life-cycle optimized facilities using the LEED certification framework.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Cal Poly has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for transparently and publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

“We are very proud to have achieved a STARS rating for our sustainability accomplishments,” Cal Poly Sustainability Coordinator Kylee Singh said. “We look forward to watching our sustainability efforts grow and improve through the STARS program.”

Cal Poly’s STARS report is available on the university’s website.

About Cal Poly
Founded in 1901 and part of the renowned California State University system since 1960, Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive polytechnic public university located in San Luis Obispo, California. Known for its Learn by Doing approach, small class sizes and open access to expert faculty, Cal Poly is a distinctive learning community whose 21,000 academically motivated students enjoy an unrivaled hands-on educational experience that prepares them to lead successful personal and professional lives.

AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation.  It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit

For more information about the STARS program, visit

Photo caption
The Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics was certified in 2015 as LEED Gold. The building is 188,372 square feet, the second largest structure on the Cal Poly campus. It opened to classes in 2013. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the world's most widely used green building rating system.

Cal Poly Photo