The Charger Blog

University of New Haven Earns Bronze Rating for Sustainability Efforts

The University’s diverse green initiatives have been recognized by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and students and staff members are continuing to work together to minimize the University’s impact on the planet.

December 13, 2019

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image ofLaura Miller and Sodexo
Laura Miller and Sodexo worked together to provide students with information about composting.

The University of New Haven has earned a bronze rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The organization’s sustainability tracking and reporting system (STARS) assessment tool measures sustainability efforts on campus across academics, community engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

Image ofLaura Miller and Charlie
Laura Miller and Charlie gave free reusable bags to students moving into residence halls.

AASHE’s STARS assessment, which has rated more than 500 colleges and universities, is the most widely recognized system for examining sustainability. The results are also connected to The Princeton Review’s Green Colleges rating.

“This is an important distinction that recognizes the efforts of everyone across the University community to promote a culture of sustainability,” said Laura Miller, the University’s director of energy and sustainability, who, over the course of a year, compiled the information from more than 30 stakeholders, helping to earn the bronze rating.

Soon after beginning her position in March 2018, Miller made one of her primary goals the completion of the STARS assessment as a way to track current progress and to guide future efforts by using the results as a sustainability action plan.

"We can all play an important role in ensuring individually and as a University community that we are doing everything we can to protect and preserve the environment."Laura Miller

Since completing the report, the University has continued to show progress. Some of its recent efforts include beginning a composting program to divert organic waste from the campus municipal waste stream in the dining halls; establishing a working relationship with Haven’s Harvest, a New Haven-based nonprofit organization that collects leftover food from the dining halls and donates it to local community organizations; and developing the Class of 2023 common theme experience that is focusing on addressing the impact of plastics. In addition, the University is seeking a LEED Gold certification for the Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation, which will open in 2020.

Image of Magnets
Informational recycling magnets were distributed on campus.

The University also provides incoming students with reusable bags, reusable Tupperware containers, and LED lightbulbs when they move into the residence halls.

Informational recycling magnets were distributed to all on-campus students, faculty, and staff to increase rates of recycling, and the University participated in RecycleMania, a nationwide recycling contest, for the first time. Students have also created a sustainability club that is working to raise awareness of sustainability topics such as recycling, plastic reduction, and food waste.

In two years, the University will reassess its progress and aims to further improve its rating.

“We can all play an important role,” says Miller, “in ensuring individually and as a University community that we are doing everything we can to protect and preserve the environment.”

For more information on campus sustainability efforts, please visit or follow @unewhavensustainability on Instagram.