Certifications & Rankings

Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) STARS – Silver Rating (2017)

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS is intended to engage and recognize the full spectrum of higher education institutions, from community colleges to research universities. It encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions, as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability. The University of Florida received a Silver Rating for its most recent submission in June 2017, and the Office of Sustainability is currently in the process of collecting data for its 2019 STARS submission.

Select a link below to view UF’s STARS reports:


Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary

The University of Florida is designated as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP), an Audubon International program. The ACSP is an education and certification program that helps organizations and businesses protect our environment while enhancing their bottom line.

UF was one of the first universities certified for the entire campus, thanks to efforts spearheaded by then-VP of Business Affairs Paula Fussell in 2005. UF is currently one of just 32 properties currently certified.  Of those 32 properties, only four are college or university campuses (American University, Kishwaukee College, Niagra College Canada, University of Florida). https://www.auduboninternational.org/acsp-certified. The Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf is more widely known, and several universities have certified golf courses, including the University of Michigan, Eastern Kentucky University, and the University of Maryland.

In May 2017, UF was recertified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary through a cross-disciplinary effort including representatives from multiple departments at Facilities Services; Planning, Design and Construction; the Office of Sustainability; Business Affairs; and Faculty from Agronomy, Entomology, and the School of Forest Resources & Conservation. Recertification consisted of revisiting UF’s efforts in the areas of Environmental Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Water, Resource Management (including energy conservation, waste management, and pest management) and Outreach and Education. Additionally, UF identified goals to continue working on moving forward, including developing an ongoing inventory of birds and mammals, and increasing outreach and education efforts such as Green and Clean events. A report including an overview of UF’s current efforts was submitted to Audubon International for review, and UF received confirmation of recertification in May 2017.


Tree Campus USA Designation

Tree Campus USA is a program through the Arbor Day Foundation (www.arborday.org/programs/treecampususa) that helps colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy community forests. UF was first certified as a Tree Campus USA in 2013 thanks to the efforts of dedicated students in Student Government in coordination with the Office of Sustainability. Since then, the Office of Sustainability has managed the re-certification process, working with Grounds, LVL, and other campus groups. UF is one of 13 campuses in Florida, and 344 campus nationwide (46 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico) to be certified as a Tree Campus USA. The City of Gainesville is certified as a Tree City USA and has received that recognition for 34 years. To quality, a campus must meet five standards developed to promote healthy trees and student involvement:

Standard 1 – Campus Tree Advisory Committee

  • The Lakes, Vegetation and Landscaping (LVL) Committee (http://www.facilities.ufl.edu/committees/lvl.html), among its many responsibilities, provides recommendations concerning enforcement of policies regarding the removal of trees and other vegetation. The committee consists of six faculty members plus one student member and has numerous staff and faculty liaisons. This committee meets the requirements of Standard 1.

Standard 2 – Campus Tree Care Plan

  • Developed in 2013 and based on existing construction standards and the charge of the Lakes, Vegetation and Landscaping Committee, the Campus Tree Care Plan helps guide actions related to trees on campus.

Standard 3 – Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures

  • The UF Facilities Services Grounds Department is tasked with campus-wide tree care, in addition to the rest of their responsibilities providing a campus that is safe, pleasant and supportive of academic pursuits.

Standard 4 – Arbor Day Observance

  • UF includes recognition of Arbor Day with its Campus Earth Day Celebration, held in April each year.

Standard 5 – Service Learning Project

  • The Office of Sustainability has started hosting at least one conservation area clean-up event (Green & Clean) each semester in order to educate students as well as faculty, staff and community members about conservation areas on campus and to provide a hands-on opportunity for volunteers to remove litter, recyclables and invasive plants from those areas.

Bike Friendly University – Silver Rating (2016)

The Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors. The BFU program provides the roadmap and technical assistance to create great campuses for cycling. The Bicycle Friendly University program evaluates applicants’ efforts to promote bicycling in five primary areas: engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement and evaluation/planning, known as the Five E’s. UF achieved a Silver-Level Rating with its first BFU submission in 2016.