Does your research fit the sustainability definition?

Following three gold ratings in the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System), Iowa State will pursue a platinum rating -- STARS' highest -- in this spring's submission.

STARS is an international accreditation program of the Association of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), with reviews every three years. ISU's current gold rating expires in August. Director of sustainability Merry Rankin coordinates Iowa State's submission, but it requires data and supporting information from across campus.

One of those units is the office of the vice president for research (VPR). Associate VPR Jerry Zamzow said this year's submission will require more information than in previous years. In addition, the program has a new definition for sustainability research and scholarship:

Research and scholarship that explicitly addresses the concept of sustainability, furthers our understanding of the interdependence of ecological and social/economic systems, or has a primary and explicit focus on major sustainability challenges.

"We know there are many exciting and important activities and initiatives taking place that meet this standard, and we want to make sure our research efforts are counted. Sustainability is a common thread that binds many of our research efforts, faculty and staff across disciplines and around campus," Zamzow said.

He asked researchers with any work that aligns with the above definition to complete ISU's data collection form by March 15. Those who aren't sure if their work meets the STARS definition are asked to complete the form, and the VPR's office will review it for full or partial compatibility.

Questions may be directed to Zamzow or Rankin.