Stars 2017


Macalester earned a Gold rating for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education  (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Reporting System (STARS). STARS is a self-reporting system that allows colleges and universities to track their sustainability performance, and the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance, with institutions reporting sustainability performance in these four overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, and planning & administration. AASHE certifies institutions based on their sustainability performance. There are four ratings available: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Macalester had the 5th rating out of our peer schools and one of the only eight out of those schools that received a gold rating.

Campus Sustainability Day

Join the Sustainability Office on Wednesday, September 13th, as we celebrate Campus Sustainability Day! We will be holding a table fair on Old Main Lawn with info about sustainability at Macalester and in the Twin Cities, a Free Swap table, and a waste sort game with the chance to earn prizes. We will also be leading several tours throughout the day. Check out the schedule below:

11am-2pm: Campus Sustainability Day Fair at Old Main Lawn
12:30: Bike Tour, meet at the tables on Old Main Lawn
1:30: Transit trip to Nelson’s, meet at the tables on Old Main Lawn
4:30: Campus Sustainability Tour, meet at Markim Hall
5:30: MULCH garden tour and harvest, meet at the MULCH garden
All Day: Sustainability sourced food at Cafe Mac
All Day: Self-guided tours of Markim Hall, A LEED certified building



As a UN Observer, Macalester sent delegates to COP22.  The Sustainability Office partnered with this student attendees to create the COP22 Blog.

Pollinator Friendly Campus

In April 2016, Macalester College became the first pollinator-friendly college in Minnesota. Student Emily Sylvevstre ’16 worked with Facilities Services staff and proposed a resolution to Macalester College Student Government and the Sustainability Advisory Committee. The college has adopted the resolution and committed to discontinuing the use of the neonicotinoid pesticides, creating pollinator-friendly habitats on campus, and educating both Macalester and the broader community about pollinators. Recently, Macalester has brought honey bee colonies to Ordway Field Station to educate the community about bees and to support the imperiled bee population.


The press release from Center for Food Safety provides more information on the value of pollinators. Emily Sylvestre also wrote a piece on pollinator decline and her experience working with bees for the Mac Weekly.


August 4, 2014

Macalester College receives a STARS Gold Rating in recognition of their sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).  STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, is a program of AASHE that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.  Participants report achievements in three overall areas:  1) education & research, 2) operations, and 3) planning, administration & engagement.

According to AASHE, as of July 2014, Macalester College was part of the 21.6% of schools who received Gold. 49.0% of schools received Silver, 21.9% received Bronze, and 7.3% received reporter status.

Categories that Macalester excelled in were Campus Engagement, Coordination, Planning & Governance, Grounds, and Diversity & Affordability. Other categories that have room for improvement are Investment, Energy, Buildings, and Dining Services.

About AASHE:  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 and the STARS program, visit www.aashe.org.


August 13, 2012
Macalester College Sustainability Office Announces Monthly Themes – The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as the Rio+20 Conference, was held from June 20-22, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It marked the 20th anniversary of the original 1992 Rio Earth Summit that framed the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) through the Agenda 21 outcome document. The Macalester College Sustainability Office will be using the critical issues identified by the United Nations Rio + 20 event as the office monthly themes for the 2012-2013 academic year. This year’s themes will be:

  • September – Cities
  • October – Food
  • November – Water/Oceans
  • December – Disasters
  • February – Energy
  • March – Waste*
  • April – Jobs

*Waste is the only non-UN critical issue.

July 19, 2012
Carleton College Sustainability Tour – On Wednesday the 11th of July, the Macalester Sustainability Office joined the sustainability office staff of St. John’s and St. Ben’s for a campus sustainability tour of Carleton College.

The tour kicked off with a visit to the Carleton wind turbines. Carleton College owns and operates two separate wind turbines. The newer one is connected directly to Carleton’s energy grid and is able to generate one-third of Carleton’s total energy alone, reducing their carbon footprint by about 10 percent.  The location of the turbine was chosen due to its superior wind strength and elevation, close proximity to campus, and minimal impact on nearby homes, local ecology, and public recreation areas.

The next stop was the Student Organic Farm, which is a small 1.5 acre farm that uses organic techniques. Students grow a wide variety of plants there, and the produce is sold to the dining halls. We also stopped by the ‘Eat the Lawn’ garden within Carleton’s main grounds. This ‘edible estate’ has a wide variety of vegetables free to anyone who walks past for picking and eating. Finally, the group caught a glimpse of Carleton’s own sustainability office, including how they managed their work-flow (which was very helpful indeed!).

Understanding how other sustainability offices promote their work, as well as the difficulties that the face in implementing their individual sustainability plans, helps form community and build upon the strong foundations that each school has at the individual level. It was a very successful day, and there are plans for future tours.

July 12, 2012
Macalester Permanently Protects Open Space Along the Mississippi River – In partnership with Dakota County, the city of Inver Grove Heights and the Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR), Macalester College has permanently protected 150 acres of the Katharine Ordway Natural History Study Area (Ordway Field Station) along the Mississippi River in Inver Grove Heights. read more»

June 21, 2012
World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities – On June 5 and 6, 2012, representatives from schools in 26 countries came together in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to discuss sustainability in institutions of higher education.  The event, the“World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities” (WSSD-U-2012), was an official parallel conference to the larger Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.  Macalester College sent two representatives to attend the WSSD-U-2012 – Sustainability Manager Suzanne Savanick Hansen and student Maria Langholz.

April 18, 2012
On April 18, 2012, President Brian Rosenberg signed the “Commitment to Sustainable Practices of Higher Education Institutions on the Occasion of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.” The UN Conference on Sustainable Development will be held on June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. This Declaration expressly connects Macalester’s history of internationalism with our strong commitment to sustainability. The college already developed a comprehensive Sustainability Plan with education and oeprations goals, but this commitment requires us to share our information with international frameworks, like the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The Sustainability Advisory Committee will track progress on our goals.


November 7, 2011
Prof. Christie Manning Receives 2011 Macalester Sustainability Award for Curricular Innovation -The Education in the Classroom Task Force of the Macalester Sustainability Committee is pleased to announce that Christie Manning, Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, received the 2011 Macalester Sustainability Award for Curricular Innovation. The task force unanimously selected Professor Manning for the award, which is presented to a faculty member whose curricular innovation “has most effectively influenced the way his or her students think about sustainability.” Nominators discussed the multiple ways in which Professor Manning’s ENVI 270: Psychology of Sustainable Behavior exemplifed the award. In addition to the honor of this recognition, Professor Manning will receive $1,000 from funds donated by Alfred N. Page.

July 21, 2011
Minnesota’s Private Colleges July Newsletter article “From Chickens to Wind Turbines” – Macalester’s student group MULCH is featured.

July 19, 2011
Macalester College Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements – Macalester College has received a STARS Silver Rating in recognition of their sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a new program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall areas: 1) education & research, 2) operations, and 3) planning, administration & engagement. See our STARS survey.

Thank you to all the staff who helped collect the large amount of data we needed for this survey.  A very special thank you to students Christian Bangert, Jenny Liu, and Rayanatou Laouali for the hours they spent tracking down STARS information over this past year.

March 16, 2011
Nice Ride (bike share) is coming to Macalester in the spring.  The High Winds Fund is sponsoring the station across the street from Patagonia.  When it’s up and running, Macalester students could rent a bike from Nice Ride, ride to Minneapolis, and then return it there.  It will be a beneift to students, staff and the community.


October 9, 2009
Macalester Receives Minnesota Waste Wise Leader Award  – Macalester College received a Minnesota Waste Wise Leader Award in recognition of the MacFreeSwap, Food Waste as Pig Food, and Move-out Waste Reduction Program, among other sustainability programs. The Minnesota Waste Wise Leader Award is given to Minnesota businesses who have shown true leadership in sustainable business practices including waste reduction, recycling, energy efficiency, purchasing, and employee involvement. More at www.mnwastewise.org.

October 7, 2009
Macalester Receives Highest Grade from the College Sustainability Report Card 2010 – Macalester has received an overall grade of “A-” for its commitment to sustainability, placing it among the top 26 schools nationally and in Canada.

August 17, 2009
Macalester Fieldhouse Reconstructed as Horsebarn – The Leonard Center stands on the site of the former fieldhouse, circa 1954.  As part of Macalester’s commitment to sustainability, Macalester set two goals for the demolition of the old building:  minimize materials sent to a landfill and preserve and repurpose as much of the building as possible.

August 11, 2009
Macalester students Timothy Den Herder-Thomas and Matt Kazinka are featured in a Grist article about the Summer of Solutions program. read more

July 7, 2009
Macalester Students Top 5 in Staples Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition


April 16, 2008
Macalester is 2008 Sustainable Saint Paul Award Winner

January 21, 2008
“Sustainability is Everyone’s Job, But Some Get Paid For It” –  Minneapolis StarTribune,

January 18, 2008
“Reading, Writing, and Being Green” – Minneapolis StarTribune


October 5, 2007

Macalester’s eco-house is both student housing and lab.  Listen to the story on Minnesota Public Radio