Environmental Sustainability Performance

JMU's Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World (ISNW) uses a working definition of sustainability that is adapted from the Federal Register (2009): To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social and economic requirements of present and future generations. The ISNW recognizes the natural world’s intrinsic value and uses a systems framework. Accordingly, we are committed to contributing, as individuals and as an institution, to the flourshing of nature and humans.

JMU's commitment to sustainability is not housed in one university unit, but is shared across all divisions. JMU’s achievements can be attributed to the past and current efforts of staff, faculty and students in many areas, commonly in collaboration.  Information on JMU’s programs and plans related to the social and economic dimensions of sustainability can be found on numerous JMU websites.  A few examples are


The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS®) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Based on its 2018 STARS Report, JMU earned a STARS Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AASHE “defines sustainability in a pluralistic and inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations. STARS attempts to translate this broad and inclusive view of sustainability to measurable objectives at the campus level.” Thus, STARS includes credits related to an institution’s environmental, social and economic performance, and JMU’s reports address these.


At JMU, we conserve and steward natural resources and minimize materials impacts; promote interdisciplinary research, education, and literacy in sustainability; and, build a sustainable community through partnerships, service, and outreach.

The Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World provides broad sustainability coordination for campus, fosters a culture of sustainability, and promotes opportunities for students and employees to learn and participate. Please visit the following links to learn more about sustainability efforts in other areas at JMU.

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