Ratings & Rankings

Measuring UofL's progress in sustainability and how we compare to other institutions.

STARS Charter Participant


The primary tool used by the University of Louisville to measure our progress in sustainability is the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) framework developed by AASHE (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education). As a Charter Participant in STARS, UofL was the first school in the region -- and the 10th in the nation -- to achieve a STARS rating; UofL was the first school in Kentucky to achieve a STARS Gold rating; and we have always enjoyed the highest STARS rating in Kentucky (though, in June 2017, we were delighted to see that Berea College achieved an equal rating). Check out the map of STARS schools.

As part of our university-wide strategic plan, UofL seeks to progressively improve our overall STARS rating and our score across all sections of the framework. We are staying true to that goal.

UofL wins gold in sustainability (UofL News, March 4, 2016)
University of Louisville Wins Gold In Global Sustainability Standard
(WFPL 89.3fm, March 5, 2016)
UofL notches a higher sustainability score (Courier-Journal, March 7, 2016)
UofL achieves STARS Gold sustainability rating (The Louisville Cardinal, March 20, 2016)
AUDIO: Justin Mog discusses UofL's Gold rating for sustainability - highest among Kentucky schools (starts 10:00) (UofL Today with Mark Hebert, 93.9 FM The Ville, April 18, 2016) Video.

UofL reached a major milestone in our on-going efforts to advance sustainability by achieving a new STARS Gold rating (65.19%)STARS Gold on February 13, 2016. This represents a 6.9 point increase from our February 2013 STARS Silver rating (58.29%), and a significant improvement from our first rating in January 2011 of STARS Silver (50.11%). Our 2016 rating documents that, on top of what we were already doing well, we’ve seen significant improvement in many areas and we are doing some truly innovative things to advance sustainability. We earned four new Innovation Credits for our initiatives around:

  1. Nutrition Navigators and the UofL SmartPlate;
  2. Supporting Diversity with a preferred name option for class/grade rosters, ID cards, and online learning;
  3. Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy; and
  4. Beargrass Falls Environmental Park.

We also saw noteworthy progress in:

The following table summarizes our progress:

& Admin.

View the full details of UofL's 2016 STARS report here.

As the report makes clear, there is important work before us to not only maintain our standing, but to push ahead towards STARS Platinum (at 85%). For instance, we would do well to continue working on:

Anyone can view finalized STARS reports from individual schools online without creating an AASHE Account. There are some additional, very useful features within the STARS Dashboard for doing research into STARS reports (particularly the Content Display function which allows you to filter down to specific credits and/or particular types of schools, etc.) that you can only access with an AASHE Account, which is available to all UofL employees and students through our institutional AASHE membership. (It’s also worth noting that with such an account you can also access all of the great materials, reports, discussion groups, etc. available in AASHE’s Resource Center). Here's how:

Step 1: If you do not have an AASHE Account, UofL students and employees may create one here (simply using your @louisville.edu email address).

Step 2: To access the full range of features on the STARS Dashboard, log-in using your email address and password associated with your AASHE Account. If you have lost or forgotten your AASHE password, you may re-set it here.

See Video and Photos of our 2011 STARS press conference, and the following stories:
UofL's sustainability efforts rank silver, gold (UofL Today)
University of Louisville earns 'silver' sustainability rating (The Courier-Journal)
U of L recognized for achievements in going green (WHAS-TV)
UofL gets recognition for green efforts (WAVE 3 TV)

  • UofL has achieved Tree Campus USA status from the Arbor Day Foundation for every year since 2010.
  • In November 2017, UofL received official designation from the League of American Bicyclists as a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University. The designation is valid for four years 2017-2021.
    This marked the second time UofL achieved such a designation. In 2013, UofL was named the most bicycle-friendly university in Kentucky, as the first in the Commonwealth to achieve a Silver rating in the League's Bicycle Friendly University program!
    As of Fall 2017, there were a total of 182 Bicycle Friendly Universities in 45 states, including five in Kentucky:
    1. University of Louisville - Silver (renewed Fall 2017)
    2. University of Kentucky - Silver (as of Fall 2014)
    3. Morehead State University - Silver (as of Fall 2016)
    4. Transylvania University - Bronze (as of Fall 2015)
    5. Western Kentucky University - Bronze (as of Fall 2013)
  • In Spring 2015, Purposeful Networks (formerly known as myActions) recognized University of Louisville with a Gold Level Student Actions Award. UofL was one of only seven gold-level schools out of 125 recognized nationwide. This recognition was the result of considerable effort on the part of UofL students to take and log a wide variety of sustainability actions on campus, from eating local to turning off lights to volunteering in the community. In Fall 2014, UofL received a nationally recognized sustainability award from myActions.org for “green and compassionate student actions.” The Student Actions Award recognized undergraduate schools for student leadership and progress, as well as the impact of green and healthy activities. See: UofL recognized as “green and compassionate” (The Louisville Cardinal, March 30, 2015)
  • In October 2014, UofL won the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education AASHE Award for Best Case Study from a Four-Year or Graduate Institution with More Than 10,000 Full-Time Students for the Earn-A-Bike Program. The award was received before an audience of thousands at AASHE’s 2014 national conference in Portland, OR where the case study was presented.
  • In September 2014, the Sustainability Council's EcoReps Program received the 2014 Multimedia MVP2 (Most-Valuable Pollution Prevention) Award for best video series with a Major Impact on Preventing Pollution from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.
  • In 2014 and 2015, UofL won the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from Insight into Diversity magazine. The award recognizes colleges that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to building a diverse and inclusive environment. UofL wins diversity award for second consecutive year (UofL Today, Sept. 28, 2015)
  • In September 2013, UofL received the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection’s 2013 Resource Caretaker Award at the 37th Governor’s Conference on Energy & the Environment in Lexington, KY.

Other Sustainability Rankings

UofL also participates in other surveys which give schools relative rankings in environmental performance or sustainability, such as:

  • Sierra Club's "Cool Schools" Rankings:
    2018: UofL slipped to #104 (out of 268) in Sierra Club's 2018 Coll Schools list with an overall score of 63.22 (out of 100). UofL ranked just below Berea College (101st with 63.69), but maintained our ranking as the "Coolest" Public School in Kentucky (WKU is 150th; EKU is 244th).
    2017: UofL ranked #51 (out of 229) in Sierra Club's 2017 Cool Schools list. With a total score of 607.77 (out of a possible 1000), UofL continues to be ranked above any other school in Kentucky (WKU was 56th; Berea was 91st).
    UofL increased our ranking to #43 in Sierra Club’s 2016 Cool Schools list. With a total score of 622.30 (out of a possible 1000), UofL was the highest ranked school in Kentucky on the list of 201 institutions nationwide!
    UofL increased its ranking to #73 in Sierra Club’s 2015 Cool Schools list, and was the only school in Kentucky to make the list of 153 institutions nationwide.
    UofL ranked #74 in Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and was the only Kentucky school to make the list of 173 institutions nationwide.
    UofL continued to make significant progress in sustainability across the board, as demonstrated by the fact that our overall score jumped in the 2013 Cool Schools rankings  from 510.89 (out of a possible 1000) in 2012 to 625.74 in 2013. We improved our score by nearly 11.5%. UofL continued to hold the top position in the state, ranking 53rd out of 162 schools nationally.
    2012: UofL was the only Kentucky school included in the 2012 Sierra Club Cool Schools Rankings, and UofL was named among 50 greenest U.S. schools, ranking 48th out of 96. See UofL's 2012 Survey Response. Read more.
    In 2011, UofL increased its ranking to #41 out of 118, up from #61 in 2010 and #92 in 2009, and the top school in Kentucky for 2011 (Sierra magazine, Sept/Oct 2011).
  • Affordable Eco-Friendly College:
    Best Choice Schools
    named UofL #38 in its ranking of the Top 50 Great Affordable Eco-Friendly Colleges.
  • Voter Friendly Campus:
    UofL has earned voter-friendly campus status for 2019-2020 and 2017-2018. As part of Campus Vote Project and NASPA’s “Voter Friendly Campus” program, this designation is given to campuses that show commitment to ensuring students have the information and tools they need to register and vote.
  • LGBTQ-Friendly University:
    In 2017, was named among America’s “Best of the Best” LGBTQ-friendly universities for the third year. UofL earned five out of five stars in the Campus Pride Index, prepared by a national nonprofit organization that rates colleges and universities according to their support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. UofL is the only public institution in the south to be recognized by the organization. In order to be in the Top 25 listing, an institution had to score the highest percentages in the LGBTQ-friendly benchmarks for policies, programs and practices. The Campus Pride Index is designed to help campuses learn ways to improve their LGBT campus life and shape the educational experience to be more inclusive, welcoming and respectful. It also provides students a tool for finding inclusive schools.
  • Healthiest College:
    In 2015, UofL was named one of the Top 25 Healthiest Colleges in U.S. by the healthy living website, Greatist.com.
  • Great College for Cycling:
    In December 2013, UofL was named 1 of 9 Great Colleges for Cyclists by Bicycling Magazine.
  • The Sustainable Endowment Institute's annual College Sustainability Report Card. (suspended 2011)
  • The Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges:
    Having first appeared in the 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 editions, UofL is featured in thePrinceton Review’s 2018 Guide to 399 Green Colleges, with a Green Rating of 88 out of 99. This represents a slight decrease in our rating of 93 in 2017. Two other Kentucky schools are featured in the 2018 Guide: Berea College and Western Kentucky University.

    2018 Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges - UofL Listing