Johnson County Community College

Awards and Recognitions

Carlsen Center Entrance at Johnson County Community College

JCCC Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements

Johnson County Community College has earned a STARS Silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in recognition of campus sustainability achievements. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. Refer to the JCCC STARS Report on AASHE's website.

With sustainability efforts integrated into curriculum and daily operations, JCCC is committed to being an environmentally, socially and economically responsible institution. JCCC dedicates itself to numerous sustainability projects, including:

  • Composting
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Landscape and biodiversity
  • LEED certified buildings
  • Recycling
  • Sustainability and the arts
  • Transportation
  • Water
  • Sustainable workplace

These initiatives and more are spearheaded by JCCC’s Center for Sustainability with support from the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC), a group of students who allocate the Sustainability Initiatives Fund toward projects that create a more sustainable campus. Several of these efficiency efforts have helped JCCC avoid $2.8 million in electricity costs since 2008.

“Gathering meaningful data on results is part of doing quality sustainability work. The rigorous STARS ratings system forces us to prove that we are accomplishing our goals through the use of data. Moreover, STARS provides a roadmap for us to plan further improvement,” said Jay Antle, Executive Director, Center for Sustainability. “Students, faculty and staff across campus should be proud of our sustainability accomplishments at JCCC, but we’ve got more work to do.”

With more than 800 participants in 30 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: 1) academics, 2) engagement, 3) operations, 4) planning and administration, and 5) innovation and leadership.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser said. “Johnson County Community College has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions. 


Following is a history of the rewards received:

  • 2019 - Top Performer in AASHE's 2019 Sustainable Campus Index
  • 2019 - Sierra Club's Cool Schools in North America
  • 2017 - STARS Silver Institution Award by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education .
  • 2016 - Climate Leadership Award awarded by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the national nonprofit Second Nature. 
  • 2016 - Outstanding Higher Education Award from the National Recycling Coalition.
  • The American Association of Community College's SEED Center Green Genome Award including $10,000 as part of the honor. The JCCC Center for Sustainability is one of the 480 community colleges who have joined the Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) Center and were recognized at the top of the list. 
  • 2016 - NACUFS Sustainability Bronze Medal for Waste Management
  • 2016 - Mid-America Regional Council “Sustainable Success Story” Award for Composting Operation
  • 2013 - CSI Kansas City Chapter, Innovation in Sustainability Award for Galileo’s Pavilion
  • 2012 - United States Green Building Council’s Community College of the Year Award
  • 2012 - NACUFS Sustainability Silver Medal for Dining Operations
  • 2012 - Mid-America Regional Council “Sustainable Success Story” Award for Stormwater Project
  • 2011 - Silver Edison Green Award
  • 2011 - APWA Public Works Project of the Year Award for Stormwater Project
  • 2009 - NCSPOD  Education for Sustainability Award


  • UPS Foundation U.S. Local Grant recipient 2014, 2015, 2016 - Tree Planting
  • Department of Energy, Congressionally Directed Project, $713,625
  • ARRA Green Infrastructure grant, EPA – Stormwater Project, $560,000
  • EnergyWorks KC Green Jobs Workforce Development grant, MARC – Sustainable Hospitality Internships, $49,950