By Hilari Varnadore, Daniella Hirschfeld, and Claudia Hernandez
Hilari Varnadore, Daniella Hirschfeld, and Claudia Hernandez will serve as presenters and facilitators for the interactive Leadership Training Seminar, "Implementing STAR: The Sustainability Framework Built By and For Local Governments" at the Congress of Cities and Exposition on November 29th in Boston, MA.
Often cash-strapped and understaffed, local governments are increasingly engaged in tracking and reporting on metrics and indicators to demonstrate the benefits of their sustainability programs and initiatives. Sustainability Directors Directors are diligently making the case for sustainability initiatives, but lack standardized tools and access to information to measure results.
While individual governments and leaders will always address their sustainability efforts in ways that work best for them, until now, there has been no common way of defining and measuring sustainability. Today, the path to progress is easier with the launch of the groundbreaking STAR Community Rating System. Local community leaders will use the STAR Community Rating System to assess how sustainable they already are, set goals for moving ahead and measure progress along the way.
The STAR Community Rating System is the nation's first framework for evaluating, quantifying, and improving the livability and sustainability of U.S. communities. STAR uniquely combines a common framework for sustainability encompassing the social, economic and environmental dimensions of community; a rating system that drives continuous improvement and fosters competition; and an online performance management system that gathers, organizes, analyzes and presents information needed to meet sustainability goals.
At NLC's upcoming Congress of Cities, city leaders can learn about this cost-effective and easy-to-use framework for sustainability intended to reduce the burden on program managers and foster collaboration with others across the country. The STAR framework-including its seven goals and 44 objectives-will be presented, followed by a demonstration of the STAR Online Reporting Tool. Participants will leave with an understanding of how STAR can help develop existing strategic or sustainability plans, learn strategies to collect and track data required for the tool and discover how various partners such as universities or local NGOs can get involved.
Hilari Varnadore is the Director of STAR Communities, a DC-based nonprofit organization advancing a national framework for sustainable communities. Daniella Hirschfeld is the technical manager at STAR Communities, and Claudia Hernandez is STAR's Senior Program Officer.