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Green Honor Roll
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We salute the following 21 schools that received a Green Rating of 99 (the highest score) in our rating tallies this year.
We tallied Green Rating scores for 806 colleges in all. We report those scores in the profiles of those schools on our site and in the 2013 editions of our books, The Best 377 Colleges and The Complete Book of Colleges. Read our release on the rating here.
For information on how we tally our Green Ratings, see The Princeton Review's College Ratings.
American University knows that “the American Dream is Green”—and is taking serious steps to bring that dream to campus. AU is taking a series of practical steps to make sure that its students are green-equipped all the way from the classroom to Congress. A signatory of both ACUPCC and the Talloires Declaration, and a STARS charter participant, the university has established a Green Teaching Certification Program to reward professors for incorporating sustainability content into the curriculum and has a climate plan that targets neutrality by 2020.
Three full-time and 20 part-time sustainability staff oversee efforts to integrate sustainability across all campus activities, including the implementation of zero waste, sustainable purchasing, and green building policies. More than 25 buildings on campus are participating in a LEED Volume Existing Building certification project (yes, 25!). These 25 buildings are part AU’s Office of Sustainability’s more impressive goal: to get the majority of existing campus buildings LEED certified. As part of that effort, AU installed more than 2,150 solar photovoltaic panels on six American University buildings, resulting in the largest solar power system in the District of Columbia.
In addition, 174 solar thermal energy panels were added to four campus buildings, providing hot showers to more than 2,000 students living on campus and hot water to the university’s largest dining hall. In the past year AU also started composting paper towels, an act estimated to divert about 13 percent of the total campus waste from the landfill. AU has an “incredibly active and successful” environmental group called Eco-Sense that has been in place for 10 years. Eco-Sense works hand-in-hand with departments across campus to implement sustainability initiatives.
At Arizona State University, the term “sun-baked” isn’t just a statement of fact, it’s an opportunity to harness the sun’s rays to power the campus. With more than 300 sunny days a year, ASU capitalizes on Phoenix’s exemplary weather with more than 15 megawatts of photovoltaic power installations on campus rooftops and parking structures. This goes a long way to produce energy for the campus, but that’s not enough for ASU—the university is in pursuit of complete carbon neutrality. In 2011, ASU became a member of the Founding Circle of the “Billion Dollar Green Challenge,” demonstrating once again that it is not just participating in the sustainability movement, it is leading it. In line with the Clinton Climate Initiative, the university, through its Global Institute of Sustainability, put forth a request for solar energy proposals that would provide more than 310,000 square feet of solar panels on campus.
Needless to say, when your school’s located in the middle of one of the nation’s hottest deserts, water conservation measures are also critical and ASU knows that every drop of H2O counts. ASU has implemented low-flow sinks, toilets, and showers. Several buildings on campus are LEED Silver, Gold, and even Platinum. In 2010, graduate students within ASU’s School of Sustainability launched The Sustainability Review, an online journal edited and published by students that includes research, essays, and artwork on a broad range of sustainability topics. As if all that weren’t enough, ASU is also working on implementing a “campus-grown foods program,” wherein campus eateries would harvest fruits, herbs, and vegetables from campus gardens. ASU also subsidizes the U-Pass, which offers unlimited rides on area buses and light rail.
California Institute of Technology has become renowned for its academic brilliance—it boasts more than thirty Nobel Laureates and close ties to NASA—so it's not difficult to take its quickly growing devotion to the green movement seriously. Though a relatively small private institution, Caltech is already a giant in sustainability. A proud Founding Circle member of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, an effort aimed at funding energy-efficient upgrades at campuses across the country, Caltech pioneered the use of self-managed green revolving funds. The campus features the second largest rooftop solar installation among U.S. universities. Amazingly, the university's energy-efficiency projects have worked to the tune of an annual energy savings of 8.3 million kilowatt hours and a reduction in greenhouse emissions by more than 6,000 metric tons!
Nowadays, the awards and recognition keep pouring in. Caltech's Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology and Schlinger Laboratory for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering were honored at the inaugural Sustainable Innovation Awards during the Green Gala in 2011, and the Institute's contributions to cleaner air earned it the award for Model Community Achievement as part of the South Coast Air Quality Management District's annual Clean Air Awards. As you might expect at an institution that has received so many accolades, Caltech emphasizes the importance of green education. Students can take sustainability-related classes in departments such as environmental science and engineering, while also participating in sustainability-focused research through the Joint Center for Artificial Synthesis, the Linde Center for Global Environmental Science, and the Resnick Institute for energy science and technology.
We’re not the first to note California State University - Chico's sustainability accomplishments: The school was commended by The Daily Green website for having one of the greenest college cafeterias in the country, and it has landed in the top 35 on the Sierra Club’s Cool School list, which features the most “eco-enlightened” schools in the United States. CSU Chico has also received national honors for sustainability and environmental programs from the New York Times and the National Wildlife
Federation and made top green college rankings from Kiwi magazine and Grist, an environmental news website. Most recently, the school was recognized by Yahoo! As one of the “Top 5 Green Colleges in America.”
The university is committed to seeking LEED certification on all building projects and was an early adopter of the AASHE's STARS Program, an innovative self-reporting framework for universities to report and track sustainable development. CSU Chico has also committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2030. The Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Campus program introduced energy-saving software to campus computer labs, earning CSU Chico a $50,000 grant from Pacific Gas and Electric. Green Campus has also helped establish a Sustainability House on campus and Greeks Going Green, an organization to promote environmentally sound practices in sorority and fraternity houses, among many other projects. CSU Chico also hosts an annual “This Way to Sustainability” conference, with keynote speakers and workshops focusing on topics like green agriculture, curricula, energy, and ethics, and “Greenie” awards for community leaders and organizations. The campus already offers more than 200 sustainability-related courses, a new interdisciplinary minor in sustainability, and more than 15 sustainability-focused student groups.
Since signing the ACUPCC in 2007, Catawba College has built a vision for a sustainable future—thanks in part to its Environmental Services Department and Center for the Environment. The department plans, implements, and maintains “environmental sustainability, waste reduction, and recycling programs for the college community.” The Center for the Environment, a non-profit entity with programs that extend beyond campus boundaries, focuses on providing “education and outreach on prevalent environmental challenges that can serve as models for programs throughout the country.” These two groups have helped Catawba College take many steps on the path to climate neutrality by 2030, including the purchase of renewable energy credits representing 45 percent of the college’s energy usage.
The college has also achieved LEED certification for the Abernethy Village, a complex of five residence halls on campus. Replete with energy efficient lighting, Energy Star appliances, geothermal heating, and high-efficiency windows, it’s no wonder that the college reserves these appealing abodes exclusively for juniors and seniors. Dining Services has taken the “buy local” movement to heart, now ensuring that more than half of its food expenditures go towards local, organic, or otherwise environmentally preferable food. Working closely with the Center for the Environment is Environment Catawba Outreach (ECO), a student group for those looking to lead the campus on current and future sustainability initiatives. For those looking for a more formal education in the environment and sustainability, Catawba College offers majors in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Environmental Education, and, unique to the college, Sustainable Business & Community Development.
Chatham University recently created the School of Sustainability and the Environment, which aims to provide innovative, interdisciplinary education and research opportunities to students interested in exploring and finding solutions to environmental and sustainability issues. The University, an ACUPCC signatory, also focuses on increasing its commitment to green by conducting annual inventories of its greenhouse gas emissions and developing plans to reduce its carbon footprint. In line with this, Chatham completed a solar hot water system on its two largest residence halls in 2011. Chatham purchased Pittsburgh's first hybrid police car to patrol its campus in 2008, and runs active cell phone, battery and computer recycling services. (Chatham students' refurbished cell phones and computers are provided to victims of domestic violence, senior citizens, and local school children through a partnership with HopeLine.)
But the campus isn't just "green," it's really green (as in the color), thanks to a 32-acre arboretum (117 different tree species!) and Chatham's 386-acre Eden Hall Campus, which functions as a "living laboratory" where students can focus on sustainability issues. In order to ensure the continued verdancy of the campus, the university has banned pesticides since 2000. Chatham's cafeterias are committed to using organic and local foods whenever possible, has an active composting program, and recycles all used cooking oil as biofuel. In 2009, Chatham had the distinction of composting "more food service organics than any other school" that participated in the nationwide RecycleMania competition. Chatham invests in and promotes the use of bikes on campus, opening an on-campus bike shop staffed by students that teach basic bicycle maintenance and repair for free! Chatham is a Bronze level recipient of the BikeAmerica Bike Friendly Employer Award.
How committed is the College of the Atlantic to the ideals of sustainability? In 2007, in line with the school's Carbon NetZero initiative, COA became the country's first carbon neutral college. In fact, to date, it's the only college in the nation that has managed to achieve such a feat, despite nearly 700 colleges and universities that have signed the ACUPCC. The school is seeking to reduce fossil fuel use by using renewable sources (electricity comes from non-emitting renewable wind power and the new student dorms have space heating and hot water courtesy of a central wood powered boiler) and environmentally sound building practices (the new student dorms are heavily insulated, have triple pane windows, and include composting toilets). COA routinely conducts energy audits of the campus with the goal of making existing buildings, which were retrofitted and upgraded in 2008, more energy efficient.
The college also focuses on providing local and organic food to its students, faculty and staff; COA has its own organic farm 12 miles from campus, which supplies the cafeteria with produce as the seasons permit. In 2010, COA received an additional 125 acres of additional farm property just a few miles off campus, and is on the verge of purchasing an electric vehicle which will be charged through a solar charger for transportation to the farms. Its use is currently under discussion by a task force of stakeholders. That said, the school is keen to note that "all food waste is composted." In fact, with designated composting bins in the cafeteria as well as every dorm (not to mention recycling bins for plastic, glass, and paper in every building and on almost every floor), there's no excuse at COA not to compost and recycle. The college also takes a proactive approach to teaching sustainability in the classroom through its Sustainable Foods Systems Program, which explores how COA's work in organic agriculture can be applied to larger food system issues, as well as its Sustainable Business Program, which focuses on environmentally and socially focused strategies to encourage positive change, while another program focuses on environmental diplomacy.
Located within walking distance of grassy Central Park, Columbia University's campus is evolving into one of New York City's green landmarks in its own right. Surrounded by one of the biggest and densest collections of building in the world, the university has put its location to good use, recently launching the NYC Urban Technology Innovation Center in order to promote green building technologies in New York City. The Urban Design Lab has committed to local environmentally friendly design and sustainable economic development, combining the vast intellectual and financial resources of the architecture and engineering schools. The challenges of developing sustainable infrastructure in a bustling urban environment are significant, which makes Columbia's recent LEED Platinum recognition for its 17-acre Manhattanville campus plan in West Harlem even more impressive.
Leave it to one of the oldest and most historically rooted universities in the world to stake claim to both the first Platinum certification of its kind in New York City, and the first for a university plan nationally! This estimable bit of green construction will only add to Columbia's growing collection of LEED-certified buildings, which welcomed seven LEED Gold or LEED Silver endeavors in the last several years. Of course, construction is just one of many fortunate opportunities to advance sustainability in Manhattan—Columbia has devoted considerable effort to healthy local food, greenmarkets, vegetative roofs, and more efficient water treatment. Always a beacon in academia and leadership, students are offered a choice of twenty-four degrees in environmental study to complement thirty-three environmental research centers, while organizations such as the Earth Institute and Columbia EcoReps contribute to the active presence of the sustainability movement in everyday campus life.
Besides having one of the world's largest grid-attached rooftop photovoltaic solar systems—which over 15 years has produced enough energy to power 489 homes in Georgia for one year—the GreenBuzz portal shows Georgia Tech students, staff, and faculty what they can do to create a more environmentally friendly campus. Tech has the largest university residence hall in the world to achieve LEED Gold under the Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance rating system. Home to 2,000 students, it is a renovated Olympic Village. Tech's 1,4000,000 gallon system collects rain and condensation water for flushing and irrigation and is the largest system on a U.S. campus. With 21 endowed chairs and 30 research centers focusing on sustainability, Georgia Tech is home to the Strategic Energy Institute, which focuses on alternative energy and energy efficiency, the Institute of Sustainable Systems, the Sustainable Design and Manufacturing Center, and more.
Georgia Tech's recycling programs, alternative transportation programs, and green buildings are models for other universities to follow. Georgia Tech's recycling programs, alternative transportation programs, energy efficient composting dining halls, and green buildings are models for other universities to follow. Georgia Tech, a 2007 President's Climate Commitment signatory, continues to encourage investing in water efficiency by becoming part of the Founding Circle for the "Billion Dollar Green Challenge" and "Atlanta Better Building Challenge" in 2011. Furthering its mission of sustainability in action and education, the school offers more than 264 courses with a sustainability focus, so that every student takes at least one sustainability course by graduation. In the school's own words, it wants students to experience sustainability so that they can "take it with them throughout their careers and live it every day."
Though Goucher College is about 50 miles from Capitol Building, the small liberal arts college is establishing itself as a capital of sustainability. As a member of
ACUPCC, along with conducting comprehensive inventories of all greenhouse gas emissions on campus and developing an institutional action plan to combat its carbon footprint and become climate neutral, Goucher has also designated that all new buildings and renovations of existing ones must be LEED-certified. Indeed, the Athenaeum, "a high tech library, a public forum, classrooms, a café, an art gallery, a radio station, a center for community service, places to meet and converse, and many other spaces all in one," is the campus' first LEED-certified building— and it's LEED Gold at that!
Want more evidence of Goucher's commitment to sustainability? It recently was graded an A by Sustainable Endowments Institute's 2011 College Sustainability Report Card in food and recycling, green building, student involvement, transportation, and investment priorities. Goucher is actively generating a framework to deal with green issues on campus through its environmental Sustainability Advisory Council, which will aid in the completion of the school's commitment to climate neutrality. The university collaborated with the Environmental Health and Engineering (EH&E), Inc., a Massachusetts-based environmental and engineering consulting firm, to develop a Climate Action Plan, completed in Spring 2011. In the fall 2010 semester, Goucher College launched an interdisciplinary environmental studies major. Plus, the Career Development Office provides students with information on environmental internships and an internship scholarship available specifically aimed at the conservation of natural resources.
"Going green" is more than a catchphrase at Green Mountain College—it's a raison d'être. Impressively in 2011, the school announced its achievement of climate neutrality, becoming only the second climate neutral campus in the nation and the first to achieve it through a combination of efficiency, large-scale adoption of clean energy, and purchase of local carbon offsets. Green Mountain College, a member of the Founding Circle of the "Billion Dollar Green Challenge," also integrates sustainability thoroughly across its exceptional curriculum.
In addition to a comprehensive environmental liberal arts core curriculum, GMC also offers a renewable energy and ecological design certificate program, a new sustainable agriculture and food production degree, adventure education, natural resources management, and a sustainable MBA program. More than half of GMC faculty members are actively engaged in research, and the college utilizes project-based learning to provide students with real-life problem-solving experiences. GMC's Farm & Food Project was granted use of the flash-freeze unit—designed to increase the ability of farmers to market seasonal products throughout the year—by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, in order to pilot flash-freezing of products for institutional and food pantry use. In 2011 The Green Mountain College Farm & Food Project was awarded $100,000 from Jane's Trust to research the market potential for flash-frozen products. With sustainability in the classroom covered, GMC is focusing on greening its operations; the college opened its biomass combined heat and power facility in April 2010. Students don't soon forget the lessons they learn in GMC; forty-six percent of graduates pursue careers in the green jobs sector.
Harvard College, a school renowned for its innovation and leadership, is proving that "Green is the new Crimson." In 2008, the college established a university-wide commitment to reducing greenhouse gas by 30 percent from 2006 levels by 2016 and has already decreased emissions overall by 10.4 percent, including growth. On campus, the university has 64 LEED certified buildings and an additional 31 LEED registered projects, as well as mandating that comprehensive Green Building Standards apply to all capital projects. Harvard also demonstrates its commitment to energy-efficiency by using a number of renewable energy sources to power the campus, including solar panels, steam heat recovery, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps, and shuttles that run on biodiesel fuel. This is bolstered by a 55 percent waste diversion rate on campus, as well as a flawless 100 percent composting rate for landscaping waste. The college also keeps an eye on providing local produce to its students—35–70 percent of produce served by Harvard's dining services is from local sources, depending on the seasonal variations in crops.
Yet, not all changes are coming from the top. Of all students on campus, 97 percent take an alternative means of transportation to class each day. In addition, the Harvard Office for Sustainability leads the university in achieving its sustainability goals by leveraging the collective knowledge of students, staff, and faculty partners and overseeing sustainability initiatives. Environmentally minded students can take advantage of Harvard's Environmental Science and Public Policy concentration, and over 200 undergraduate and graduate environmental courses—just another example of how Harvard is committing itself to a socially responsible future.
For more than thirty years, Northeastern University (NU) has integrated energy efficiency and conservation into its facilities management plans and outreach materials. The University believes "all individuals and institutions share responsibility for taking action to create a sustainable environment." Since 1990, CO2 emissions/1,000 square feet were reduced nearly 25 percent despite 40 percent growth in square footage. Since 2005, emissions/square foot have been reduced 33 percent. Over the past five years, Northeastern saved nearly 11 million kWh of electricity, in the past three years implemented more than 60 different energy efficiency projects, and every building on campus has undergone an energy-related renovation or retrofit. Sustainability represents one of Northeastern's three major research areas and is fully integrated into over 100 academic courses and experiential learning and co-op programs.
Northeastern, known for its co-op and experiential learning programs, is developing new programs that advance sustainability into Career Services and International Co-op programming. Over 8.5 percent of building square footage under University operational control is now LEED Gold certified. International Village (IV), NU's new 1,200 bed mixed-use dorm/office building, became LEED Gold certified in March 2010; IV is the first college/university dining facility in the U.S. to earn LEED Gold certification as well as become Green Restaurant® 3-star certified. Northeastern's newest building, the George T. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, has demand control ventilation and reduced lighting power density. "Compost Here" an aggressive food composting program results in nearly 660 tons annually of composted dining hall service and catered food waste. All dining halls offer a local food initiative, "Eat Local-Get Closer To your Food."
An aggressive recycling program in existence for over 20 years includes more than 15 different categories of collected items and an annual waste diversion rate of nearly 42 percent. A Sustainability and Green Science Living Learning Community is offered through Sustainable Service, a Residential Life-based sustainability programming initiative, and Northeastern participates in the "Hubway," Boston's bike-sharing program.
Students with an interest in green issues are drawn to San Francisco State University for its sustainability-related offerings inside and outside of the classroom. The school offers many environmentally focused degrees, including a BA and a BS in Environmental Studies and an MBA with an emphasis in Sustainable Business. A sustainability literacy requirement was recently implemented for all students. Although the campus is located in an urban area, students and faculty are hardly cut off from the natural world—many use the school's marine and estuarine research facility to study the San Francisco Bay. SF State students put their studies to practical use with help from the school's career services office, which offers an extensive list of environmental jobs and internships.
The Bicycle Working Group, made up of students, staff, and faculty members, worked with the administration to install new bike racks and to build an additional path connecting the campus to the city of San Francisco's bike routes. Organic and fair trade coffee is available across campus, and all food waste from the Student Center and the Dining Centers is composted. SF State boasts an unprecedented 72 percent waste diversion rate (that is, 72 percent of on-campus waste never makes it to a landfill). The custodial services department is transitioning to a green cleaning program, and now almost half of the university's cleaning products are Green Seal Certified. SF State is working on the projects laid out in its Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
Along with the other universities in the California system, the University of California—Santa Cruz is dedicated to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, greening its design and construction projects on campus, and integrating sustainability at every institutional level. Within the university, the Sustainability Office is building a database of project ideas submitted by students, faculty, and staff to improve sustainable practices on campus, and encourages students to apply for grants to reduce GHG emissions on campus, through the student-fee supported Carbon Fund. Already, the campus boasts a 70 percent waste-diversion rate and gets 16 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Facilities services are also becoming more environmentally responsible using 90 percent Green Seal Certified cleaning products. These impressive numbers are leading the campus towards its goal of zero waste by 2020.
The Sustainability Office offers internships, green events, and the opportunity to serve on sustainability working groups (two green job fairs were held on campus last year alone). Among the many student organizations on campus are the Student Environmental Center, Friends of the Community Agroecology Network, the Campus Sustainability Council, California Public Interest Research Group, the Green Campus Program, California Student Sustainability Coalition, Education for Sustainable Living Program, Environmental Media Project, and the Program in Community and Agroecology. UCSC has been awarded several honors in recognition of its sustainability efforts, including making the top 20 of the Sierra Club's list of the Coolest (read: greenest) Schools.
University of South Carolina—Columbia has long been a green leader in its home state. More than a decade ago, the university president joined the presidents of Clemson and the Medical University of South Carolina to form the Sustainable Universities Initiative (SUI). USC is also home to the Center for Fuel Cell Research, one of the leading institutes for developing alternatives to petroleum, and the School for the Environment, a "virtual" school including 150 faculty from disciplines as diverse as history, engineering, law, and art. The university is constructing its first net zero energy building in partnership with the US DOE. A faculty development program is conducted annually to integrate sustainability into the curriculum and the campus currently offers more than 348 sustainability related courses. Students operate an organic garden, distribute products at the campus farmer's market and are training staff and departments to construct additional food gardens across campus. Student athletes are working on a carbon neutral basketball game for spring, 2012.
USC has also partnered with the Columbia area to develop a regional sustainability plan. Sustainable Carolina represents all the sustainability efforts on campus and utilizes over 40 student interns to implement the campus sustainability plan. The program is based on leadership development and allows students to apply sustainability practices on campus. Last year students put in nearly 20,000 hours working, learning and training on sustainability issues. USC's fleet of buses uses bio fuel and a fuel cell powered demonstration bus. The campus hosts a Green Career Fair each semester and has an impressive array of environmental student organizations, including Students Allied for a Greener Earth, Net Impact, and Student Food Team, just to name a few. USC has made a commitment to seek LEED Silver certification on new construction. The Patterson Residence Hall renovation and Library Addition recently received LEED Gold certifications.
As you'd expect of a university surrounded by one of the nation's greatest forests, University of Washington (UW) takes seriously sustainability and the promotion of ecologically sound practices. UW's environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee takes clear aim at finding solutions to issues involving climate, conservation, consumption reduction, leadership in economic development, growth management and sustainability on campus. The University currently has 15 LEED certified buildings, with 17 more in the works. The most recent, PACCAR Hall, achieved LEED Gold in 2011 and features solar shading landscaping, natural ventilation and thermal storage, as well as plenty of green gadgets that optimize energy efficiency. UW's comprehensive composting and recycling program is responsible for diverting more than half of the school's total waste from landfills.
In order to reduce energy charges (nearly $50 million in 10 years) and increase energy efficiency, UW has installed solar panels, retrofitted fixtures and replaced 1,500 old toilets (resulting in about 30 million gallons of water saved yearly!). Fifty percent of food served on campus is organic, local or fair trade. The University also has a fleet of more than 300 alternative-fuel vehicles. When it comes to sustainability, UW strives to give its students the opportunity to learn by example. In 2009, UW inaugurated the College of the Environment, offering interdisciplinary opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to create programs tailored to their research interests. UW supports graduating students through several events that focus on green jobs through the Career and Communication Center. In 2010, UW launched the first-ever Campus Sustainability Fund, a student-initiated fee that supports campus projects with an environmental impact and high student engagement.
While athletes from the University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh are known as "titans" on the playing field, it's about time the university be recognized for its titanic contributions to the sustainability movement. A charter participant in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System, UW—Oshkosh is the first university in Wisconsin to earn the AASHE STARS Gold rating, and only the twenty-fifth in all of North America. Moreover, the institution earned distinction as the first university in the United States to declare itself a Fair Trade University. UW—Oshkosh has taken a three-pronged approach to renewable energy. First, it is a major purchaser of wind power electricity from Wisconsin Public Service's NatureWise Program. Second, it has incorporated solar energy technologies on the campus, including the 2010 installation of its first photovoltaic panels. Third, in 2011, UW—Oshkosh debuted the first commercial-scale dry anaerobic bio-digester in the Americas to generate renewable energy from biomass.
Always conscious of the natural environment, the university's participations in both the Tree Campus USA program and Recyclemania demonstrate its dedication to campus forestry and recycling. Interested in green building? UW—Oshkosh has adopted the goal of LEED Gold certification for all future construction, with several current building under review for certification. Students will be the green leaders of tomorrow—environmental degrees are offered in the College of Business and department of biology and microbiology, and students take active parts as firsthand leaders in the sustainability movement on the boards and advisory committees of various campus centers, including Reeve Memorial Center and the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is looking to the future when it comes to sustainability—make that the near future. The university has taken on a series of ambitious initiatives, including its new Operations and Waste Management Facility—the first of its kind at a Wisconsin university that features a pilot wastewater treatment plant, a composting lab, a microbiology lab, and an adjoined recycling center. UW—Stevens Point was green long before green was cool. The university created the nation's first Conservation Education major back in 1946, and then founded the College of Natural Resources in 1970. UW—Stevens Point also goes way back when it comes to recycling and composting—to 1989—and each residence hall is equipped with recycling chutes. Also on campus is a compost tea harvesting machine as well as vermi-composting, where worms do the work. These initiatives combined with the work of the on-campus Resource Recovery Center combined to achieve an impressive 42 percent waste diversion rate in 2011. UWSP also demonstrates examples of how students, faculty, staff, and the public can live in environmentally-friendly and affordable ways with Knutzen and Pray Sims Halls, which feature a solar-paneled roof. UWSP's career services helps green-minded students find green-thinking jobs. That comes in handy considering that Stevens Point's Student Government Association is the only such organization in the UW system to have an Environmental and Sustainability Issues Director and Environmental and Sustainability Issues Committee. UWSP's new residence hall opened to students in fall 2011 and is currently pursuing LEED Silver certification. The residence hall program derives an impressive 53 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
Vanderbilt University was named after a railroad tycoon, and its sustainability movement might as well be a train. It's swift moving—Vanderbilt University has already developed a comprehensive Environmental Commitment Statement. It has a ton of moving parts Vanderbilt's Plant Operations and Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety collaborate to form the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO), whose mission is to initiate, promote, coordinate, evaluate and encourage environmental management and sustainability initiatives that improve Vanderbilt's impact on the community and environment, while simultaneously providing sustainability and environmental management services for the entire institution. And it's going to be hard to stop—leaders of the future are being cultivated and groomed through the university's several active student-run sustainability groups on campus; including SPEAR (Students Promoting Environmental Awareness and Responsibility), Alternative Energy Club (Biodiesel), and the Vanderbilt Initiative for Vegetarian Awareness (VIVA); as well as several environmental research centers and myriad courses related to sustainability and the environment.
The campus itself is also laying a sturdy green foundation; Vanderbilt was the first university in Tennessee to have any LEED certified buildings, and claims one of the largest collections of LEED certified facilities in the Southeast, composed of two buildings of the basic LEED certified variety, five LEED Silver, and four LEED Gold. With all the enormous undertakings going on at Vanderbilt, those at this Tennessean university still never loses sight of the little things that make an impact; students and community can take their pick from various recycling and commuter choice programs.
The triad of academics, work, and service outlined in Warren Wilson College's mission statement make it a unique place to learn about sustainable decision-making in action. Environmental Studies is a popular major on campus, including six different concentrations, and there is a new cross-disciplinary sustainability curriculum. The Farm and Garden that supplies Warren Wilson's Dining Services began doing so way before eating local was a popular concept. The college's Environmental Leadership Center is a cut above the typical campus eco-organization, and provides sustainability-focused events and educational programs for both students and the local community, including a regular program broadcast on public radio.
Warren Wilson has made a commitment to using green building standards for all new construction and retrofitting and to reduce campus wide emissions by 80 percent by 2020. Among the residence halls on campus is the nation's first LEED Platinum residence hall under the Existing Buildings rating system—the EcoDorm—built by student teams with wood that was repurposed or sustainably harvested on campus. The dorm also features solar panel window awnings, composting toilets, a rainwater catchment system that helps irrigate the surrounding permaculture, and many other waste-minimizing features. But perhaps the most impressive statistic is yet to be mentioned: For the past six years, 100 percent of the school's electricity use has been offset through the purchase of wind power generated renewable energy credits. In addition, 12 percent of campus heating and cooling energy demand is met with geothermal and solar thermal resources.
For all of these sustainable initiatives, the college has received many accolades: It has been named one of the greenest schools in the nation by the Sierra Club, Blue Ridge Outdoors, The Daily Green website, the National Wildlife Foundation, GreenLivingOnline.com, Kiwi magazine, Second Nature, and now The Princeton Review, two years running.
©2013 TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.