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Green Honor Roll
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We salute the following 22 schools, which made our 2014 Green Honor Roll by receiving a score of 99 (the highest possible score) in our Green Rating tallies this year.
We tallied Green Rating scores for 832 colleges in this cycle. You'll find the scores in the profiles of those schools on our site and in the 2014 editions of our books The Best 378 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 and ensure that its students are green equipped all the way from the classroom to Congress. A signatory of both the 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. AU is participating in a pilot program to certify 25 buildings on campus under the LEED for Existing Buildings rating system. These 25 buildings are part of AU's Office of Sustainability's more impressive goal: for the majority of existing campus buildings to become LEED certified. As part of that effort, AU installed more than 2,150 solar photovoltaic panels on six of its 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.
California State University, Chico 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. 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. The university is committed to seeking LEED certification on all building projects and was a Charter Participant 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.
In 2007, in line with the school's Carbon NetZero initiative, College of the Atlantic (COA) became the country's first carbon-neutral college. In 2012, the COA community decided that instead of achieving carbon neutrality through offset purchases, it would apply these funds to reduce the college's carbon footprint through hands-on, interdisciplinary classes and student-led projects to inspire and educate students to conceive of and implement similar work on larger scales in the world. Already, COA classes have researched, sited and installed solar panels and a wind turbine on campus. These add to the college's baseline renewables and environmentally sound building practices. COA routinely conducts energy audits of the campus with the goal of making existing buildings 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. Two new livestock farms produced broiler chickens for campus in 2012. An electric van charged by solar panels provides transportation between the farms and campus; the campus solar charger is open to the public for free. 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. Yet another program focuses on environmental diplomacy empowering students to become youth leaders in international negotiations.
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 buildings 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 environmental 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 real, which makes Columbia's recent LEED Platinum certification 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 significant 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, green markets, vegetative roofs and more efficient water treatment. Always a beacon in academia and leadership, its students are offered a choice of 24 degrees in environmental study to complement 33 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.
Cornell University's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future brings together students, faculty and staff to "help advance multidisciplinary research and cultivate innovative collaborations within and beyond Cornell to foster a sustainable future for all." The Center provides seed grants for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and supports strategic hiring of faculty focused on sustainability. Students can choose from over 300 courses and 28 majors to study sustainability in every college. Cornell is implementing a plan to be carbon neutral by 2050 and achieved a 25 percent carbon emissions reduction when it ended the use of coal on campus. Another critical part of Cornell's carbon reduction strategy is a $46 million investment in energy conservation initiatives. An award-winning transportation demand management program provides free bus passes to freshman and staff and offers incentives to use Ithaca Carshare, vanpools, public transportation and the new Big Red Bikes bike-share program. There are over 35 active green groups on campus to fill every niche, including Greeks Go Green, Cornell University Sustainable Design, Dilmun Hill Organic Farm, Kyoto NOW!, Engineers for a Sustainable World, Cornell Farmers Market and the Sustainable Enterprise Association. More than 63 percent of waste on campus is recycled or composted, including 823 tons of food from the dining halls. Cornell considers itself a caretaker of the natural environment. In total, the university manages 3,500 acres of biologically diverse natural land on and around its campus. The Ithaca campus currently has one LEED Platinum and eight LEED Gold buildings and a policy for all new major construction to obtain LEED Silver and be 30 percent more energy efficient than national standards.
Though half of its energy comes from renewable sources, Dickinson College isn't ready to rest on its laurels—the school is always on the lookout for ways it can improve sustainability on campus and in its students' lives. The 15-member President's Commission on Environmental Sustainability focuses on how the campus can commit to a more sustainable future by reducing pollution, preserving natural resources, educating the community on environmental issues and developing initiatives to reduce both cost and consumption on campus. In line with this, President Durden signed the ACUPCC, an agreement that involves Dickinson's furthering its goal of developing a sustainable energy management and renewable energy infrastructure. Since then, Dickinson's commitment has been on display. Ever raising the bar, it has upgraded its green building standards from LEED Silver to LEED Gold. Now that's leadership! What's more, the college has adopted a Climate Action Plan to achieve the gold standard of climate neutrality by 2020. The people of Dickinson have been a central part of its investment in sustainability. The Center for Sustainability Education fosters learning opportunities that advance the knowledge and skills necessary for creating a just and sustainable world. Students and faculty receive hands-on learning experiences in renewable energy technology through Dickinson's Biodiesel Project. This initiative also provides campus vehicles with an environmentally sustainable alternative to diesel fuel, essentially allowing the school to use a food-service waste product to reduce air-polluting emissions.
Besides having one of the world's largest grid-attached rooftop photovoltaic solar systems, the GreenBuzz portal highlights what Georgia Tech students, staff and faculty 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 cistern collects rain and condensation water for flushing and irrigation and is the largest system on a U.S. campus. This massive cistern is integral to the Undergraduate Commons, a sustainability showcase and new freshman science building with green labs, garden roof, dashboard, solar pv, solar thermal, a chilled beam pilot, etc. The Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory building, completed in 2012, houses energy researchers. 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, a Presidents' Climate Commitment signatory, continues to encourage investing in energy and 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, Georgia Tech wants students to experience sustainability so that they can "take it with them throughout their careers and live it every day."
"Going green" is more than just 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. GMC continues to focus on greening its operations. In 2012, the college approved a strategic plan called Sustainability 2020 that challenges GMC to meet all of its energy needs with 100 percent renewable energy by 2020. Sustainability is the overarching principle in the plan, which articulates five main initiatives that will attract and retain a strong student body and innovative faculty and staff and positively impact the campus environment. Students don't soon forget the lessons they learn in GMC: 46 percent of graduates pursue careers in the green jobs sector.
Located in one of the world's greenest cities, Portland, Oregon, Lewis & Clark College is eagerly doing its part to keep the city sustainable. Lewis & Clark requires all new buildings to be LEED Gold certified, and a whopping 100 percent of the school's electricity is generated by "green power" sources! Portland's 2009 Climate Action Plan sought a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2018, yet Lewis & Clark has already exceeded that goal by reducing emissions over 30 percent since 2006. Lewis & Clark's location in the green mecca of Portland provides students with an abundance of opportunities to work with and learn from environmentally conscious organizations off campus. On campus, students can join groups such as SEED (Students Engaged in Eco-Defense), the Sustainability Council and SABER (Student Advocates for Business and Environmental Responsibility). About a quarter of the food served on campus is grown within 100 miles of the school. The city of Portland has long been a trailblazer—literally—in bike transportation, having over 150 miles of bike lanes. Lewis & Clark works to help students utilize this healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. The student bike-sharing program was recently funded by the school's "Green Fee Fund," giving the student body access to bikes, safety gear and training. In addition, the college has started installing bike repair stations around campus for when students need a quick bolt tightening or tire pump. The school's latest construction, the LEED-certified Holmes Hall, also has a free electric vehicle charging station. In 2013, the college was recognized for its efforts by being ranked first in the Northwest Conference in the EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge.
Middlebury College takes its commitment to sustainability seriously, as evidenced by a trustees' resolution that mandates that the college will achieve carbon neutrality by 2016. Additionally, Middlebury is advancing the cause of sustainability on campus through the recent completion of a $12 million biomass gasification system (or more simply put, a furnace that burns renewable wood chips), which will reduce carbon emissions on campus by 40 percent and oil consumption by a whopping 1 million gallons. The school looks to make "ethical and just decisions about production, exchange and consumption" while "meeting present and future human needs and protecting and restoring ecological resilience and integrity." In 2011, Middlebury College became a member of the Founding Circle for the "Billion Dollar Green Challenge," which encourages the college and university community to invest a total of $1 billion in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements. On top of that, the college's (gorgeous) Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest achieved LEED Platinum certification, making it the first building in Vermont and the seventh nationwide to do so. Middlebury is just as dedicated to instilling a commitment to green living in students as it is to building a greener campus. The college promotes environmental internships and job opportunities through events like the annual Careers in the Common Good Week, which has "dedicated speaker panels, skill-building workshops and featured employer information sessions with [an] emphasis on environmental careers and advice." Middlebury has also sent a team of students to participate in the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, which challenges college students to "design and build solar-powered houses that are attractive, cost-effective and energy-efficient." Their house took fourth place overall, debuting on the mall in Washington, DC, along with 18 other houses.
As the founding member of the five Claremont Colleges, Pomona College in California might be expected to be a green leader. The college has had an environmental policy since 2003, when strict environmental standards for new construction on campus were first implemented. That early commitment to green building continues today. All existing buildings are regularly retrofitted to improve energy efficiency in lighting, HVAC and other building systems, and the college's new Sontag and Pomona Residence Halls are LEED Platinum. Pomona's Environmental Analysis Program incorporates sustainability across the curriculum by offering 11 concentrations in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Student programs and campus engagement efforts include a green office certification program, green living training for all RAs and student mentors, an annual sustainability film festival, and a program where students can get free drying racks, CFL lightbulbs and compost buckets. With a change to self-operated dining, the college was able to increase sustainable food purchases and became the first liberal arts college to receive Marine Stewardship Council certification. Funding is available for students to participate in a variety of sustainability-related research with faculty, both on and off campus. Additionally, a team of students and faculty was given the Excellence in Innovations for Sustainability award for its hand-built mobile power station SolTrain. Pomona for Environmental Activism and Responsibility (PEAR), the Environmental Quality Committee (EQC), Food Rescue, Green Bikes, the Organic Farm and Clean Sweep/ReCoop are a few of the college's sustainability-related student organizations. Together, they work on diverse projects ranging from dorm energy use competitions to running a campus bike shop and bike exchange. For students seeking to continue their sustainability work after graduation, the college's Career Development Office offers special green-sector programming during Career Week.
At Portland State University in Oregon, every student can gain hands-on experience addressing complex sustainability issues—both inside the classroom and out in the community. A 10-year, $25 million gift from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation in 2008 jump-started Portland State's excellence in sustainability research, teaching, and community engagement in programs across campus. PSU's College of Liberal Arts & Sciences faculty are leaders in social sustainability research, the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science is home to globally recognized transportation researchers and a Green Building Research Lab, and the College of Urban & Public Affairs continues to push the leading edge of sustainable urban development. As a national leader in community-based learning, PSU puts students to work solving neighborhood-scale sustainability problems, and its campus—home to eight LEED-certified buildings—is a Living Lab, testing everything from ecoroofs to district-scale energy systems. Students can apply their learning in the real world with a Senior Capstone course, turn ideas into action with a Solutions Generator grant, and pursue a graduate certificate in sustainability. PSU's Institute for Sustainable Solutions serves as a hub for supporting student leadership training, cross-disciplinary research, and a curriculum that prepares students for change-making careers.
Stanford University has invested $570 million over the past 10 years in sustainability research, emission-reduction infrastructure and energy efficiency projects for buildings. Part of the "Billion Dollar Green Challenge," the campus recently released a comprehensive energy and climate plan that can "reduce the university's GHG emissions at least 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and enable an 18 percent savings in potable water consumption" despite Stanford's nearly exponential growth. The plan targets high-performance building design, resource conservation in existing buildings and a greener energy supply. Further, energy retrofits of older buildings have resulted in an estimated savings of 176 million kilowatt hours of electricity—about eight months of Stanford's current use. Stanford's recycling program (recognized by the EPA and a top contender in RecycleMania) diverts 65 percent of its solid waste from landfills. Stanford's Transportation Demand Management program (also recognized by the EPA) includes a "free bus system powered by biodiesel and diesel-electric hybrids, a commute club, free/pre-tax passes on public transportation, car rental options, commute planning assistance, charter services and a bike program." As a result, "the percentage of Stanford employees driving alone to campus dropped from 72 to 46 percent" in the last decade. Additionally, the university participated in the Bay Area's Bike to Work Day. With over 1,100 Stanford students rolling to campus, an estimated 3,611 miles of car trips and over 3,400 pounds of emissions were avoided. A partner in the university's $250 million Initiative on the Environment and Sustainability, the Woods Institute for the Environment offers an opportunity for students to research and create practical, interdisciplinary solutions to environmental challenges.
As a member of the University of California system, UC Irvine adopted a policy on Sustainable Practices back in 2004 in order to promote environmentally conscious construction and fixtures on campus. After signing the ACUPCC, the school completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and began pinpointing where to focus its environmental efforts. UC Irvine has determined that all new construction on campus must seek LEED Silver certification, at a minimum. In fact, eight buildings on campus have achieved LEED Gold and two have achieved LEED Platinum. The school is taking a similarly proactive approach to leveraging the Southern California sunshine in support of sustainability. UC Irvine has installed a 1.2-megawatt DC solar power system, which is "expected to produce more than 24 million kilowatt hours (equivalent to offsetting 25.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide) over twenty years." UC Irvine is also setting the example when it comes to alternative transportation. Through its initiatives, the campus reduces more than 39 million vehicle miles and 19,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Even UC Irvine's Dining Services is working to combat wastefulness. A study was conducted that determined that the use of trays in cafeterias led to 430 pounds of wasted food per day. Dining Services took the hint and the trays hit the road; the next year waste was down by 180 pounds per day and was reduced by an additional 70 pounds per day the following year.
University of California–Los Angeles is going green, from its classrooms to its cafeterias. A few highlights include replacing all Styrofoam cups in the dining areas with biodegradable ones, recycling alcohol from its science labs, purchasing more recycled copy paper, and hosting a series of environmentally focused speakers and forums. Now all of the university's computers are Energy Star rated, 38 percent of its vehicles run on alternative fuel, and more than 600,000 energy-efficient lightbulbs have been installed around campus. Students on the move can participate in the school’s bike-share program or use its car share and vanpools to get around. Or, if students have their own sustainable initiatives in mind, there exists a "Green Initiative Fund," which raises more than $200,000 per year for UCLA’s sustainable projects. The UCLA Action Research Teams is an innovative academic course where students work with staff and faculty to do hands-on research on campus sustainability. UCLA is home to an organic garden and an experiential learning course in which students can investigate sources of food. UCLA is committed to making all new construction and major renovation projects be certified as LEED Silver or higher. This year, solar panels were installed on the student union. The university is also home to the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, an innovative intellectual community focused on environmental research, policy concerns, and outreach and education. A remarkable 69 percent of UCLA's waste stream is currently diverted from landfills. The campus is aiming to improve that number to 100 percent by 2020.
UCSB established one of the nation's first environmental studies programs in 1970; opened the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management in 1994; established the Institute for Energy Efficiency, developing innovative technologies addressing energy conservation, in 2008; and was an early signatory to the ACUPCC, which has committed the campus to carbon neutrality by 2050. To accomplish its goals, the UCSB Chancellor's Sustainability Committee assembles administrators, deans, Nobel Laureates, senior faculty, staff and students to make recommendations for sustainability projects on campus. In order to help finance these projects, Santa Barbara was one of the first in the UC system to establish a student-directed renewable energy initiative (REI) sponsoring large-scale solar and thermal energy projects. This complements The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), which awards grants for projects that reduce the campus's environmental impacts, and the Coastal Fund (CF), which has allocated nearly $1,500,000 to more than 350 local projects dedicated to conservation of the UCSB coastline. UCSB is currently installing a 500-kilowatt photovoltaic array coupled with 12 electric vehicle-charging stations for public use on campus. Home to 29 LEED-certified buildings and the nation's first double Platinum building, UCSB strives for all new construction and renovations to achieve LEED Gold. UCSB was recognized by the EPA as one of the nation's best workplaces for alternative transportation, and the campus has extensive waste reduction programs.
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 it encourages students to apply for grants to reduce GHG emissions on campus, through the student fee-supported Carbon Fund. Already, the campus boasts a 64 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 toward 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 PowerSave 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.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign isn't flying blind when it comes to sustainability initiatives. As a signatory to the ACUPCC, Illinois is committed to carbon neutrality by 2050. Interim targets for energy reduction are 20 percent by 2015. To date, the campus has already achieved 1990 energy reduction. UIUC is actively restructuring its energy accounting system and, as an incentive to conserve resources, will charge for units of energy used and offer rewards for energy-use reductions. In line with this, the university recently opened its $66 million LEED Platinum Business Instruction Facility (all new buildings must meet LEED Gold certification standards or better). The school has also invested $100 million so far in building retrofits and updates to ensure that the campus is "more sustainable, uses less energy, and has less sprawl." At last count, 35 buildings at UIUC have been retrofitted, resulting in "an average energy reduction of 29 percent per building." Other conservation efforts include a steam trap maintenance program, the installation of energy recovery wheels, the use of 30 percent of the university's deferred maintenance program funds to purchase energy-related components, the purchase of six 100 percent electric vehicles and 19 gas-electric hybrid vehicles for the campus service fleet, and the installation of a biodiesel tank. Thanks to a bolstered recycling program, UIUC now boasts an impressive 55 percent waste-diversion rate. In an effort to promote these and future green initiatives, the Student Sustainability Committee has created two new funds: Clean Energy Technology and Sustainable Campus Environment.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst, the flagship campus of the Commonwealth, is a national leader in sustainability. President Obama recently recognized UMass Amherst when the campus won first place among 1,500 colleges in the annual White House College Champions of Change Competition. UMass students, faculty, and staff are proud to learn, live, and lead green. Sustainability is part of academic life. Twenty-five of nearly 90 undergraduate majors are sustainability related, while more than 250 courses include some sustainability emphasis. And three new graduate programs encourage advanced study in sustainability, including an accelerated Master's in Sustainability Science. Students also lead campus-wide green initiatives. Eighty student Eco-Reps are charged with promoting sustainability practices in the residence halls, while Sustainability Fellows oversee sustainability activities ranging from Green Games and Sustainable Move-out to the Green Office Program. Students also direct the blue-ribbon UMass Permaculture Initiative, run a new U.S. Green Building Council student chapter, and serve on the Chancellor's Sustainability Committee. And the campus continues its long commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. The award-winning central heating plant provides 100 percent of heating and 73 percent of electrical needs on campus, while a comprehensive recycling and composting program diverts 56 percent of waste from landfills. Every new building since 2011 has been certified LEED Gold, with 13 LEED-registered projects under way. Sustainability is also a main ingredient of the university's top-rated dining services, which purchases 28 percent of its produce locally and is one of the largest in-house dining programs to sign the Real Food Challenge Commitment. Most recently, the new Sustainability Engagement Fund awards grants to students, faculty, and staff to develop sustainable solutions for campus.
The University of South Florida Bulls are determined to see a Sustain-A-Bull USF. The Student Government Association just approved a $1-per-credit-hour green fee to be used for the purchase of renewable energy. Each year, USF hosts the Campus and Community Sustainability Conference, which is open to participants interested in sharing best practices for Florida's sustainable future. USF also recently put on a "Going Green Tampa Bay EXPO," which showcased sustainable products and services available in the area to 3,000 visitors. An ACUPCC signatory, USF has incorporated sustainability into its strategic plan and established a Sustainability Initiative on campus with 14 subcommittees. It is also dedicated to ensuring that all new buildings achieve LEED Silver or better (there are seven buildings in the design phase or already under construction that will pursue LEED certification in the upcoming years). The university is home to 18 environmental student groups, including Emerging Green Builders, Engineers for a Sustainable World and the Student Sustainability Initiative. Each year, USF hosts a Green Jobs Fair in conjunction with the Campus and Community Sustainability Conference. Undergraduates are taught sustainability as part of the school's mandatory core curriculum. The College of Business at USF has also added a green job component to the MBA Building Sustainable Enterprise track. Students at USF get access to free bus passes, universal access transit passes and a guaranteed ride home, perks that save money and reduce single-driver car rides. Now about 15 percent of student trips to and from campus are through alternative transportation.
As you'd expect of a university surrounded by one of the nation's greatest forests, University of Washington (UW) takes sustainability seriously and promotes ecologically sound practices. UW's Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC) 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, has achieved LEED Gold and features solar shading landscaping, under-floor displacement ventilation and a chiller with oil-free magnetic bearings, as well as plenty of green gadgets that optimize energy efficiency. UW's comprehensive composting and recycling program is responsible for diverting 57 percent of the school's total waste from landfills. In order to reduce utility and increase energy efficiency, UW has installed solar panels, retrofitted fixtures and replaced 1,800 old toilets, resulting in an estimated 50 million gallons of water saved yearly, with all energy conservation efforts saving nearly $50 million over 10 years. Fifty-three 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. UW also created 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. Finally, UW initiated the first-ever Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF), a student-initiated fee that supports campus projects with an environmental impact and high student engagement.
University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point 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—which features a pilot wastewater treatment plant, a composting lab, a microbiology lab and an adjoining recycling center. 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, along with the work of the on-campus Resource Recovery Center, combine to achieve an impressive 40 percent waste-diversion rate. UWSP also demonstrates examples of how students, faculty, staff and the public can live in environmentally friendly and affordable ways with 5 of 13 residence halls using solar panels with plans to add panels to additional halls when renovated. The panels are used to heat domestic water. 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 an Environmental and Sustainability Issues Committee. UWSP's new residence hall received LEED Gold in November 2012. The residence hall program derives an impressive 35 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.