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  • If you're struggling to whittle down your college list, try considering each school's approach to going green.

    Even if you don't fancy yourself an environmentalist, it's important to recognize that the green programs and policies a school adopts can greatly impact your quality of life.

    For example, would you like to live in a dorm that resembles an institution or a room that's as inviting as a crawl space? Or would you prefer a top-of-the-line residence hall, one that considers environmental factors? Schools like Dartmouth College and Sonoma State account for green aspects when designing buildings. Their new structures incorporate natural lighting, improve air quality and reduce energy and water use. In turn, these attributes foster more welcoming academic and social communities, and result in buildings that feel more resort than dorm, more sports club than gym.

    Going green also improves your quality of life when it comes to dining. Fruits and vegetables transported from across the country are often picked early and then sprayed with chemicals. Wouldn't you rather eat something that has more of its natural vitamins and minerals and isn't coated in pesticides? Schools like Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, understand that food tastes better when it's local and organic. They shun long-distance, low-grade cafeteria food, offering their students only the good stuff.

    Lastly, consider how mobility plays into your standard of living. How "walkable" is a particular campus? Is public transportation accessible? Green schools such as Arizona State University and University of Arkansas-Fayetteville provide a myriad of transportation options, from free bus passes to bike share and even car share programs. You'll definitely appreciate the freedom these choices afford, while lessening your environmental impact.