Reasons to Love Green Colleges

Nearly two-thirds of the 11,900 teens and parents who took our 2019 College Hopes & Worries Survey told us that “green” issues would affect their decisions about where to apply—and ultimately, enroll.

If matters of sustainability matter to you, you’ll want to read about the interesting, important, and sometimes surprising initiatives that top-ranked colleges have launched. In honor of our tenth annual Guide to Green Colleges, here are ten things you might not know about the top ten schools on our Top 50 Green Colleges list.

1. College of the Atlantic

With 75 percent of its faculty engaged in sustainability research, College of the Atlantic is the first college in the U.S. to focus on the relationship between humans and the environment.


There are a whopping 27 undergrad degree programs focusing on some aspect of environmental stewardship at The State University of New York—College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Sustainability-minded students can earn a B.S. in Conservation Biology, Paper Engineering, or Forest Health.

3. Dickinson College (PA)

Thanks to the College Farm at Dickinson College, vegetables and beef are locally supplied from 12 acres of farmland and 18 acres of animal pasture.

4. University of Vermont

You can’t buy bottled water on campus at the University of Vermont! In addition, undergrads are required to take courses in sustainability, and 13 of the campus’s buildings are LEED-certified.

5. St. Mary's College of Maryland

Renewable sources make up 63 percent of the energy consumption at St. Mary's College of Maryland. The Green St. Mary's Revolving Fund provides loans for sustainability-related projects, which in turn fund additional initiatives.

6. Chatham University (PA)

In 1992, Chatham University launched one of the nation’s first environmental studies programs, and the school is now home to the largest solar thermal project in Pennsylvania.

7. Bowdoin College (ME)

By switching nearly 50-campus buildings from #2 heating oil to natural gas, Bowdoin College was able to achieve carbon neutrality in April 2018, two years ahead of its goal. This has made it only the third college in the country to have fulfilled its ambitious commitment.

8. Colby College (ME)

Roughly 24 percent of the Colby College campus is LEED-certified, with 16 buildings now up to code.

9. Colorado State University

With 25 on-campus electric-car charging stations and 13 solar arrays, Colorado State University is on track to meet its goal of having 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

10. Stanford University (CA)

In the last year, Stanford University's dining facility purchased 67,000 pounds of organic food from a local farm. Plus, the university boasts 12 organic teaching gardens and a greenhouse that grows microgreens and hydroponics.

Read about all 413 Green Colleges, and find your best-fit school.