Clearly there is increasing interest in attending colleges that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility. As reported in The Princeton Review two-thirds of university applicants say that they are interested in a school’s environmental report card, this is a 4 percent increase over last year’s results. One quarter of respondents indicated that such information would “very much” impact on their decision to apply to or attend the school.
The Princeton Review’s second annual Green Ratings of colleges measured environmental friendliness on a scale of 60 to 99. Here are the schools named to the “2010 Green Rating Honor Roll” all of whom received the highest possible score (99). Here is The Green Economy Post’s review of Princeton’s top 15 schools as measured by their policies, practices, and academic offerings.
Arizona State University at the Tempe campus – Established the School of Sustainability in 2007, the first of its kind in the US. The Tempe campus has the largest collection of energy-providing solar panels on a single U.S. university campus. The School also provides a number of commuter programs.
Bates College (Lewiston ME) – The new dining commons was built to LEED Silver equivalence. It is self-ventilated and uses 100 percent Maine renewable electricity. Most food waste is either recycled, composted, or sent to a food bank or pig farmer. Thirty percent of the college’s total food budget is spent locally. The school also offers a bicycle co-op, a van pool program, and a Zipcar program.
Binghamton University (State Univ. of New York at Binghamton) – They recycle or compost more than 90 percent of their current service ware. Approximately 2,500 pounds of compostable waste is collected around campus every year. The Binghamton campus encompasses almost 900 acres of land, a large proportion of which is officially designated as the Nature Preserve.
College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor ME) – The school has been carbon neutral since 2007. All electricity comes from renewable hydropower; and some buildings are heated via renewable wood pellets. The school’s primary major is human ecology and they now offer an undergraduate green and socially responsible business program. The school’s partially wind powered farm (Beech Hill Farm) offers organic produce to campus, local schools and food banks. All new buildings feature composting bins in the kitchens and composting toilets.
Colorado College (Colorado Springs CO) – The college has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 378 metric tons of carbon dioxide and saved almost $100,000 in utility costs. The college dining service purchases food from the school’s organic garden and food waste from the dining service is used as compost. The school’s 25-kilowatt solar PV array is the largest in the Colorado Springs Utilities service area.
Dickinson College (Carlisle PA) – Established the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education in 2008 to integrate the environment and sustainability across the college curriculum. Students collected used fryer oil to produce 1500 gallons of biodiesel annually for the college’s equipment. Extensive composting includes compostable tableware.
Evergreen State College (Olympia WA) – It is set on one thousand acres and provides a broad range of environmentally oriented courses. The Curriculum for the Bioregion incorporates environmental and sustainability issues into general education college courses throughout the region. The Center for Sustainable Entrepreneurship was recently launched by students to provide a vehicle for them to put their business skills to use in socially responsible ventures. Many vehicles are electric and the college’s electricity comes from renewable sources.
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta) – Sustainability is a key component of the Campus’ Master Plan. All vendors provide green products and the school’s cleaning equipment uses 70 percent less water and 90 percent less chemicals than traditional equipment. The football game day recycling program collected nearly 12 tons of aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles from home game attendees.
Harvard College (Cambridge MA) – Proceeding towards the goal of reducing emissions by 30% below a 2006 baseline by 2016. Many building are working towards achieving LEED certification. The school has a 55% recycling rate, a drive-alone rate of only 16.5, as well as renewable energy projects on campus and composting.
Middlebury College (Middlebury VT) – The nation’s oldest undergraduate environmental studies program. The school is on track to become carbon neutral by 2016. It operates a biomass gasification plant for heating, cooling and electricity and reduces the college’s net carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent.
Northeastern University (Boston MA) – The largest residence hall in the United States to meet LEED Gold certification. Northeastern University began integrating energy conservation into its facilities management plans in the 1980s and recently replaced 70,000 traditional lamps with fluorescent lamps that will reduce carbon emissions by 686 tons annually. “Project Clean Plate”, is the school’s food composting initiative.
University of California – Berkeley – Has over 2000 energy efficiency initiatives designed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2014. Student projects have reduced energy consumption by over 8.5 million kWh and water usage by 3 million gallons. The university’s primary food service operator was the first in the country to receive organic certification. Berkeley has more than 80 academic degrees, 90 research centers, and 25 student-run organizations with an environmental focus.
University of New Hampshire (Durham) – 85 percent of its electricity and heat are from purified landfill gas from a nearby Waste Management landfill. Earlier this year, the school became the first university in the nation to receive the majority of its campus energy needs from landfill gas. The University also has the largest public transit system in New Hampshire, with most of its vehicles running on biodiesel and compressed natural gas. The school has a growing focus on sustainable agriculture.
University of Washington (Seattle) – All new campus buildings will meet at least the LEED Silver standard. The school purchases only renewable power. They emphasize local organic foods and they are working toward a zero-waste goal. They also have one of the most extensive composting programs in the country.
Yale University (New Haven CT) – The school has implemented solar and wind projects to provide renewable energy. It also has its own co-generation power plant and is building another. Kroon Hall, the new home of its school of Forestry & Environmental Studies is a model of energy-saving design and is expected to earn a LEED Platinum certification. The Yale Sustainable Food Project directs a sustainable dining program, manages an organic farm and runs diverse educational programs.
Read more about the green rating methodology of The Princeton Review web site.
The Shining Stars of Green Schools
Green Schools are Cool
Sierra Magazines Green Schools
Back to School Environmental Tool Kit
Top 10 College Environmental Programs
Back to School (2008)
Back to School Mobile Marketing Campaigns