A total of 24 schools made the Princeton Review’s 2015 Green Honor Roll. Each of these schools received a score of 99 (the highest possible score). A total of 861 colleges were assessed for the 2015 Green Honor Roll. To get the scores of all the schools get the 2015 edition of The Best 379 Colleges and The Complete Book of Colleges.
In alphabetical order, here are the two dozen schools on the 2015 Green Honor Roll:
American University (Washington, DC)
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 twenty 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 twenty-five buildings on campus are participating in a LEED Volume Existing Building certification project. These twenty-five 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 ten years. Eco-Sense works hand-in-hand with departments across campus to implement sustainability initiatives.
Colgate University (Hamilton, NY)
Ever since becoming a signatory of the Clean Air-Cool Planet Climate Action Plan way back in 2004, Colgate has been at the forefront of the green movement. And their efforts are truly paying off! Notably, the university expects to achieve climate neutrality by 2019 (coincidentally their bicentennial). Energy saving measures have already been implemented on campus; the university encourages the purchase of Energy Star appliances, lighting, motion sensors, and computer sleep protocols, and operates a low emission, diesel powered, free shuttle service to help cut down on carbon emissions on campus and in the surrounding community. But the real feather in Colgate’s hat is its successful conversion to clean energy sources to power the campus. Today, the university derives 100 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric or nuclear power, and 75 percent of its heating needs from an on-campus, woodchip-burning heating plant (Sayonara, fossil fuels). This plant helped Colgate avoid consuming the equivalent of 1.17 million gallons of fuel oil and saved the university more than $1.8 million in heating costs. Colgate’s location in a prosperous agricultural area affords the university incredible opportunities to support the local farming community. Already, Colgate’s Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education collects hundreds of pounds of unused food at the end of the year and donates it to a local food bank or shelter. New buildings on campus must pursue LEED Silver, and architectural consultants who work on renovations of existing buildings must themselves be LEED Accredited Professionals. One shining example is Colgate’s Trudy Fitness Center, a state-of-the-art 15,000-square-foot facility, which attained LEED Silver.
Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)
Colorado State University has signed both the Talloires Declaration and ACUPCC, and historically the university has racked up some impressive sustainability accolades. CSU has the second highest score of all universities in the STARS reporting system. The university boasts a veritable LEED fleet with eleven LEED Gold buildings and several more pending certification. It was also the first university to collect data via satellite for weather forecasting, and it founded the first emissions control program in the United States, an invaluable resource for reducing greenhouse gases on campus. In addition, CSU was also one of the first universities nationwide to offer green power to its students. CSU brought online a 15-acre solar plant (2,000-kilowatt array with an annual expected output of 3.5 million kilowatt hours), which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 5.5 million pounds each year. Another solar array addition has also gone live, totalling over five megawatts. CSU’s recycling program works actively to ensure that all recyclable waste avoids the landfill by increasing the number of recycling bins around campus and investing in a new truck. CSU also has a taste for culinary sustainability: The campus-based, student-run Aspen Grille is the second Green Seal-certified restaurant in Colorado and provides environmentally minded cuisine by purchasing locally produced meats, cheeses, and produce. Furthering its commitment to local sustainability, CSU’s Forest Service tree nursery produces 2 million seedlings annually in order to reduce carbon monoxide and to provide even more greenery for the surrounding area.
Columbia University (New York, NY)
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 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 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 the first Platinum 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, 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.
Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
At Cornell University, students can choose from more than 400 courses and twenty-eight majors to study sustainability in every college. The 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 advances the local and national conversation on sustainability through activities that engage government agencies and officials, foundations, businesses, NGOs, and others. Cornell is implementing a plan to be carbon neutral by 2050 and achieved a 32 percent carbon emissions reduction since 2008. Another critical part of Cornell’s carbon reduction strategy is a $46 million investment in energy conservation. Transportation Services provides free bus passes to freshman and staff, and offers incentives to use Ithaca Carshare, vanpools, public transportation, and the student-run Big Red Bikes, bike-share program. The award-winning Cornell Dining was rated the #2 most vegan-friendly food service program. There are over forty active green clubs 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 64 percent of waste on campus is recycled or composted, including 550 tons of food from the dining halls. Cornell considers itself a care-taker 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 8 LEED Gold buildings, and a policy for all new major construction to obtain LEED Silver and 30 percent more energy-efficient than national standards.
Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA)
Though renewable energy credits purchased for half of its energy, 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 17-member President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability focuses on how the College can commit to a more sustainable future by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, creating innovative programs for living laboratory learning, educating the campus and community and developing cost-saving initiatives to increase energy efficiency. In line with this, former Dickinson President William Durden signed the ACUPCC, an agreement that involves Dickinson furthering its goals of developing a sustainable energy management and renewable energy infrastructure. Since then, Dickinson’s sustainability commitment has been part of its strategic efforts across all facets of the College. Ever raising the bar, all buildings constructed since 2008 have achieved LEED Gold certification, surpassing the college’s LEED Silver standard. Now that’s leadership! What’s more, the college has created a Climate Action Plan to achieve the gold standard of climate neutrality by 2020. Dickinson students have been a central part of its commitment to sustainability. The Center for Sustainability Education creates learning opportunities that advance the knowledge and skills necessary for creating a just and sustainable world. Dickinsonians receive hands-on learning experiences in renewable energy technology at Dickinson’s Biodiesel Shop, an initiative that also provides its organically-certified College Farm machinery with a sustainable alternative to diesel fuel. Dickinson’s commitment to sustainability follows from their long-standing mission—to prepare young people, by means of a useful education in the liberal arts and sciences, for engaged lives of citizenship and leadership in the service of society.
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
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 1,400,000 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 twenty-one endowed chairs and thirty research centers focusing on sustainability, Georgia Tech is home to the Strategic Energy Institute, which focuses on alternative energy and energy efficiency, the Institute for Sustainable Systems, the Sustainable Design and Manufacturing Center, and more. Georgia Tech, a President’s Climate Commitment signatory, continues to encourage investing in energy and water efficiency by being a Found Circle partner for the “Billion Dollar Green Challenge” and participating in the “Atlanta Better Building Challenge. The school offers more than 350 courses with a sustainability focus with the goal that every student take at least one sustainability focused 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.”
Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT)
“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 degree 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 Sustainability 2020 which 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; forty-six percent of graduates pursue careers in the green jobs sector.
Harvard College (Cambridge, MA)
Harvard College, a school renowned for its innovation and leadership, is proving that “Green is the new Crimson.” In recent years, 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 16 percent, including growth. On campus, the university has eighty-eight LEED-certified buildings and an additional twenty-five 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 52 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—33–70 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 fueling collaboration across disciplines. 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.
Iowa State University (Ames, IA)
Live Green! is Iowa State University’s campus-wide sustainability initiative, laying the foundation for the campus to become as green as possible. Live Green! has already led to the hiring of a Director of Sustainability, the creation of a thirteen-member Advisory Committee on Energy Conservation and Global Climate Change, and the establishment of a Live Green Loan Fund for energy conservation and sustainability projects. The university’s commitment to sustainable operations is highlighted by its requirement that all new construction and major renovation projects on campus achieve LEED Gold. In fact, the university’s College of Design addition and the State Gym recreational facility have both achieved LEED Platinum. Additionally, the school has signed a contract with the city of Ames allowing for 10 percent of the university’s electrical energy to be derived from wind. All four of the residential dining centers on campus were made trayless, reducing food waste by 50 percent. Food waste is composted at the university’s compost facility and utilized for on-campus projects, and prepared leftover food is donated to a free meal program in the community. Students have participated in the Solar Decathlon, an internationally recognized team competition to design, build, and operate energy-efficient solar-powered homes. The GreenHouse Group works to promote recycling at each campus residence and the school participates in Adopt Campus, a program initiated by Keep Iowa State Beautiful to promote campus cleanup. Interested in studying green? You’re in luck. Iowa State offers an interdisciplinary sustainability minor and more than 800 green courses in more than forty departments that focus on sustainability. Want to “green your drive?” Recent implementation of a carshare program offers alternative transportation service designed to help reduce the university’s carbon footprint.
Lewis & Clark College (Portland, OR)
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 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.
Portland State University (Portland, OR)
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 jumpstarted 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.
Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA)
As a Jesuit institution, Santa Clara University is especially invested in encouraging environmental justice and leading the way towards more sustainable living practices for the benefit of society at large. That philosophy is reflected in the university’s curriculum: thirty departments at SCU now offer courses with a sustainability component. For students who hope to pursue green careers, SCU offers majors in environmental science, environmental studies, and a plethora of resources about green careers and internships. But students don’t have to wait until graduation to make a difference. SCU students have participated in three U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competitions, where they have built fully-functional solar homes. Their 2013 Radiant House focused on efficiency, elegance, and economy—and incorporated bamboo! SCU’s Experiential Learning for Social Justice requires all undergraduates to participate in communitybased learning, which often involves environmental justice projects. The Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project (SLURP) supports year-long research projects on ways to make residence life more sustainable. With help from SLURP, teams of students have coordinated the installation of water fountains to cut usage of plastic bottles, studied the effectiveness of fair trade and energy conservation campaigns on campus, and produced documentaries about campus sustainability. All SCU undergraduates can choose to live in the CyPhi green residence hall, which currently houses 20 percent of campus residents. An ACUPCC signatory, AASHE member, and STARS Silver-rated, SCU set a goal to become carbon neutral by the end of 2015.
Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
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 the 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 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.
State University Of New York—Stony Brook University
(Stony Brook, NY)
The State University of New York—Stony Brook University has a long history of green awareness and environmental sustainability: The Environmental Defense Fund was cofounded by a Stony Brook professor in 1967. Since then, Stony Brook University has signed the ACUPCC, created an Office of Sustainability and manages a vibrant environmental sustainability program. Today, the University’s comprehensive sustainability studies program includes bachelor’s degrees in everything from coastal environmental studies to environmental humanities. Stony Brook University is home to a variety of buildings with green features, including the Advanced Energy Center, Frey Hall, Marine Sciences Research Center, Nobel Halls, Simons Center for Geometry & Physics, Student Recreation Center, Southampton Library and West Side Dining. The University utilizes a variety of solar and energy-efficient solutions, including solar powered shelter lighting, solar pay stations as well as LED lighting. The SBU Transit bus fleet has been operating on a biodiesel since 2005, and includes multiple electric and hybrid vehicles. In addition to transit, SBU offers an automated bike share system that allows the community to access bicycles at various solar powered stations on campus. In June, 2006, in an effort to decrease utility costs, the University invested in facility infrastructure improvements that continue to reduce energy costs in excess of $4 million annually. More recently, the University is partnering with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to create a campus Master Energy Plan. From this Plan, additional energy conservation projects will be identified and funded through the utility savings. The University has gone paperless in many departments, and various recycling initiatives engage students, faculty and staff and generates more than 50 tons of recycled materials annually.
University of California–Irvine (Irvine, CA)
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 at a minimum. In fact, eight buildings on campus have achieved LEED Gold and eleven have achieved LEED Platinum. 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 43.6 million vehicle miles and 14,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Even UC Irvine’s Dining Services is working to combat wastefulness. Even UC Irvine’s Dining Services is working to combat wastefulness. A study was conducted showing trays caused 430 pounds of food waste per day. By eliminating trays, waste was reduced by 180 pounds in 2008. Through further education of students and employees, waste was reduced an additional 70 pounds in 2009. Since then, the total number of residents and meals served have increased dramatically. Waste per day at the dining commons is 237 pounds, but waste per person has continued to decrease significantly to 1.41 oz./person per meal.
University of California–Santa Barbara
(Santa Barbara, CA)
UC Santa Barbara 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 in 2008, and is an early signatory to the ACUPCC, committing the campus to carbon neutrality by 2050. The UCSB Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee assembles administrators, deans, Nobel Laureates, senior faculty, staff and students to guide campus sustainability initiatives and policy. Home to thirty-two sustainability-oriented student organizations and an incredibly environmentally conscious student body, UCSB was one of the first Universities in the country to establish a student-governed renewable energy fund sponsoring large scale green energy projects. This complements The Green Initiative Fund—awarding grant money for projects that reduce the campus’ environmental impact—and The Coastal Fund, which has allocated nearly $1.5 million to hundreds of local projects dedicated to conservation of the UCSB coastline. The campus is currently installing a 400-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array coupled with twelve electric vehicle charging stations for public use on campus. UCSB boasts twenty-nine LEED-certified buildings and the nation’s first double Platinum LEED building (Bren Hall), and campus practice for all new construction and renovation is LEED Gold certification. UCSB was recognized by the EPA as one of the nation’s best workplaces for alternative transportation, and the campus has extensive waste reduction and composting programs.
University Of Colorado at Colorado Springs
(Colorado Springs, CO)
University of Colorado – Colorado Springs is serious about its commitment to going green. An original signatory to the ACUPCC back in 2007, UCCS has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality. Fortunately, the university has implemented a number of initiatives in order to attain that lofty goal! To begin with, after securing a $1.3 million bond for energy and conservation projects, the university began retrofitting the lighting in a number of buildings. These retrofits provide approximately 40% in energy savings, improve illumination and help reduce the university’s carbon footprint. Just as commendable, UCCS has pledged that the university will seek a minimum of LEED Silver certification for all new construction. What’s more, the school actually has several LEED Gold certified buildings already. This includes the Campus Recreation Center which was designed to be 32% more energy efficient than a conventional building and includes a solar thermal system. Beyond construction, UCCS has also endeavored to create a robust recycling program. In order to increase efforts, the university has implemented single-stream recycling. This seems to be paying off as in recent academic years, UCCS recycled 175,409 pounds of materials and 156,630 pounds of compost! Speaking of compost, the university’s dining services certainly plays an important role in the school’s sustainability initiatives. For example, the coffee served on campus is Fair Trade Certified. Additionally, organic and local foods are always purchased when possible. And an organic vegetable garden maintained at the Heller Center is used to teach students and the surrounding community about local, organic food, nutrition and sustainable agriculture practices.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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 standards. UIUC is actively restructuring its energy accounting system and, as an incentive to conserve resources, will charge for units for 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 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, buildings at UIUC have been retrofitted, resulting in “an average energy reduction of 27 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 nineteen 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.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University of Massachusetts Amherst 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. Sustainability is part of academic life. Twenty five of nearly ninety undergraduate majors are sustainability-related, while more than 300 courses include some sustainability emphasis. And three new graduate programs encourage advanced study in sustainability, including an accelerated master’s in sustainability science. 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 USGBC student chapter, and serve on the Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee. 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 thirteen LEED-registered projects underway. 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.
University Of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)
University of New Hampshire boasts the oldest endowed sustainability program among colleges and universities nationwide, and it is this Sustainability Institute that has worked to develop “UNH’s unique sustainable learning community model” as well as promote sustainability locally, statewide, and regionally. UNH has a comprehensive Climate Education Initiative and is a member of the ACUPCC, both of which have propelled the campus to become the first institution of higher education in the United States to meet a significant portion of its energy needs with landfill gas. Talk about renewable: UNH is powering its campus with enriched and purified natural gas, courtesy of the local landfill, meaning that every bit of trash that ends up there ends up powering the school while lowering energy costs and decreasing environmental impact. UNH sells Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from this project and reinvests part of the proceeds back into energy efficiency initiatives on campus. Seventy percent of UNH”s heating and 28 percent of total energy are provided by renewable energy sources. UNH also extends its commitment to sustainability to local farms by being the first land grant university to have an organic dairy farm and education/research center. This dairy is an integral part of the university’s Food and Society Initiative, which seeks to both encourage healthy food production and consumption habits as well as support suppliers of local and organic foods. UNH offers a unique dual major in Eco-gastronomy for undergraduates that includes a study abroad component in Italy and France. UNH also offers sustainability internships that help interested students find work experience at sustainability-focused organizations in New Hampshire and beyond.
University Of Vermont (Burlington, VT)
With hometown Burlington known for its hippie vibe, and its location on the edge of a lake that touches not just two states but also two countries, it makes sense that the University of Vermont is an overwhelmingly green campus. The UVM Environmental Program is forty years old and offers interdisciplinary and individually designed concentrations, including a track in Sustainability Studies. The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources offers majors in forestry, wildlife and fisheries biology, and natural resources. Internships, class projects, and lectures—like the George D. Aiken Lecture Series on conservation topics—bring together campus and community members to increase awareness of and create solutions for environmental problems. UVM’s Office of Sustainability tracks environmental performance, recommends environmentally responsible practices, and works with the university community on environmental projects. Recent energy efficiency investments around campus have yielded millions of dollars in savings and helped the university move incrementally closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. Additionally, the university has developed a Clean Energy Fund which generates $225,000 each year to support renewable energy projects on campus—ideas for such projects come from the university community. Much of the advanced research performed on campus relates to healthy and sustainable communities, and the Office of Community-University Partnerships and Service Learning supports collaborative projects between the university and the surrounding area. Each year, the career service office hosts a Vermont Green Jobs and Internships Day. UVM is home to two environmentally focused residence halls. Student activism has ended sales of bottled water and brought 100 percent recycled paper towels and toilet paper to campus.
University Of Victoria (Victoria, BC)
University of Victoria certainly strives to be a leader in the green movement. Indeed, the school is always looking for ways it can implement creative sustainable practices. And its’ hard work and ingenuity are definitely paying off. Aiming to be a zero-waste institution, UVic has installed over 60 recycling stations throughout the campus. Impressively, it even has a portable water bottle filling station available during school events. Moreover, roughly 72% of all food waste is composted. Water management is also essential to the university’s sustainability initiatives. To that end, sensor faucets and low flow toilets have been installed in a number of buildings. And a state-of-the-art irrigation system helps to reduce the use of irrigation during the summer months. Practices like these will definitely help ensure that UVic reaches its goal of cutting water consumption by 25% in 2015! Naturally, when it comes to the campus grounds, sustainability is also at the forefront. The university has worked diligently to remove all toxic chemicals from its routine landscape management. Additionally, UVic has instituted a policy decreeing that 75% of all new plants installed on campus are native. Further, the university is allowing selected areas of the campus to become naturalized. This reduces irrigation and saves resources – 8,500 cubic meters of water and $17,000 annually to be exact. Finally, a group of environmental studies students have created the popular Elliot Naturescape Garden Project. The garden promotes increased biodiversity on campus and teaches students how to design and care for a landscape plan.
University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
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. Its sustainability goals involve reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving natural resources, measuring and reporting activities, and increasing interdisciplinary collaboration to foster sustainability in research and curriculum. The university currently has twenty-eight LEED-certified buildings, with thirteen more in the works. Its most recent, the Husky Union Building (HUB), features water use reduction, chemical and pollutant control, optimized energy performance, and reducing heat island effects. Recycling and composting is a way of life at the UW. Its comprehensive waste reduction program provides education, infrastructure and services to minimize waste and maximize reuse. Through these efforts, the UW currently diverts 58 percent of its total waste away from landfills toward organizations that give materials a second life. To reduce utility costs and increase energy efficiency, UW has installed solar panels, retrofit fixtures and replaced 1,800 inefficient toilets. Savings include an estimated 50 million gallons of water annually, avoided costs of nearly $50 million over ten years from all energy conservation efforts. Fifty-three percent of food served on campus is organic, local or fair trade. The university also has a fleet of more than 400 alternative-fuel vehicles. Students are the heart of sustainability on campus. The UW encourages student engagement in sustainability through its Climate Action Plan, outreach efforts, curriculum, research grants, internships and more. Students participate in sustainability-related projects, events, clubs, and even initiated a student fee, called the Campus Sustainability Fund, that goes toward student-led campus projects with environmental impact. The UW maintains a culture of sustainability so that students learn by example and actively contribute to global change, in college and beyond.
Make sure to see the article titled, “Comprehensive
Green School Information and Resources.”
It contains links to over
200 articles covering everything you need to know about sustainable academics,
student’s eco-initiatives, green school buildings, and college rankings as well
as a wide range of related information and resources.