With regard to our nation’s new found desire to create a sustainable planet (we’re only a few decades overdue on this point) it is vital that we incorporate this philosophy into our education system. In this light college campuses across the nation (and around the world) have been leading the charge by creating Green campuses.
The Best Colleges
Each year The Princeton Review publishes a list of the best colleges based based on their survey of students attending the 371 colleges in its book, Best 371 Colleges. Just over 122,000 students at the 371 schools completed an 80-question survey in which they were asked to rate their own schools on various topics and report on their campus experiences at them.
For all the results, you can buy a copy here, but in this post we’re focusing on the best in Green.
2010 Green Rating Honor Roll
- Arizona State University, Tempe campus
- Bates College (Lewiston, Me.)
- Binghamton University (State University of New York at Binghamton)
- College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, Me.)
- Colorado College (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
- Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pa.)
- Evergreen State College (Olympia, Wash.)
- Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Harvard College (Cambridge, Mass.)
- Middlebury College (Middlebury, Vt.)
- Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
- University of California (Berkeley, Calif.)
- University of New Hampshire (Durham, N.H.)
- University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.)
- Yale University (New Haven, Conn.)
The Green Rating
The Green Rating is based on questions that evaluate the comprehensive measure of a school’s performance as an environmentally aware and responsible institution. Specifically, it includes:
- Whether students have a campus quality of life that is both healthy and sustainable.
- How well a school is preparing students not only for employment in the clean energy economy of the 21st century, but also for citizenship in a world now defined by environmental challenges.
- How environmentally responsible a school’s policies are.
The questions asked were developed in consultation with ecoAmerica, a research and partnership-based environmental nonprofit that convened an expert committee to design this comprehensive ranking system.
In conducting the research schools were asked questions about their efforts to provide and develop an environmentally responsible student experience. Their corresponding Green Rating is on a scale of 60-99. Colleges that did not supply answers to a sufficient number of the sustainability questions receive a Green Rating of 60* (sixty with an asterisk)
Some of the questions asked include:
- What percentage of food expenditures go toward local, organic or otherwise environmentally preferable food?
- Does the school offer programs including free bus passes, universal access transit passes, bike sharing/renting, car sharing, carpool parking, vanpooling or guaranteed rides home to encourage alternatives to single-passenger automobile use for students?
- Does the school have a formal committee with participation from students that is devoted to advancing sustainability on campus?
- Are new buildings required to be LEED Silver certified or comparable?
- What is the school’s overall waste diversion rate?
- Does the school have an environmental studies major, minor or concentration?
- Has the school produced a publicly available greenhouse gas emissions inventory and adopted a climate action plan consistent with 80 percent greenhouse gas reductions by 2050 targets?
- What percentage of the school’s energy consumption, including heating/cooling and electrical, is derived from renewable resources (including ‘green tags’, but not including nuclear or large scale hydro power)?
- Does the school employ a full-time (or full-time equivalent) sustainability officer?
“The ‘green’ movement on college campuses is far more than an Earth Day recycling project,” says Robert Franek, the vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. “It is growing tremendously among students and administrators alike. This year, we saw a 30 percent increase in the number of colleges participating in our Green Rating survey. Many have shown extraordinary commitments to environmental issues and to the environment in their practices and programs.”
Global Patriot salutes these and all other colleges who are making the effort to lead by example and create a learning environment based on Green practices. In this way the graduating classes will have the skills, motivation and mindset to move our society in the direction of sustainability.