In the summer of 2017, The Princeton Review – a test-prep and college admissions services company – conducted an analysis and ranking of the eco-friendliness of 629 schools.
Results are based on schools’ self-reported sustainability-related policies, practices and programs, as well as student ratings of how sustainability issues influenced their education and life on campus, administration and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts, and the visibility and impact of student environmental groups.
This year’s ‘greenest’ schools are…
10. The University Of California, Davis
UC Davis programs reduce greenhouse gas emissions, over 20% of the food served is considered sustainable, and over 75% of waste is diverted from landfills. UC Davis is in the top-10 environmental studies undergraduate programs in the U.S. Clean buses and bikes abound.
9. Stanford University
The school allocated over $900 million over recent decades in sustainability research, emission-reduction infrastructure and energy efficiency. The school recently released an energy and climate plan to reduce emissions and save water on campus. Its recycling program diverts 65 percent of solid waste from landfills.
8. Colorado State University
According to Princeton Review’s analysis, CSU has the highest score of all universities in the STARS reporting system. The university boasts thirteen LEED Gold buildings. It brought online a 30-acre solar plant and diverts 93 percent of the food waste to landfill. It’s tree nursery produces 2 million seedlings annually.
7. Cornell University
Students can access 400+ courses and twenty-eight majors to study sustainability. Cornell is implementing a plan to be carbon neutral by 2050 and has invested $46 million in energy conservation. There are over forty active green clubs on campus. More than 64% of waste on campus is recycled or composted.
6. St. Mary’s College of Maryland
SMCM derives 63% of its energy consumption from renewable sources and offsets 115% of its electricity consumption through Renewable Energy Certificates. Has signed the Talloires Declaration and the ACUPCC, and is working towards its goal of becoming climate neutral.
5. Dickinson College
Dickinson was one of the first institutions to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Has a “silver” rating as a Bicycle Friendly University from the League of American Bicyclists. Is implementing a Plan to reduce its greenhouse emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2020.
4. University of Vermont
The Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources offers majors in forestry, wildlife and fisheries biology, and natural resources. Energy efficiency investments have yielded financial savings and helped the university move closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025.
3. Colby College
Colby achieved carbon neutrality in 2013, the fourth college in the country to do so. Its environmental studies program is among the oldest offered at U.S. liberal arts colleges. Colby’s campus has 12 LEED-certified buildings, and 15% of the campus square footage is LEED-certified space.
2. State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
SUNY-ESF is the only school in the nation where all of its academic programs are oriented toward natural resources and designed environments. The school is committed to becoming carbon neutral in the next three years.
1. College of the Atlantic
The diminutive college routinely conducts energy audits of the campus to make buildings more energy-efficient. It also focuses on providing local, organic food to its students and staff and has its own organic farm off campus. All food waste is composted, and the campus solar charger is open to the public for free.