Guide to Green Colleges Released

The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) have released the "The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition," which profiles the greenest higher education institutions in the US (and three in Canada).

The schools were chosen for their notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.  

Schools included in the guide scored high on Princeton Review’s "green rating" system, which weighs criteria such as transportation and construction policies, energy consumption, recycling and waste diversion, environmental studies offerings, greenhouse gas reporting and climate change initiatives, and organic food.

The Princeton Review, best known for its education and test-prep services, prepared the first edition in 2010 to help college-bound students evaluate schools based on green criteria. 

This past fall, the USGBC, known for its LEED building certification systems, launched its Center for Green Schools to  drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated. 

The guide contains: 

  • School profiles with application, admission, financial aid and student enrollment information
  • "Green Highlights" write-ups detailing each school’s most impressive environmental and sustainability initiatives
  • "Green Facts" sidebars reporting statistics and facts on everything from the school’s use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies programs, and green jobs career guidance
  • Identifies schools that have various green distinctions, such as LEED-certified buildings and signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

The section, "Stories from Campus," reports how 10 schools are creatively addressing sustainability issues on their campuses in curriculum, transportation, student involvement and other areas.

"Among 8,200 college applicants who participated in our spring 2011 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school," said Robert Franek, Senior VP, Publishing, The Princeton Review.

Boston-based Suffolk University, for example, offers over 50 courses in sustainabilityranging from business to law to science.

Its building projects incorporate green design: new buildings use water conservation fixtures, energy-efficient lighting and HVAC equipment, and recycled materials. One of its residence halls received LEED Gold certification.

It also composts in café kitchens, offers biking workshops and offers a bottleless water filtration system to reduce bottled water use and miles driven for deliveries. Its reuse/donation program in residence halls reduce garbage, while directing useful items to area charities.

The university has also been recognized for its employee education program on waste reduction and recycling, earning a Gold Achievement Award from the Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise Program, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection awarded it as the 2009 WasteWise "Partner of the Year" for its comprehensive recycling and waste-prevention efforts.

Here’s the guide:

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