With the current trend toward eco-friendliness, you may be wondering where colleges and universities rank. The green trend is apparent in all areas of U.S. life, from corporations to our households, and colleges are no different.
To analyze how green colleges and universities are, the Sustainable Endowments Institute analyzed over 300 U.S. colleges and universities and published the College Sustainability Report Card. This report card identifies the schools that are showing their commitment to the environment and sustainability, with a key goal being helping interested students find schools that share their green concerns for their college degrees.
To research the schools, the institute gathered data using independent research and surveys sent to school administrators. Schools were analyzed in nine categories, including administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, student involvement and transportation.
Schools are chosen by the size of their endowment; colleges and universities with the largest endowments in the U.S. and Canada are included in the report, as well as schools that applied to be included in the findings. A total of 32 schools applied to be included in the most recent survey. This survey looks solely at 4-year colleges and universities, not community colleges or online schools.
In this year’s study, the findings showed that schools scored best in the administration and food and recycling categories. And that more than two-thirds of the school have hired full-time staff to deal with sustainability issues. Currently, 68% of the schools have sustainability staff, and other schools have plans to hire staff to deal with these issues. Also, over half of the schools have committed to carbon reduction efforts; many have also signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which is designed to promote carbon neutrality. Also, nearly half of the schools have invested some of their endowment in renewable energy, and others are exploring these investments in the future.
Schools across the country received the highest grades on the report card, from the University of Minnesota to the University of New Hampshire, the University of Pennsylvania to the University of California at both Davis and San Diego. Smaller liberal-arts colleges also made the cut, including Brown, Carleton, Dickinson, Middlebury, Oberlin, Smith and Williams.
Environmentally conscious students seeking 4-year colleges, rather than community colleges or online schools, can use the report card along with their Campus Explorer college search to find schools that suit their needs. The more tools students have in their arsenal to help them plan for college, the more likely it is that they’re complete their college degrees.
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