Sierra Magazine Announces 2015 Rankings of America’s Greenest Colleges and Universities
Annual “Cool Schools” issue shows new trends in campus sustainability
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Sierra magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, released its ninth annual “Cool Schools” ranking of America’s greenest colleges and universities. Each of the schools ranked in the top 20 have displayed a deep and thorough commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate issues, and encouraging environmental responsibility.
Four of the top 10 feature a high percentage of Latino students, a reflection of the communities they serve.
More than 150 schools filled out Sierra’s extensive survey about sustainability practices on campus. Using a customized scoring system, Sierra’s researchers ranked the universities based on their commitment to upholding high environmental standards.
“We’re so inspired to see how colleges are taking the lead on addressing climate change,” said Avital Andrews, Sierra magazine’s lifestyle editor. “From building green to saving water to offering hundreds of eco-classes, these schools’ efforts are profound, and are changing not only the campus grounds, but also the minds of the students they’re educating.”
Sierra magazine’s top 20 schools of 2015 are:
• University of California, Irvine (24 percent Latino)
• University of California, Davis
• University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh
• Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)
• Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH)
• University of Connecticut
• University of California, San Diego
• University of Washington, Seattle
• Lewis & Clark College (Portland, OR)
• University of California, Berkeley
This is UC Irvine’s sixth consecutive year as a top 10 finalist, and its second time in a row as Sierra’s winner, thanks in part to three on-campus solar projects, a 19-megawatt turbine cogeneration plant, and energy-efficiency goals that are consistently exceeded.
Other factors that helped those at the top of our list: dining halls that serve organic, local foods; waste systems that divert trash away from landfills; transportation options that keep students and staff out of cars; academic programs that are heavily eco-focused; and strong methods in place to conserve water and energy.
“Young people understand the need to confront climate disruption and jump-start our economy. That’s why students across the country have joined the Sierra Student Coalition’s Seize the Grid campaign—demanding 100 percent localized clean energy on campuses,” said Karissa Gerhke, National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition. “‘Cool Schools’ is a showcase of campuses taking concrete steps toward those goals. We look forward to working with these schools in taking the next step and committing to 100 percent clean energy.”
The full ranking of 153 colleges, including each school’s completed questionnaire, is online at www.sierraclub.org/coolschools
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