“Go Green” indeed! Arizona State University has been named one of the nation’s “greenest” universities by the Princeton Review. For the second year in a row, ASU has made the 2010 Green Rating Honor Roll rating of environmentally-friendly institutions. And we’re among some pretty elite neighbors: Harvard, Berkeley and Yale to name a few.
The Princeton Review began its Green Ratings last year with the help of ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental organization that participates in the project. The schools are measured on a scale of 60 to 99 and the schools that made the 2010 Green Rating Honor Roll (go ASU!) received the highest possible score of a 99.
“At Arizona State University, sustainability is a fundamental precept underlying its teaching, learning, research and business missions. ASU President Michael Crow is co-chair of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The Tempe campus has the largest collection of energy-providing solar panels on a single U.S. university campus.
Established in 2007, ASU’s School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the U.S., offers transdisciplinary degree programs that advance practical solutions to environmental, economic and social challenges. The school has over 60 faculty representing over 40 disciplines and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs along with a professional certificate. ASU subsidizes bus and light rail passes for all students and employees and offers car-sharing and a carpool program with special parking privileges. A student-run bicycle co-op offers low- or no-cost bike repairs and free bike rentals.”— The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review names these areas as the criteria for the ratings:
- Whether the school’s students have a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable.
- How well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges.
- The school’s overall commitment to environmental issues. The institutional survey for the rating included ten questions on everything from energy use, recycling, food, buildings, and transportation to academic offerings (availability of environmental studies degrees and courses) and action plans and goals concerning greenhouse gas emission reductions.
And there’s more good news. The publisher of the Princeton Review said that this year there was a 30 percent increase in the number of colleges participating in the Green Rating survey. The Princeton Review has also dedicated a special resource area on its Web site for students that are serious about the environment and are interested in learning more about attending a green college.
As an alumni of ASU I couldn’t be prouder of this achievement. The School of Sustainability is already making a huge step forward and this accomplishment only adds to the school’s ongoing commitment to greener living. This also brings the issue of the environment to the forefront and grabs the attention of a younger audience that will hopefully be motivated to do something about it. Dedication to sustainability is no easy task, but such sizable schools as ASU can certainly make a positive impact on the movement.
Criteria for The Princeton Review Green Rating of Colleges
1) The percentage of food expenditures that goes toward local, organic or otherwise environmentally preferable food.
2) Whether the school offers 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.
3) Whether the school has a formal committee with participation from students that is devoted to advancing sustainability on campus.
4) Whether new buildings are required to be LEED (environmental certification of equipment/appliances) Silver certified or comparable.
5) The school’s overall waste diversion rate.
6) Whether the school has an environmental studies major, minor or concentration.
7) Whether the school has an “environmental literacy” requirement.
8) Whether the school has produced a publicly available greenhouse gas emissions inventory and adopted a climate action plan consistent with 80 percent greenhouse gas reductions by 2050 targets.
9) What percentage of the school’s energy consumption, including heading/cooling and electrical, is derived from renewable sources (this definition included “green tags” but not nuclear or large-scale hydropower).
10) Whether the school employs a dedicated full-time (or full-time equivalent) sustainability officer.
*Source: The Princeton Review