Regardless of which side of the global warming debate you are on, being “green” or environmentally-conscious is something that has its benefits for everyone. So when our institutions of higher learning adopt green policies, the benefits are not just to them but also to students who attend, as well the local population and possibly beyond.
If you feel the need to choose a college to attend that has environmentally-conscious initiatives, this list of top “green schools” can be a starting point in your selection process. However, with all the different “green” ratings systems for colleges out there, it was worth putting together a composite list of colleges and universities. The following list applies a number of selection filters (and/or) to form a composite ranking:
- Inclusion a recent Princeton Review “green” schools list, especially in the last two years of their Honor Roll.
- Inclusion in the EPA.gov list.
- Inclusion in a recent Sierra Club list
- Inclusion in a recent U.S. News’ Eco-friendly Campuses list.
- A recent rating of gold or silver from AASHE.org’s STARS list.
- Current or pending green initiatives.
Those criteria, plus curated selection resulted in this article’s list of 50 top “green-conscious” U.S. college and university campuses. Endowment information came primarily from either institution Web sites or from Nacubo.org’s endowments list.
Green Colleges and Universities
Acronyms Used in This Article
- AASHE = Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Use the main site to search for various degree programs relating to sustainability.
- ACUPCC = American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, aka Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
- BFC, BFU = Bike Friendly Community and Bike Friendly University ratings from the League of American Bicyclists.
- EPA = U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- LEED = Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, from the USGBC (below).
- SEI = Sustainable Endowments Institute. The GreenReportCard.org ratings system from 2008-2011 was courtesy of SEI.
- STARS = Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System from AASHE (above).
- USGBC = U.S. Green Building Council.
Of the 50 institutions of higher learning that made this list, there were 27 states and the District of Columbia represented. The top 5 states, in terms of number of in-state schools appearing on this list, are:
- New York – 10 schools
- California – 9 schools
- Pennsylvania – 5 schools
- Colorado – 4 schools
- Illinois – 4 schools.
Washington, D.C., had 3 schools, tying with Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state.
A few cities (other than D.C.) ranked with more than one institution. Chicago, Ithaca (NY), Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Portland (OR) all had two.
The oldest campus in the top 50 is Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, established in 1636. The youngest is University of Phoenix in Phoenix, AZ, established in 1976 — a difference of 340 years.
AASHE.org STARS Ratings
This is a summary of STARS-rated institutions of higher learning from aashe.org, with data retrieved Nov 15, 2014.
- 576 institutions in the U.S. listed, out of 678 worldwide.
- 499 are AASHE members.
- 229 are STARS Charter Participants.
- 50 were in the original pilot program.
- 0 Platinum ratings in the U.S. out of 0 worldwide. (As of Nov 15, 2014, there were no Platinum institutions, though there have been in the past.)
- 64 Gold ratings in the U.S. out of 72 worldwide.
- 116 Silver out of 128 worldwide.
- 52 Bronze out of 59 worldwide.
NOTE: Other institutions are tagged one of Expired or Reporter or did not have a rating.
Syracuse University (SU), founded in 1870, is located in Syracuse, NY — roughly 150 miles east and slightly north of Buffalo. SU’s FY 2013 endowment was around $1.053B. The university received scores of B-, B and B from 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide, and ranked #26 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list. SU is listed in AASHE.org STARS, although it had no rating at the time of writing.
SU has been in a partnership with other educational institutions, under the banner of Syracuse Center of Excellence (SCoE). The center focuses on sustainability, the environment and energy. The partnership includes an affiliation with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). Su also has a lecture series that invites experts on various topics. Past speakers on environmental topics have included Robert Kennedy, Jr. (environmental law), Majora Carter (environmental justice advocate), and former Vice President Al Gore (climate issues advocate and author of An Inconvenient Truth). The campus’ Martin Luther King Library also holds the Ford Collection on Environmental Justice and Gender.
Other sustainability initiatives include a Sustainable Campus project competition for students, a climate action plan and commitment to ACUPCC, a goal of carbon (GHG – greenhouse gases) neutrality by 2040, energy-efficient lights, solar panels, low-emission transportation, and Energy Systems and Sustainability Management (ESSM) department and others.
Academically, SU offers spring workshops, various courses in multiple departments, a number of undergrad majors and minors in energy and/or sustainability, and two grad certificates.
Bentley University, founded in 1917 as a school of accounting and finance, is located in Waltham, MA — about 12 miles approximately west of Boston. Bentley’s endowment for FY (Fiscal Year) 2013 was about $217.9M. The university made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide, ranked #25 in EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list, ranked #112 in Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Silver rating in Jul 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
Bentley was nominated for a 2014 Climate Leadership Award and became a finalist. Sustainability initiatives include a climate action plan, energy conservation and efficiency, plan to decrease GHG (greenhouse gases), composting, waste diversion, wind energy purchase, single-stream recycling, water conservation, green it green building and renovation policy, green dining (including food waste tracking, trayless dining, and recycling cooking oil into biofuel), a goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 and more. The university has a 3,000 sq ft solar thermal wall on the outside of the southern wall of an athletic center and five Energy Star Certified buildings.
Academically, there are several options, including a minor and major in Earth, Environment and Global Sustainability; a Sustainability Sciences degree program with a Business Studies Major or Minor (BSM). Students also have internship and ambassador opportunities.
University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), founded in 1890 as Territorial Normal School of Oklahoma, is located in Edmond, OK — about 15 miles approximately north of Oklahoma City. The university ranked #23 in EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list. In Jun 2014, UCO won their fourth straight Individual Conference Champion of the College and University Green Power Challenge for using the most green power in their conference division.
UCO has a number of sustainability initiatives, including recycling (paper, motor oil, antifreeze, tires, batteries, etc.), energy and utility efficiencies (motion detectors for lights, thermal energy storage tank, reduced water usage, generator, etc.), landscape management (e.g., computer controlled irrigation, mulching), hazardous materials management, production of biodiesel fuel (for campus vehicles), purchase of wind power, a green building policy (with LEED certification requirements), Earth Day events, a planned Global Sustainability Symposium and more. The Web site has a carbon foot print calculator for various energy uses including transportation modes.
Academically, there is a Dept of Human Environmental Sciences as well as multiple courses focused on or touching upon sustainability and/or the environment, offered several departments.
University of Missouri (Mizzou/ MU), founded in 1839, is located in Columbia, MO — roughly half way between Kansas City, MO, and St. Louis, MO. The UM System had a combined FY 2013 endowment of about $1.260B. The city of Columbia has a Silver BFC (Bike Friendly Community) ranking from the League of American Bicyclists). The university garnered GreenReportCard.com scores of C-, B-, and B in the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively, made the Princeton Review 2014 Green Guide, ranked #16 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 list, and received a Silver rating in Feb 2013 from AASHE.org STARS. Its sister universities UM Kansas and St. Louis made the Sierra Club 2014 list (#93 and #173, respectively), and both have a Silver rating from AASHE.org STARS.
MU has a number of sustainability initiatives, including a free bike share program and free repairs, an Environmental Leadership Office (ELO) whose agenda is to empower students to “take meaningful action,” encouraging advocacy through the ELO Ambassadors program, monthly events (e.g., February is Energy Month), vegetable growing project, a weekly farmers market (certain months), a Sustainability Office to coordinate efforts, a YouTube channel to document activities, recycling, a power plant (received a 2010 Energy Star CHP Combined Heat and Power award from the US EPA) which burns waste materials (corncobs, waste wood, etc.) and generates energy, cooling and heating for 13M square feet of buildings including three hospitals.
Initiatives in recycling in 2013 alone saved MU around $200K, and overall for that year, MU either saved or earned nearly $1.4M, and recycled over 2,300 tons of waste. The Sustainability Office offers a publicly accessible online dashboard to show energy use amongst campus buildings and offers a Sustainability Top Ten Tour for the public.
Academically, there is the College of Human Environmental Sciences, as well as the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program driven by USDA grants.
University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), aka UST, founded in 1885, is located in Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the state of Minnesota. UST’s endowment for FY 2013 was about $396.5M. Saint Paul has a Bronze BFC (Bike Friendly Community) rating, and Minneapolis a Gold BFC rating, from the League of American Bicyclists. UST ranked #21 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list.
UST has a Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF), which enabled installation of 40KW photovoltaic solar panels installed on the Anderson Student Center — a project which will reduce electricity costs for UST by over $5K per year. A US EPA grant will help to remove phosporous from Lake Como in St. Paul. UST has been performing greenhouse gas audits since 2008, as part of the UST Climate Action Plan (adopted May 2010). Campus projects include a sustainability working group as part of the University Relations department, recycling, food services (replacing plastic with ceramic plates, cutlery, etc.). Initiatives include replacing computer monitors, reducing output of computer printers, using “green” vendors, switching to non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning products, implementing LEED elements in building renovations and new construction.
Academically, the university has interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Environmental Science programs, and one group of students is investigating sustainable energy use from a geological hotspot in Iceland in summer 2015.
University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Bolder), founded in 1876, is located in Boulder, CO — roughly 29 miles NW of Denver. The FY 2013 endowment for the University of Colorado Foundation was about $885.4M. The city of Boulder has a 2014 rating of Platinum BFC from the League of American Bicyclists — one of only four communities, two of which are in Colorado. The university garnered GreenReportCard.com scores of A-, A- and B+ for the years 2009-2011, respectively, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide, ranked #37 in Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, received a Gold rating in Sep 2014 from AASHE.org STARS. It previously had a Gold rating in 2010 (first year of STARS), and was the first American institution to receive that rating.
CU-Bolder has a program in Environmental Design, an Environmental Studies program, an Environmental Engineering program, and environmental studies are part of other programs, including architecture, law and more. On their Sustainability Web page university claims leadership in “climate and energy research, interdisciplinary environmental studies programs and engaging in sustainability and ‘green’ practices both on campus and in the larger world,” for over a half century. In fact, nearly 25% of courses have sustainability content (some are entirely focused). Over 60% of academic departments have faculty conducting sustainability research.
The campus has reduced global greenhouse gases (GHG) and has an initiative to reach a total 20% reduction by 2020. The university scores high for STARS “engagement” in terms of advocating sustainability as part of outreach and educators programs. Two buildings (one new, one renovated) received LEED Gold ratings in 2014, from the U.S. Green Building Council. The buildings use 31-42% less energy than similar buildings (in terms of size and function).
Ithaca College, founded in 1892, is located in Ithaca, NY — approximately 150 miles southeast of Buffalo. Its FY 2013 endowment was about $242.9M. Ithaca received a Gold rating from STARS in Nov 2013, and was US News’ 2010 list of eco-friendly campuses, ranking #8. The college received an overall grade of B- in 2009 from the College Sustainability Report Card (GreenReportCard.com), garnering an A for student involvement. It’s 2010 and 2011 overall ratings were both B+. It’s School of Business was also the world’s first college/ university business school with a facility that achieved LEED Platinum status (2008). Part of that achievement was due to features of the college’s Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise, including extensive use of natural light (reducing energy requirements), a purchase of 50% of electricity needs from renewable sources, stormwater reclamation. The college has a REMP, Resource and Environment Management Program, which oversees making the campus into a “more sustainable living and learning experience.” Initiatives include recycling, reuse, reduction. Overall, sustainability fall into three aspects at Ithaca, including the aforementioned campus operations. There is also community outreach and curriculum and research — of which the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences is a part.
University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point (UWSP), founded in 1894 as Stevens Point Normal School, is located in Stevens Point, WI — roughly 90 miles west of Green Bay, about 110 miles southeast of Eau Claire, and about 110 miles north of Madison. UWSP is part of the University of Wisconsin System — one of the largest public systems in the U.S. — which includes 13 universities, including in the aforementioned cities. The Stevens Point community has a Bronze BFC (Bike Friendly Community) rating from the League of American Bicyclists. While UWSP did not make the GreenReportCard.com lists, some of the other UW System universities did. Eleven of the 13 universities in the system are in the AASHE.org STARS list, with four having a Silver rating and two having a Gold rating, including UWSP (awarded Jul 2012). UWSP has also been in Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll for three consecutive years and made the 2014 Green Guide.
UWSP appointed a sustainability task force in 2007, with one goal being to achieve carbon neutrality on campus. There is an Office of Sustainability, who have a number of initiatives, including energy use reduction, offsetting carbon emissions, green electricity purchase, composting, waste and water recycling (including stormwater management), as well as student initiatives, composting, a bike rental programs, a on-campus garden and a Campus Sustainability Day and information fair. One approach was to approve a “one (Apple) iPad (tablet) per Student” proposal in order to reduce paper use, including for the student newspaper.
Academically, sustainability content and research play a part of the College of Natural Resources (CNR) and College of Letters and Science. This includes studying biofuels, sustainable energy, commercial aquaculture best management practices and more.
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), founded in 1900, is located in Pittsburgh, PA. CMU’s FY 2013 endowment was about $1.371B. Pittsburgh has a Bronze BFC rating from the League of American Bicyclists, and CMU has a Bronze BFU rating. CMU received a Silver rating from AASHE.org STARS in Feb 2013. From GreenReportCard.com, it received a B rating across 2009-2011. For 2014, it was 4 and 5 on the EPA list and was #65 on the Sierra Club list.
Academically, it has an environmental engineering program, which ranked 10th in US News’ 2010 list of best grad schools in the U.S. There is a Green Practices Committee, established in 1999, whose general objective is to develop practices to improve environmental quality, reduce waste, and conserve resources. CMU’s Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research offers three-year Ph.D. fellowships in U.S. Environmental Sustainability. There is also a Master of Science in Sustainable Design in the School of Architecture and various other courses.
Campus sustainability initiatives include recycling (with a plan to increase the rate from 26% to 40%), food composting, waste management, energy and water management, expanding energy sources mix, campus green design, improving air quality, green dining and more. One of the campus cafes received a Gold LEED certification in 2006 from USGBC.
University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), founded in 1882, is located in Los Angeles, CA. UCLA’s FY 2013 endowment was about $2.810B. Los Angeles has a Bronze BFC and UCLA a Bronze BFU rating from the League of American Bicyclists. UCLA received scores of B-, B, and B from 2009-2011 from GreenReportCard.com, its 2014 Sierra Club ranking was #60, and it made the 2014 Princeton Review Green Guide list. While it received a rating (unavailable) from AASHE.org STARS in Aug 2011, the rating was expired at the time of writing.
UCLA’s Sustainability Committee has a university-wide initiative known as the UCLA Grand Challenge, whose objective is to make Los Angeles 100% sustainable (water, energy, biodiversity) by 2050. The campus has a number of options for their award-winning sustainable transportation program. There are several action plans related to sustainability, including for zero waste, a bicycle plan, a climate action plan, a water action plan, an university policy on sustainable practices, and a climate neutrality 2025 initiative. The latter includes purchasing wholesale electricity for five UC campuses, working towards energy efficiency, achieving LEED Gold status for the new building, reducing carbon emissions and achieving 20% sustainable food on campus by 2020. UCLA Health’s initiatives include zero waste by 2020 and achieving LEED Silver certification 20% beyond code.
Academically, UCLA has an Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, which offers a number of undergrad and grad/ doctoral degree programs, as well as a graduate certificate, Leaders in Sustainability Graduate Certificate.
Pomona College, founded in 1887, is located in Claremont, CA — approximately 32 miles east of Los Angeles. It’s FY 2013 endowment was about $1.824B. Pomona College has a Bronze BFC from the League of American Bicyclists. Pomona College scored ratings of B, A- and A from 2009-2011 from GreenReportCard.com, made the Princeton Review Green Honor Roll 2013, as well as the 2014 Green Guide, and ranked #54 in Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list. It also. The college had an expired AASHE.org STARS rating (received in Jun 2011) at the time of writing.
Several campus buildings achieved LEED gold certification. These buildings have features that include a photovoltaic system to supply over 20% of building energy requirements, waterless urinals and high-efficiency lighting. The campus has two residence halls built to LEED platinum standards. Features include a solar hot water system that will eventually supply 80% of need, rooftop solar panels, energy-saving windows, low water-use fixtures, and a stormwater management plan.
Groups and committees with a stake in sustainability include the Pomona Campus Climate Challenge group, a President’s Sustainability Fund (PSF), President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability (PACS) and a Presidents Climate Commitment. The college has had an environmental policy since 2002, and the Sustainability Integration Office (SIO) was established in 2009. Overall, campus initiatives include composting, replacement of disposable dishes and cutlery with reusable items, and an organic farm. There is also a Food Rescue program, a Rooftop Gardening Mentor Program, a Green Bikes program, Green Office Program and others. The SIO also helps students who want to do course projects on sustainability by offering guidance and resources.
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), founded in 1740, is located in Philadelphia, PA. The FY 2013 endowment was about $7.741B. Philadelphia has a Silver BFC and UPenn a Silver BFU rating from the League of American Bicyclists. UPenn scored ratings of A- for the years 2009-2011 from GreenReportCard.com, #1 on all eight of 2013 and 2014 U.S. EPA lists, a Silver rating (May 2014) from AASHE.org STARS, a #40 on the Sierra Club 2014 list, and a place on the Princeton Review 2014 Green Guide. In 2011, USGBC awarded a LEED Platinum certification to the Horticulture Center at UPenn’s Morris Arboretum (about 13 miles north of the main campus).
The university has a Green Campus Partnership, a Green Fund, a Climate Action Plan to create a culture of sustainability. Sustainability initiatives include energy management and conservation, emission reduction, waste reduction, designing “green” buildings and landscapes, using local and sustainable food sources, utilizing sustainable purchasing (paper with chlorine-free waste fiber, green packaging, tap water filters to reduce carbon footprint by eliminating plastic bottles), raising awareness (Eco-Reps program), green labs, Green Office Certification, and more. The university was one of about 100 institutions to receive a Silver BFU (Bike Friendly University) award from the League of American Bicyclists. One campus goal is to reduce carbon emission by 7% and building energy use by 10% by 2020 (from FY 2014), and achieve carbon neutrality by 2042.
Academically, UPenn has Master of Environmental Studies, undergrad Major in Earth Science, undergrad Major in Environmental Studies, Master in Environmental Building Design and several other sustainability-related degree programs. It also has the ISAC (Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum) program, started in 2012, to enable faculty members to “explore sustainability concepts at a one-day workshop” and consider introducing topics into courses.
Quinnipiac University, founded in 1929, is located in Hamden, CT — about six miles approximately north of New Haven. The university garnered #20 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list of colleges/ universities — which it first appeared on in 2012. The EPA also named Quinnipiac an Individual Conference Champion for the 2013-2014 Green Power Challenge. The university had GreenReportCard.com ratings of D-, D-, and D over 2009-2011, respectively.
The York Hill campus (one of two in Hamden, the other in North Haven) has a wind farm. The cylindrical turbines, which eliminate propellers and reduce noise, generate as much as 32,000 kilowatt hours/year. They are supplemented by over 700 roof-top photovoltaic solar panels. The university’s North Haven campus has energy-efficient heating/ cooling units, efficient light fixtures, and energy-saving windows. The Mount Carmel campus has a community garden and a yearly Earth Day celebration that promotes sustainable food. Building energy use can be monitor from the university’s Building Dashboard site. One hundred percent of electricity requirements for Quinnipiac are purchased from renewable resources, which includes solar, wind, geothermal, and low-impact biomass sources. The university’s overall use of 39 million kWh of green power is the equivalent of eliminating the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission of either around 6,000 passenger vehicles in the U.S. yearly.
The Catholic University of America (CUA), founded in 1887, is located in Washington, DC. Its FY 2013 endowment was around $264.5M. Washington, D.C., has a Silver rating from the League of American Bicyclists. In 2012, CUA’s president John Garvey signed a pledge, along with other presidents of higher education institutions, to commit to a pledge by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to make it the most sustainable U.S. city. CUA ranked #18 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list, and had GreenReport.com ratings of D-, D, and D+ over 2009-2011, respectively.
CUA’s sustainability initiatives include an Earth Day celebration, tree planting efforts, recycling, composting, compostable food containers, installing green roofs, increasing tree cover, using low-impact stormwater designs, reduce overall energy consumption, encourage student participation and more. New buildings are built to LEED-compliant standards — e.g., Opus Hall, a residence building, which uses Energy Star appliances and implements water conservation features. In 2008, the university was purchasing 30% of electricity needs from renewable sources, which includes wind, solar and hydro. The result was a decrease of about 87,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission. Another building, Crough Center for Architectural Studies, is expected to achieve LEED-certified in the near future.
Academically, CUA has a number of options, including a Master of Science in Sustainable Design degree program through the School of Architecture and Planning. There is also a “sustainability track” interdisciplinary studies minor.
The City University of New York (CUNY), founded in 1847, is located in New York City, NY. New York City has a Silver BFC rating from the League of American Bicyclists. CUNY was ranked #14 in EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list.
The university has a CUNY Sustainability Task Force, the Sustainable CUNY Conserves Team, CUNY SustainableWorks, Sustainable CUNY Collaboration Center, and a Sustainable Investment Fund. Overall sustainability initiatives include seven campus sustainability plans focused on energy, water, transportation, procurement, recycling, sustainable education and outreach, and sustainable nutrition. NYBuild Smart, a state Governor’s executive order, requires CUNY to reduce energy use by 22% by 2020. CUNY is participating in solar programs funded by city, state and federal government initiatives. CUNY’s John Jay College will be participating in the 2015 New York Solar Summit.
Academically, notable alumni includes U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, who is also an environmentalist and former member of the House of Representatives.
University of Wisconsin – Madison, founded in 1848, is located in Madison, WI — about 79 miles approximately west of Milwaukee. UW-Madison’s FY 2013 endowment was about $2.020B. The community of Madison received a Gold BFC and the university a Silver BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. Five campuses (though not Madison) of the UW System are on the Sierra Club 2014 list, ranging in rank from 21 to 114. UW-Madison received ratings of B, B, A from 2009-2011, respectively. It placed #13 in EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list.
UW-Madison’s Office of Sustainability has a number of initiatives, including refillable water bottle stations in most campus buildings, an “edible landscape,” recycling, water conservation, energy reduction, use of more efficient materials, volunteer efforts, partnerships, and Climate Quest. Groups participating in the overall effort include a students committee. the Sustainability Council, and the annual Sustainability Forum (next date Feb 26, 2015).
Academically, there is Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Undergrad options include a Major or Certificate in Environmental Studies, a 12-credit undergraduate Sustainability Certificate, as well as undergrad courses that touch on sustainability in the Natural Science, Social Science and Physical Science departments. A CESP (Community and Environmental Scholars Program) scholarship for undergrads is available.
Grad options include four certificates and three degree programs, including a new 10-month accelerated Master’s program in energy conservation — the Resource and Energy Demand Analysis (REDA) program — claimed to be the first of its kind, and which launches Fall 2015. It trains students in economics and data analytics relevant to sustainability, and the expectation is that REDA graduates will an international job market. There is also a Professional Development Grant and research fellowships from the EPA.
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (aka SUNY Buffalo or UB), founded in 1846, is a multi-campus institution located in Buffalo, NY. UB’s FY 2013 endowment was around $554.4M. The city of Buffalo received a Bronze BFC and the university a Bronze BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. UB ranked #12 in EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list, and a Silver rating from AASHE.org STARS.
Sustainability-related groups include the Office of Sustainability, the Environmental Task Force (ETF), the UB Green Team, and the Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC – which has several subcommittees). Sustainability initiatives include a climate action plan, recycling, reusable containers (e.g., mugs), reducing waste, using renewable energy, installing a solar array, implementing green Information Technology, renovating or constructing green buildings (Greiner Hall is a LEED Gold-certified building).
Academically, UB has both sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses in multiple disciplines. The Sustainability Academy is a collaborative effort open to all UB students, and there are environmental internships, including GrowWNY. Notable faculty includes Lester Walter Milbrath, a Political Science professor and an environmentalist who won a lifetime achievement award and had an environmentally-related graduate fellowship named after him.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), founded in 1794, is located in Knoxville, TN — about 180 miles approximately east of Nashville. The FY 2013 endowment for the University of Tennessee System was around $919.4M. The community of Knoxville earned a Bronze BFC from the League of American Bicyclists. UTK received ratings of C+, B, B for 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide, and ranked #11 in EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list. The university was assigned an AASHE.org STARS rating in Oct 2011, which has since expired.
UTK has an Agricultural Campus next to the main campus. It has greenhouses and is the site of Environmental Sciences facility, amongst other facilities. The Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE) activities include promoting “the development of policies, technologies, and educational programs that cut across multiple disciplines.” The Office of Sustainability has a number of initiatives, including a Sustainable Building Policy, recycling, waste reduction, renewable energy (including solar panels), water stations (to reduce disposable bottle use), a weekly farmer’s market (for sustainable food options), sustainable transportation including free campus transit and Electric Vehicle charging stations, biking services, use of Energy Star appliances, recycled napkins and more. For anyone who has ideas for sustainability, they can make proposals to the Environmental Stewardship Fund (ESF).
Academically, over 100 courses (multi-disciplinary) relating to sustainability are part of the curriculum at UTK, and a Sustainability Major program is also available.
University of Utah (U of U), founded in 1850 as the University of Deseret, is located in Salt Lake City, UT. Salt Lake City earned a Silver BFC and U of U a Silver BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. U of U’s FY 2013 endowment was around $745.6M. The university received ratings of B, B, B+ for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide, ranked #10 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list. It was assigned an AASHE.org STARS rating in Aug 2011, which has since expired.
U of U has several sustainability-focused entities, including a Sustainability Office (aka Sustainability Resource Center), a Global Change and Sustainability Center, Campus Green Teams, and a Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF). Sustainability initiatives include energy efficient buildings, a climate action plan, energy efficiency including purchase of wind power, recycling, solar panels (40,000 square feet on rooftops), use of local food items, a farmers market, the use of green transportation (including shuttles running on biodiesel and used vegetable oil, and promoting increased bike use with suitable pathways). The U of U campus claims the first U.S. installation of “solar ivy” — small solar panels which can be placed and overlapped on walls like leaves of climbing ivy.
Academically, U of U has an undergraduate Integrated Certificate in Sustainability, as well as multiple undergrad and grad certificates and degrees that integrate sustainability concepts.
Northwestern University (NU), founded in 1851, is located in Evanston and Chicago, IL. Both communities earned a BFC Silver from the League of American Bicyclists. NU’s FY 2013 endowment was around $7.883B.
NU received ratings of C+, B-, C+ for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide, and ranked #7 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list. The university has a green building policy requiring all new buildings to be LEED-certified. In total, there were five Gold-certified and one Silver-certified building, at the time of writing. Five more buildings are currently in the process of being LEED-certified. Other Sustainability initiatives include the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, green IT, water saving devices, stormwater management, composting, waste reduction, recycling, preserving campus green space with low-maintenance and drought-tolerant plants, offering sustainable food, and sustainable purchasing.
Academically, ISEN (Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern) offers both undergrad and grad courses, as well as undergrad certificates. Other departments also offer sustainability-related courses (grad and undergrad). Degree programs options are several and include Environmental Engineering, Environmental Sciences, and others.
Oklahoma State University, founded in 1890, is located in Stillwater, OK — roughly north-northeast (67 miles driving) of Oklahoma City, and about 70 miles west of Tulsa. It is the flagship university of the Oklahoma State University System, and its FY 2013 endowment was around $817.6M. The community of Stillwater received a Bronze BFC and OSU a Bronze BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. OSU received ratings of D+, C+, B- for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, ranked #6 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list, and received a Bronze rating from AASHE.org STARS.
The Office of Sustainability reported that Cowboy Wind Farm (about 60 miles north and slightly west of campus) has been providing over 70% of OSU’s electricity needs since Jan 2013. The result CO2 (carbon dioxide) savings by “end of September 2013 was equivalent to 198 railcars worth of coal not burned.” Total savings between Jul 2007 to Dec 2013 for the entire Oklahoma State University System was $30.74M — nearly $11M more than the original goal. The majority of savings were for the Stillwater campus, at $25.43M. Other sustainability initiatives include recycling, a green building policy (mandatory LEED certification), lower toxicity cleaning products, organic and local produce, trayless dining, reduction of energy consumption. (The university is one of a handful that has an established Sun Grant Research Initiative program to research and develop bio-based energy alternatives which are more environmentally sustainable.)
Academically, OSU has a School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, which is part of CEAT (College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology). There is also an Environmental Science major through CASNR (College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources) — grad and undergrad versions. As well, the Spears School of Business has a Nonprofit Management Track which is sustainability-focused and a Business Sustainability Graduate Certificate.
Georgetown University, founded in 1789, is located in Washington, DC. Georgetown’s FY 2013 endowment was around $1.286B. Washington, D.C. received a Bronze BFC and Georgetown a Bronze BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. The university received ratings of B-, B, and B for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, ranked #2 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list and made the Princeton Review 2014 Green Guide. While it is listed in AASHE.org STARS, it did not have a rating at the time of writing.
Georgetown has a green building policy that requires new buildings to meet LEED Silver certification requirements. The latest LEED Gold certification was awarded to the School of Continuing Studies. Other sustainability initiatives include recycling, energy efficiency, green dining, an overall reduction of the carbon footprint, research, community engagement and more. The Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP) will award $5M to a community with a population of between 5,000-250,000 in 2017, for energy-saving innovations, based on candidate communities that apply.
Academically, has a number of undergrad options, including B.Sc. degrees in Environmental Biology, Biology of Global Health, a minor in Environmental Studies, and a minor in Science, Technology and International Affairs. (The Walsh School of Foreign Service offers a major in the latter but with a specialization in Environmental Studies.) Grad options include a Master of Public Policy with a track in Environmental and Regulatory Policy (McCourt School of Public Policy). The History department has options for M.A. and Ph.D. students an option to focus on environmental history. Doctoral students have a chance at a full fellowship in Environmental History.
University of Oklahoma, founded in 1890, is located in Norman, OK — roughly 20 miles approximately south of Oklahoma City. The community of Norman received a Bronze BFC and OU a Bronze BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. OU’s FY 2013 endowment was around $1.324B. The university received ratings of C+, C, C for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, ranked #3 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list, and made the Princeton Review 2014 Green Guide. It is listed in AASHE.org STARS, although it did not have a rating at the time of writing.
In 2008, OU had a goal of 100% wind power (purchased) for campus electricity needs by 2013. This effort leverages a partnership with Oklahoma Gas and Electric, including a 101 megawatt wind farm. Other sustainability initiatives include recycling, green dining practices, lower-toxicity and bio-renewable multipurpose cleaning materials, recycled-material toilet paper, “green” vacuums, energy efficiency upgrades including low-flow toilets, no-discharge and zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) printing processes, various green technologies, reduction of fossil fuel use in campus vehicles and a “green” vegetative roof to improve energy and water efficiency, which also aids in storm-water runoff. Students who want to get involved can participate in a number of student groups as well.
Academically, there are several options. The Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability (DGES) has both B.A. and B.S. degrees which include content on environmental issues. DGES also offers an M.S. in Environmental Sustainability. Current department research efforts include EVAC (Environmental Verification and Analysis Center), OWPI (Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative) and SC-CSC (South Central Climate Science Center). The Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy offers a B.Sc. in Environmental Geology.
Iowa State University, founded in 1858, is located in Ames, IA — about 32 miles approximately north of Des Moines. ISU’s FY 2013 endowment was around $673.5M. ISU received ratings of C, B-, and B for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #76 on the Sierra Club 2014 list, and received a Gold rating from AASHE.org STARS in Aug 2013.
Reiman Gardens is the site of ISU’s horticulture garden, which has an indoor conservatory and indoor butterfly garden. ISU’s Office of sustainability has a number of initiatives, including a green building policy (there are six LEED-certified buildings – one silver, three gold, two platinum – with eight more to be certified), energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reduction, an on-campus power plant, green purchasing (including 98% recycled-content paper and Energy Star-equivalent appliances), green dining, a 200-unit fleet of low-/no-emission vehicles, recycling, composting and general waste diversion, and water use reduction.
Academically, ISU offers a number of courses that either focus or touch on sustainability. There is also an interdisciplinary minor, a wind energy minor, a Master of Urban Design, Master of Design in Sustainable Environments, an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Sustainable Agriculture, and a Ph.D. in Wind Energy Science, Engineering and Policy. Research-wise, more than half the university faculty are doing some form of sustainability research, and many of the nearly 100 research centers/ institutes either are involved in sustainability or implement sustainability practices.
College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor), founded in 1969, is located in Bar Harbor, ME — on the east side of Mount Desert Island. The college received ratings of A- and B in 2010-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide, ranked #67 on the Sierra Club 2014 list, and was #4 on US News’ 2010 eco-friendly campuses list. COA is listed in AASHE.org STARS but did not have a rating at the time of writing.
COA is a carbon-neutral college where environmental sciences studies are an important part of the curriculum. The college achieved net-zero carbon emissions in 2006 — the first college or university to do so. In 2007, a contract for 100% renewable electricity was signed with a hydropower plant. There is also a Sustainability Leadership Program. Campus sustainability initiatives include green (student) housing with composting toilets and harvested wood, water-conserving fixtures, low-flow toilets, solar and wind energy and more.
Academically, CoA has dozens of relevant course offerings across multiple disciplines, including business, economics, food systems, chemistry, law and policy, diplomacy, physics and math, natural resources and environmental studies.
University of California – Santa Cruz, founded in 1965, is located in Santa Cruz, CA. Santa Cruz received a Silver BFC and UCSC a Silver BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. UCSC made Princeton Review’s 2015 Green Guide for the sixth year in a row (and the Green Honor Roll from 2010-2014 editions) and ranked #35 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list. UCSC is listed in AASHE.org STARS but had no rating at the time of writing.
UC President Janet Napolitano (formerly U.S. Sec’ty of Homeland Security) is aiming the university for a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. The university has had numerous sustainability-related projects, viewable at the UCSC project clearinghouse site, and in which students can get involved. Other sustainability initiatives include a Student Environmental Center, a climate action plan, a building and facilities policy, GHG (greenhouse gas) reduction, green dining, land/ habitat/ watershed management, green procurement, transportation options, waste reduction, water use reduction, a campus Green Office Certification program (and a similar one for labs), a Sustainability Internship, a new yearly Climate, Science and Policy Conference and more.
Academically, UCSC has an Environmental Studies program (part of the Division of Social Sciences), as well as a number of sustainability-related courses in various disciplines. Fall 2014 saw the introduction of a minor in Sustainability Studies.
Colgate University, founded in 1819, is located in Hamilton, NY — roughly 40 miles southeast of Syracuse and 30 miles southwest of Utica. Colgate’s FY 2013 endowment was around $760.6M. Colgate received ratings of C, B- and B for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #36 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in Jul 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
The campus has a community vegetable garden, a Green Bikes share program and green dining with a number of organic options and compostable take-out containers. Other initiatives include a climate action plan (with a goal of carbon neutrality by 2020, Colgate’s 200th anniversary), renewable energy use, ride-sharing and alternative modes of transportation, energy conservation, waste minimization and recycling, water conservation, a yearly Green Summit, several student groups, Green Raiders, a Campus Sustainability Fund, internships with the Office of Sustainability and more.
Academically, there is a Colgate Green Certification that lasts for a year and can be extended, as well as a number of courses focusing or touching upon sustainability and environmental issues.
California State University-Chico (Chico State), founded in 1887, is located in Chico, CA — about 86 miles north and slightly west of Sacramento. The community of Chico received a Silver BFC from the League of American Bicyclists. Chico State’s FY 2013 endowment was around $48.5M. The university made the Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide (and on the 2013 and 2014 Green Honor Rolls), ranked #39 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in Nov 2013 from AASHE.org STARS. Other lists that Chico State appeared on in recent years include the 2014 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards, Good Housekeeping’s “Most Healthy and Sustainable Cafeterias,” Grist.org’s “green colleges and universities,”
Four buildings on campus have LEED Gold certification, and an office and parking structure has a LEED Silver certification and managed a 92% rate of recycling and diverting construction waste. Other sustainability initiatives include the Alternative Transportation Group (ATG), a Campus Sustainability Committee, Eco Reps (peer educators on environmentally responsible behavior), and more. Chico State is a founding member of Alliance for Resilient Campuses. Students run a yearly sustainability conference, This Way to Sustainability (occurring next on Mar 26-27, 2015).
Academically, there is a GE Sustainability Pathway Minor in Sustainability Studies, as well as an interdisciplinary offering of courses relating to sustainability and/or environmental issues. Awards include the Paul Persons Sustainability Award and the Rawlins Endowed Professor of Environmental Literacy. In research, a Chico State biologist, Jeff Price, shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his participation as lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT), founded in 1800, is located in Middlebury, VT — about 34 miles approximately south of Burlington, VT. Middlebury’s FY 2013 endowment was around $973M. The college received an A- rating in all three years from 2009-2011, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide, ranked #18 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, received a Gold rating in May 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
Middlebury also made Good Housekeeping’s list of top 12 greenest college cafeterias for going tray-free – which reduced water – using local food, adding a green roof to one hall and more. Other campus initiatives include a global food program (which includes sourcing locally and composting), a commitment to ACUPCC and environmental stewardship, a goal of carbon neutrality by 2016, a Sustainable Investments Initiative, and the Office of Sustainability, which oversees all sustainability initiatives.
Academically, Middlebury claims to have the oldest undergrad environmental studies program in the U.S. The Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest (FECH) includes an Environmental Council which accepts grant proposals, fellowships in Environmental Journalism, and Franklin Environmental Center Residencies.
University Of Colorado at Colorado Springs, founded in 1965, is located in Colorado Springs, CO — approximately 69 miles south of Denver. Colorado Springs received a Silver BFC and UCCS a Bronze BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. UCCS’ FY 2013 endowment was around $885.4M. UCCS received ratings of A-, A- and B+ for the years 2009-2011, respectively from GreenReportCard.com, and made the Princeton Review’s 2015 Green Honor Roll. UCCS’ AASHE.org STARS rating, awarded Jan 2011, was expired at the time of writing.
The Office of Sustainability oversees campus sustainability efforts. Initiatives include solar energy, green building policy (UCCS aims at LEED Gold certification for new buildings), energy management, waste and recycling programs, green procurement, reduction of disposable bottle use, efficient lighting, transportation options, student volunteer programs, a UCCS Green Fund and more.
Academically, sustainability topics are part of the general undergrad curriculum, in all disciplines. There is also an undergrad program in Environmental Studies through the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and a Sustainable Development minor. A Sustainability Internship is available through the Geography and Environmental Studies department.
State University Of New York – Stony Brook University (SUNY Stony Brook, SBU), founded in 1957 in Oyster Bay, Long Island, is now located in Stony Brook, also Long Island. SBU received a Bronze BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. It’s FY 2013 endowment was around $180.7M. The university made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, was named a 2014 Groundwater Guardian by the Groundwater Foundation, and a Top Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation. SBU is listed in AASHE.org STARS, though it had no rating at the time of writing.
SBU’s Office of Sustainability has a number of initiatives, including a partnership with Zipcar for car sharing, energy management, a green building policy (to meet LEED certification for new buildings), participating in the Tree Campus USA program, recycling, efficient energy use, a partnership with the New York Power authority for energy audits, a partnership with Honeywell for energy use reduction, reducing GHG (greenhouse gases) with natural meadows, green dining options, reusable mugs and sports bottles, an organic vegetable garden, solar panels at SBU transit stops, solar-powered pay parking stations, a bike share program, electric vehicle charging stations, promoting sustainability/ campus outreach and more.
Academically, SBU offers a Sustainability Studies Program with various majors and minors, including B.S. is Coastal Environmental Studies, B.A. in Sustainability Studies, B.A. in Environmental Design, Policy and Planning, and others. Minors are also multi-disciplinary. Students can also get involved in the EcoLeaders program, whose mission is to promote environmental responsibility and raise awareness.
University of Vermont & State Agricultural College (UVM), founded in 1791, is located in Burlington, VT. Burlington received a Silver BFC and UVM a Silver BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. UVM’s FY 2013 endowment was around $374.3M. The university received ratings of A- in all three years from 2009-2011 from GreenReportCard.com, made the Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #42 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in Mar 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
A number of groups at UVM are involved with sustainability, including the Environmental Council, replaced by the Office of Sustainability. The latter has a number of initiatives including a recycled paper policy, general recycling, tracking lab chemical waste, a green building policy (aiming at a minimum LEED Silver certification for new buildings), a climate action plan, reduction of GHG (Greenhouse Gases), energy management, removal of bottled water on campus, achieving carbon neutrality for electricity (2015), and heating/ cooling (2020), green dining options, committing to the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, promoting environmental issues, Certification for Sustainable Transport (CST) and more.
Academically, the School of Business Administration offers a Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA program (SEMBA). The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources RSENR) offers an undergrad major in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies and other options. It also offers a grad minor in Environmental Studies, an M.S. and Ph.D. in Natural Resources, M.S. concentrations in Environmental Thought and Culture, and in Environment, Society and Culture. There is also a Certificate in Ecological Economics, as well as other sustainability-related courses in other departments. Undergrad students can also become Eco-Reps environmental responsibility leaders.
Colorado State University (CSU), founded in 1870, is located in Fort Collins, CO — roughly 65 miles approximately north of Denver. Fort Collins received a Platinum BFC (one of four in 2014, and one of two in Colorado) and CSU a Silver BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. CSU’s FY 2013 endowment was around $247.9M. The university received ratings of B-, C+ and B+ for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #11 in Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in Feb 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
CSU has aa number of initiatives, including a green building policy, green power (thermal plan plus purchases of renewable energy), green dining, a 30-acre, 5.3 MegaWatt solar plant (Foothills Campus), a yearly International Colloquium on global environmental sustainability, a wind farm to power the main campus, and others.
Academically, a number of majors, minors, and certificates relating to sustainability are offered across multiple disciplines at CSU, including in Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, Health and Human Sciences, Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences, Natural Resources (Warner College).
The School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) has a Minor in Global Environmental Sustainability and has a number of fellowships including Sustainability Leadership Fellow positions, as well as Global Challenges Research Teams (GCRTs). Areas of research include Climate Change and Energy, Food Security, Sustainable Communities, and others. High School students can get involved in SoGES’ Pre-College Summer Sustainability Program.
Santa Clara University, founded in 1851, is located in Santa Clara, CA — approximately four miles northwest of San Jose and about 45 miles southwest of San Francisco city center. The community of Santa Clara received a Bronze BFC from the League of American Bicyclists. SCU’s FY 2013 endowment was around $760.2M. The university received ratings of B in all three years 2009-2011, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, achieved #22 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 list, ranked #49 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in May 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
SCU sustainability initiatives include the Sustainability Council, the Office of Sustainability, Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV), a climate action plan, a commitment to ACUPCC, a green building policy (LEED certification for all renovations and new buildings, plus a Gold certification for the Student Center, and several buildings with as much 90% natural light coverage), a Sustainability Liaison Network, an off-campus student community garden with composting, climate neutrality, waste diversion, green dining, transportation options (including cycling incentives, ZipCar rental, electric vehicle charging stations), a green fleet (electric vehicles for the Facilities Department), green purchasing, and others.
Academically, Santa Clara claims nearly 800 courses with a sustainability component. There are a number of “core pathways” that collectively offer a multi-disciplinary approach to learning about sustainability, including Food, Hunger, Poverty and the Environment; Global Health; Human Rights in a Global World; Leading People, Organizations and Social Change; and Values in Science and Technology. The School of Engineering also offers an M.Sc. in Sustainable Energy.
Harvard College/ Harvard University, founded in 1636, is located in Cambridge, MA — roughly four miles nearly west of Boston. The community of Cambridge received a Gold BFC and Harvard a Gold BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. The FY 2013 endowment for Harvard was around $32.33B. It is the United States oldest institution of higher learning. The university received a rating of A- in all three years from 2009-2011 from GreenReportCard.com, and its Harvard College made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll and ranked #19 in Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list.
Harvard sustainability initiatives include the Harvard Sustainability Plan, a Sustainability Plan Review Committee, Council of Student Sustainability Leaders, Green Team Leaders, alternate transportation options (including a bike share program and electric vehicle charging stations), a goal of 30% reduction of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) by 2016 (from 2006), energy use reduction and use of renewable energy, creating green spaces, a Green Office program and others. Harvard has 89 LEED-certified buildings and 27 more waiting for certification.
Academically, Harvard offers sustainability-related content in 18 schools and units. Harvard Extension School offers a Sustainability and Environmental Management Graduate Program, as well as a professional graduate Sustainability Certificate. The Harvard Kennedy School (Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government) has a Sustainability Science Program which has numerous sustainability-related grants and fellowships.
University of New Hampshire (UNH), founded in 1866, is located in Durham, NH — about 70 miles approximately north of Boston, MA. The FY 2013 endowment for the entire University System of New Hampshire was around $541M. UNH is the main campus. The university received a rating of A- in all three years from 2009-2011 from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #28 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in Jul 2014 from AASHE.org STARS – amongst other awards.
UNH’s Sustainability Institute’s initiatives include a landfill gas pipeline supplying as much as 85% of campus energy needs, green dining, efficient energy use in buildings, green computing, recycling, green purchasing, composting, waste management, water conservation, and others.
Academically, UNH claims to be the oldest endowed Sustainability program of any college/university in the U.S. In addition to courses touching/ focusing on sustainability offered by several departments/colleges, programs include a Dual Major in Sustainability (SDM), and a number of internships and fellowships covering Social Innovation, Sustainable Engineering and others.
Portland State University (PSU), founded in 1946, is located in Portland, OR — roughly 170 miles approximately south of Seattle, WA. The community of Portland received a Platinum BFC (one of only four in 2014) and PSU a Gold BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. PSU’s FY 2013 endowment was around $44.0M. The university made the Princeton Review 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #33 in the Sierra Club 2014 list, and received a Gold rating in Feb 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
PSU was declared the first ‘salmon safe’ university in 2006 by Salmon Safe, due to the university’s efforts to supply “clean water to the urban watershed,” which helps salmon spawn and thrive. The university received a $25M grant for sustainability projects from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, payable over a period of a decade (starting 2008).
Other sustainability initiatives include alternate transportation modes (including bus, light rail, streetcar), a green building policy (with eight LEED-certified buildings, including Platinum and multiple Gold and Silver), green purchasing, green dining, a climate action plan, a commitment to ACUPCC, waste reduction, recycling, energy conservation, stormwater management, a Green Revolving Fund and more.
Academically, there are several options, including sustainability-related undergrad courses from multiple departments; undergrad majors and minors from Environmental Sciences and Management, Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, and School of Urban Studies and Planning; and over a dozen grad and professional certificates and degrees, including School of the Environment’s Master of Environmental Management and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Resources. Research-wise, over 50 faculty members do some research in sustainability issues.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), founded in 1867, is located in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, IL (aka Champaign-Urbana) — about 140 miles south and slightly west of Chicago, and about 120 miles west and slightly north of Indianapolis, IN. UIUC, the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system, had a FY 2013 endowment of around $1.926B. The university received a Bronze BFC from the League of American Bicyclists. UIUC received scores of B-, B- and B for the years 2009-2011, respectively, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #30 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Silver rating in Sep 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
UIUC has a green building policy that requires meeting a minimum of LEED Gold certification for new buildings and major renos. Other initiatives include the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a commitment to ACUPCC, a Certified Green Office Program, Earth Week and Sustainability Day events, an Energy Star Challenge and more. Student involvement includes a Sustainable Student Farm, a Student Sustainability Committee and student fees for clean energy and sustainable campus environment.
Academically, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (ISEE) offers a minor as a fellowship – the Sustainability, Energy and Environment (SEE) Fellows Program.
Columbia University, founded in 1754, is located in Manhattan, NY — a borough of New York City. NYC received a Silver BFC and Columbia a Bronze BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. Columbia’s FY 2013 endowment was around $8.198B. The university received GreenReportCard.com scores of A-, B and B+ for the years 2009-2011, respectively, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, and received a Gold rating in Nov 2012 from AASHE.org STARS.
Sustainability initiatives include the Office of Environmental Stewardship, a climate action plan and a commitment to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions by 30%, green building policy (minimum LEED Silver certification; seven Silver and Gold certifications, total), recycling, sustainable dining, transportation options (campus green vehicles, promotion of biking), water conservation, recycling, waste management, energy efficiency, a green market, Green Labs program, a Green Fund for student projects and more.
Academically, Columbia offers 24 environmental-centric degrees. There are multiple B.A. degree options from Columbia College and the School of General Studies (GS), in the areas of Environmental Biology, Environmental Sciences, Sustainable Development, Environmental Chemistry, and a Special Concentration in Sustainable Development. The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) offers a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering (EEE), and an undergrad minor in EEE. Grad option includes M.A., MBA, MPA, MPH, M.S., and Ph.D. programs in some or all of the grad schools. This includes Urban Planning, Climate and Society, Social Enterprise (MBA), Earth and Environmental Sciences Journalism, and many more. There are several certificates from the School of Continuing Education (SCE) alone, including Sustainability Analytics, Sustainability Water Management, Human rights and others.
University of Washington – Seattle (UW), founded in 1861, is located in Seattle, WA. Seattle received a Gold BFC and UW a Gold BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. UW’s FY 2013 endowment was around $2.347B. The university received GreenReportCard.com scores of A- in all three years 2009-2011, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #34 in Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in Oct 2012 from AASHE.org STARS.
There are several groups/ committees on campus with an interest in sustainability, including EcoReps, UW Green Teams, SEED (Students Expressing Environmental Dedication), UW Earth Club, WashPIRG (Washington Public Interest Research Group), SSC (UW Sierra Student Coalition), and ESAC (Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee). Sustainability initiatives include a campus farm, a commitment to ACUPCC, a climate action plan, monitoring of GHG (greenhouse gases), green dining, organic and local foods, non-styrofoam food and drink containers, green computing, paper use reduction, a green building policy (with minimum of either LEED Silver or Gold certification for new projects, a Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF), a Green Seed Fund (GSF), several Green Certification programs (office, lab, etc.) and more. One hundred percent of electricity is purchased from renewable resources as of 2006. A public sustainability dashboard is available for exploring various data points.
Academically, no fewer than 12 schools and colleges at UW offer over 700 courses on or related to sustainability and/or the environment. This includes the College of the Environment, Built Environment, Public Health Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs, and Interschool or Intercollege programs. Topics include but are not limited to ecology, environment, air pollution, resource management, sustainable development, and climate.
Cornell University, founded in 1865, is located in Ithaca, NY in the Finger Lakes region of central New York. The university received GreenReportCard.com scores of B+, B and A- from 2009-2011, respectively, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #16 in the Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in March 2014 from AASHE.org STARS. Cornell has also been designated a Tree Campus USA campus since 2009. Cornell received a Bronze BFU from the League of American Bicyclists.
The university’s FY 2013 endowment was around $5.272B.
Sustainability initiatives at Cornell include a green building policy (with a score of 15 LEED buildings:
2 Platinum, 11 Gold, 2 Certified), a Climate Action Plan (with a goal of climate neutrality by 2035, ACUPCC signatory, refrigerant-free Lake Source Cooling, a two-megawatt solar farm, Energy Conservation Projects, a Green Revolving Fund , multiple food-related initiatives (including food composting, farmers market, food recovery, local/ regional food sourcing, Cornell Small Farms program and others), participation in off-campus initiatives (EcoVillage, Finger Lakes ReUse, Gardens 4 Humanity), a building dashboard, green cleaning, and more.
Academically, undergrad options include an Environmental Science and Sustainability (ESS) Major, and Minors in Natural Resources or Climate Change. Grad options include a Masters in Regional Planning (MRP) with several concentrations including Land Use and Environmental Planning, a dual MRP/MLA (Landscape Architecture), a dual MRP/MPS RE (Real Estate), a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning, an MS and an MA in Regional Science, and a Ph.D. in Regional Science.
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech/ GT), founded in 1885, is located in Atlanta, GA. Georgia Tech’s FY 2013 endowment was around $1.715B. The university received a Silver BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. Georgia Tech received ratings of B, B and A- for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #10 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in May 2012 from AASHE.org STARS. It ranked #4 in US News’ 2014 list for Environmental Engineering schools.
Sustainability initiatives include solar energy, a green building policy (with a LEED Gold certification for one residence hall and another Gold for a departmental building), water conservation, green labs, a garden roof, energy efficiency, a commitment to ACUPCC, using sheep on campus to control and more.
GT has many centers and institutes with sustainability on their radar, including the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, Center for Business Strategies for Sustainability (CBSS, part of Scheller College of Business), Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and the Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute (GTSEI). Sustainability research projects include GTRI’s research into fuel cells and alternative energy, green technologies, energy efficiency, improving air and water quality, and energy efficiency. A joint team from the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering won an MRI (Major Research Instrumentation) program grant from NSF (National Research Foundation) that allows real-time tracking of tiny pollutants in the atmosphere.
Academically, there are undergrad, MBA and Ph.D. options. GT’s GreenBuzz Web site states that there are over 100 courses (across all colleges) which emphasize sustainability topics (although another source states over 300). Across the five colleges, there are a wide array of sustainability and environmental topics covered. The Scheller MBA program ranked #8 in the Corporate Knights 2014 top 100 Sustainable MBA programs, a worldwide ranking of how well sustainability concepts are integrated into MBA programs.
Green Mountain College, founded in 1834, is located in Poultney, VT — about 70 miles north and slightly east of Albany, NY, and about 160 miles approximately south of Montreal, Canada. The college made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #8 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in Oct 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
GMC sustainability initiatives include a CHP (combined heat and power) plant, a goal of climate and carbon neutrality, a Student Campus Greening Fund (SCGF), a wind turbine, a greenhouse, solar panels, Energy Star appliances (light fixtures), recycling, promotion of cycling, alternative energy use, a bottled water ban, membership in the Eco League (which Dickinson College and College of the Atlantic are also members of — both of which are in this list).
The college has had a focus on environmental topics for around three decades (since 1995), both academic and in general. Its ELA (Environmental Liberal Arts) courses form a core around which students can choose to base their education from different departments. Majors and Minors span all departments, and certificates include Renewable Energy and Ecological Design (also has a BA track), and Water Resource Management. Examples of Majors include Natural Resources Management, and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production. Minors include Environmental Education, Environmental Policy, Environmental Studies, and Natural Resources Management. Grad programs include the Sustainable MBA, M.S. in Environmental Studies (MSES), M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS), and M.S. in Resilient and Sustainable Communities (MRSC).
Stanford University, founded in 1891, is located in Stanford, CA, about a mile from downtown Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley. The community of Stanford received a Platinum BFC (one of only two in 2014) and Stanford U a Gold BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. Stanford U’s FY 2013 endowment was around $18.69B. Stanford received scores of A- in all three years 2009-2011 from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #6 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in Sep 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
Stanford has nearly three dozen centers and institutes having something to do with sustainability and numerous initiatives. They include an industry partnership in GCEP (Global Climate and Energy Project), green dining and the sustainable food program (with local sourcing and organic and free-range products), composting, solar power, wind power, water conservation, promoting energy conservation, and more.
Academically, there are several sustainability study options for students, with courses offered across multiple departments and schools at Stanford. Some schools with full programs focused or related to sustainability are the School of Earth Sciences, School of Education (Program in Science and Environmental Education), School of Engineering, School of Law (Joint Degree in Law and Environment and Resources, Master of Laws (LLM) in Environmental Law and Policy), and School of Medicine.
Other interdisciplinary programs include Urban Studies (undergrad) and the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD), the latter of which has an annual conference, Financialization of Energy and Environmental Markets. There are undergrad summer internships with the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy. Research-wise, there are several dozen institutes doing work in sustainability and environmental concerns.
Lewis & Clark College, founded in 1867, is located in Portland, OR. Portland received a Platinum BFC (one of only four in 2014) from the League of American Bicyclists. The college’s FY 2013 endowment was around $209.7M. The college received scores of C, C+ and C for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, and ranked #5 in Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list. Lewis and Clark is listed in AASHE.org STARS but did not have a rating at the time of writing. It won the 2011-2012 EPA Green Power Individual Conference Champion title for using the most green power in its conference (Northwest).
Sustainability initiatives include a green building policy (minimum LEED Gold certified for new projects and major renovations), a climate action plan, reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) at least 20% (exceeded) from 2009 to 2018, wind power (100% of campus electricity needs), green dining, a campus carshare program, general energy conservation, community engagement and education, SEED (Students Engaged in Eco-Defense), SABER (Student Advocates for Business and Environmental Responsibility), an Accessibility Task Force, a Sustainability Council (LCSC) and more.
Academically, Lewis and Clark offer an Environmental Studies Major, a JD in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, and others. In general, Environmental Studies tracks are available as both Majors and Minors. There is also an Eco-psychology in Counseling grad certificate. The Environmental Law program ranked #1 in US New’s 2014 list.
University of California – Irvine, founded in 1965, is located in Irvine, CA — roughly 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The university’s FY 2013 endowment was around $330.1M. UCI received a Silver BFU rating from the League of American Bicyclists. The university made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #1 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in May 2013 from AASHE.org STARS. It was also recognized as a Tree Campus USA campus in 2014 by the Arbor Day Foundation, with an event held in mid-Nov. In Jun 2014, President Obama praised the university about their general achievements in climate change, stating that Irvine was “ahead of the curve.”
UC Irvine’s green building policy has a minimum LEED Silver certifications, though the university has scored a total of 20 awards – 12 Platinum and 8 Gold. The Verano Place grad student housing complex won five Platinum awards alone in 2013. Five buildings are ranked as “zero waste,” with 95% or more waste matter diverted from landfills. Sustainability initiatives include the Office of Campus and Environmental Planning (CEP), commitment to ACUPCC, goal of climate neutrality, filtration systems for stormwater runoff, cool roofs, efficient plumbing (45% water savings), diversion of construction/ demolition waste (89%), local sourcing for some building materials, a real food challenge, UC Global Food Initiative, smart labs (with an average 60% decrease of energy use), water filling stations, transportation options, FloodRISE (flood resilient infrastructure and sustainable environments), Global Environmental Brigades, Engineers Without Borders, Clean Education, CALPIRG, and Anteaters for Conservation and Recycling.
Academically, there are a number of institutes and schools, including UCI Environment Institute (EI), which also has the GSRC (Global Sustainability Resource Center) for student leadership in sustainability education, School of Social Ecology, School of Law, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science and several others. In total, there are nearly 80 sustainability-focused courses and nearly 80 sustainability-related courses offered across 19 schools and colleges. The university’s Environmental Engineering program ranked #34 in US News’ 2014 list. Research-wise, one team (professor and student) won a Nobel Prize for the discovery of ozone layer-destroying CFCs.
University of Massachusetts – Amherst (UMass), founded in 1863, is located in Amherst, MA — approximately 20 miles north and slightly east of Springfield, MA. UMass’ FY 2013 endowment was around $664.2M. The university received scores of C+, C+ and B- for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 (and 2014) Green Honor Roll, ranked #50 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in Jan 2014 from AASHE.org STARS. UMass was also on the Second Nature 2014 list and a 2012 White House Champions of Change challenge winner.
UMass sustainability initiatives include, a CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plant which won an EPA Energy Star award, a commitment to ACUPCC, a climate action plan, a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, Campus Sustainability Day, EcoReps, solar power, sustainable permaculture, recycling, sustainable agriculture, clean energy partnerships, paper use reduction, tobacco-free campus, real food campus commitment, talks on sustainability, green research and innovation and more.
Academically, UMass offers 300-plus sustainability-related courses and over 25 undergrad majors. Course categories consist of Climate Change, Conservation and Ecology, Economics and Business, Energy, Food and Farming, Public Health, Urban/ Built Environment, Water, and a general education credit. Grad options include an M.S. in Environmental Conservation, an M.S. in Design and Historic Conservation, and a Masters in Sustainability Science.
The Sustainability Fellowship Program has as many as 20 interns in a semester, with participation being compensated with three credits for one semester. Fellows are each given an area of focus related to campus sustainability. Faculty who wish to revise courses to add or improve a sustainability component can turn to the Sustainability Curriculum Initiative for support.
University of California – Santa Barbara (UCSB), founded in 1891/ (became part of UC system in 1944), is located in Santa Barbara, CA — roughly 95 miles approximately west by northwest of Los Angeles. Santa Barbara received a Silver BFC and UCSB a Gold BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. UCSB’s FY 2013 endowment was around $123.8M. UC Santa Barbara made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Card and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #24 in Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list, and received a Gold rating in Sep 2014 from AASHE.org STARS.
Academically, UCSB has the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, which is a professional school which has several research affiliations. It offers a two-year Master’s program in Environmental Science and Management. The Master’s involves a project (group or eco-entrepreneurship) proposed by one of several agencies. The Master’s program requires a second-year specialization in one of seven options: Coastal Marine Resources Management, Conservation Planning, Corporate Environmental Management, Economics and Politics of the Environment, Energy and Climate, Pollution Prevention and Remediation, and Water Resources Management. The Master’s program is not intended as a preliminary to the Ph.D. program in Environment Science and Management, which is also designed to train leaders. There are also interdisciplinary courses, and student sustainability internship options as well.
UCSB has many sustainability-related initiatives and even several active organizations and political parties with an interest in the environment. The work on greening Bren Hall helped move the University of California system to adopt a green building policy. Bren Hall not only received the first LEED Platinum certification for a laboratory building in the United States but and also received a second LEED Platinum certification under EB/OM. Other initiatives include energy efficiency (LED light bulbs and other means), water conservation through sustainable irrigation, support of local farms, solar panels (nearly 3,000 expected on campus by 2015), recycling, a campus bikeway and others.
Dickinson College, founded in 1773, is located in Carlisle, PA — a little over 20 miles approximately southwest of Harrisburg, PA, and north of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD. Dickinson College’s FY 2013 endowment was around $356.7M. It received a Silver BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. The college received scores of A-, A- and A for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #3 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list (and 2010), and received a Gold rating in Apr 2012 from AASHE.org STARS.
Dickinson also won Second Nature’s 2010 Climate Leadership Award due to various initiatives. These include a climate action plan, a goal of climate neutrality by 2020, solar panels, a zero-carbon biofuel from used vegetable oil, an organic farm and sustainable dining, a green building policy (with four LEED Gold certifications), stormwater management, Green Bikes bike share program, natural meadows, rain gardens, use of Energy Star appliances, Treehouse (aka the Center for Sustainable Living), CSE (the Center for Sustainability Education) and more.
Dickinson has a number of ways that participants are educated in sustainability, through CSE, including Eco-Reps, student internships, the student Biodiesel Shop, faculty workshops, monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, participating in the UN climate change conference, working on sustainability projects, and courses. The college claims over 100 courses are offered by over 30 academic departments which either focus or touch upon sustainability. Such courses are designated with the labels SINV (Sustainability Investigations) or SCON (Sustainability Connections), useful for online searches. Dickinson is an undergrad school and as such has no grad programs, at the time of writing. There are also over 50 yearly internship options.
American University (AU), founded in 1893, is located in Washington, DC. The city received a Silver BFC from the League of American Bicyclists. AU’s FY 2013 endowment was around $478.2M. The university received scores of B-, B and B+ for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Honor Roll, reached #15 on EPA.gov’s Oct 27/14 top-30 list, ranked #2 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list and received a Gold rating in Feb 2014 from AASHE.org STARS (with a goal of Platinum by 2017).
AU’s sustainability initiatives include a student environmental group (EcoSense), an Environmental Issues Project Team, a green building policy (with Gold certification achieved), raising awareness, greening the campus and community, solar power (expected to supply 50% of campus electricity needs by end of 2015), promoting reusable water bottles, green procurement, a Green Office program, a climate commitment plan, green cleaning services, and a goal of zero waste (to landfills) by 2020.
Academically, AU claims an incredible 785 courses taught in 2010 were either sustainability focused or related. That jumped 1,079 courses taught in 2012, according to a spring 2013 survey of faculty — or nearly 20% of all classes offered. Such courses fall under departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, Kogod School of Business, the School of Communication, the School of International Service, and the School of Public Affairs.
Options include bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as grad certificates. Examples of degrees include a BA Environmental Studies, BS Environmental Science, Minor Environmental Science, MS Environmental Science, MS Professional Science: Environmental Assessment, MA Global Environmental Policy, MA Natural Resources and Sustainable Development and an MS Sustainability. Certificates include a grad Certificate Environmental Assessment, and a Green Teaching Certificate program is offered by the Center for Teaching Excellence.