Princeton Review’s Green College Honor Roll

Princeton Review’s Green College Honor Roll

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The holidays are the one time of the year when college students are glad to come home again. The lure may not be family or old friends, but simply the feeling of warmth and well-being. It may even be as simple as all the wonderful food smells that blanket this season from the fourth Thursday in November to the first day of the new year – smells which make cafeteria food seem even less palatable.

Brief, frequently cold, and featuring airplane flights that are delayed, terrifying or just plain boring – not to mention the fear that a TSA agent is going to grope you – most college students (particularly freshmen) prefer the ignominy of having their mothers tell them they look like a homeless person to staying in dorm rooms alone while Christmas music plays from a radio, Kindle or MP3.

In honor of the colleges that raise the awareness level of our young people, and inspire them to be eco-conscious from the very beginning of their four-year journey into the future, prestigious New Jersey-based Princeton University has issued its 2013 Green Honor Roll.

We don’t have room to list all 21, but here are 10 of the greenest:

  1. American University, or AU, Washington, D.C. with 23 sustainability staff members and more than 25 buildings engaged in a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Volume Existing Building certification process. LEED is a metric established by the U.S. Green Building Council, or USGBC, to measure building sustainability.
  2. Arizona State University, or ASU, with more than 15 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic energy and several buildings LEED-certified as either Platinum (the highest level of sustainability), Gold or Silver.
  3. California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, in Pasadena, a small private university that has implemented energy-efficiency projects which save the campus 8,300 megawatt-hours of electricity and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 6,000 metric tons over their lifetimes.
  4. California State University at Chico, or CSU, also placing among the top 35 on the Sierra Club’s Cool School’s list, it intends to acquire LEED certification for all campus buildings, and meanwhile has already benefitted from a $50,000 grant from Pacific Gas & Electric for its energy-saving software at campus computer labs.
  5. Catawba College, Salisbury, North Carolina, small but so intensely green it could make you blink, has succeeded in transforming its environmental profile with the help of the Center for the Environment and the ACUPCC (the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment). It has also acquired LEED certification for a complex of five residence halls on campus, giving the “living green” slogan a whole new meaning.
  6. Chatham University in Pennsylvania, though small, has its own School of Sustainability and the Environment, and is also an ACUPCC member by virtue of its solar hot water initiative on the two largest student housing units. Pushing the green envelope, the college also has a 32-acre arboretum with 117 different species of trees.
  7. College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor, Maine, in 2007 acquired the honor of being the first carbon neutral college in the country. Performing yearly energy audits of its buildings, and feeding students from an organic farm of more than 125 acres, the college not only promotes green health through healthy eating, but has compost waste bins throughout the cafeteria and in every dorm. Add to these various bins for plastic, paper and glass recycling, and the school’s Sustainable Foods Program, and parents have a real winner in a campus that is large enough to encourage sociability yet small enough to be reassuring to nervous freshmen.
  8. Columbia University, New York, which has a 17-acre Manhattanville campus plan in West Harlem.
  9. Georgia Tech, with one of the world’s biggest grid-tied rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in the world.
  10. Baltimore, Maryland-based Goucher College, an ACUPCC member which worked with Massachusetts-based Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc., to develop a Climate Action Plan, which was put in place in the spring of 2011.

In an era of heightened eco-awareness, college-bound students couldn’t do better than selecting a college not only for its curriculum but also its environmental and sustainability profile.

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