The Princeton Review has recently come out with their first rating of the greenest universities after ranking 534 institutions and profiling 368 of them. Along with a non-profit environmental marketing agency called ecoAmerica, the Princeton Review based their rankings on a scale of 60 to 99, where a score of 99 earned a school ‘honor roll' status. The criteria of the rankings cover three categories; student quality of life (is it healthy and sustainable?), student preparation for employment in a world of environmental challenges, and the school's overall obligation to environmental matters. The green ratings appear on the website profiles of the 534 schools that are posted on the Princeton Review's website.
There were 11 honor roll colleges/universities. In alphabetical order, they are:
- Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
- Bates College (Lewiston, Maine)
- Binghamton University (State Univ. of New York at Binghamton)
- College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, Maine)
- Emory University (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Harvard College (Cambridge, Mass.)
- University of New Hampshire (Durham, N.H.)
- University of Oregon (Eugene, Ore.)
- University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.)
- Yale University (New Haven, Conn.)
The scores were generated through surveys of over 120,000 students currently attending 368 institutions. Questions on the survey included everything from energy use, recycling, food, buildings, transportation, academic course offerings, and long-term action plans to mitigate their respective carbon footprint. Robert Franek, vice president of the Princeton Review, summarized their part in this new endeavor by stating, "The commitment that many colleges and their student bodies have made to environmental issues - indeed, to the environment -- in their practices, use of resources and academic and research programs is truly compelling. We are pleased to play a role in helping students identify, get into, and study at these schools."
With the most pressing environmental issues of our time approaching quickly, it is imperative that our universities be on the forefront of innovation, both technological and intellectual. It is good to know that future generations of college students will have resources, such as this new rating system, to make those decisions.