By Nima Kapadia
From degree options to the availability of financial aid and extracurricular activities, college applicants consider a variety of factors when choosing a school.
A college’s sustainability practices are becoming another key factor, and The Princeton Review is trying to help students and parents by including a new category of “green ratings” in its college guides to be released this month.
Who topped the list? There are some surprises, from a school in the desert (hint: they are devilishly green) to that old Princeton rival….Well, we don’t want to ruin all the fun. But read on.
The Princeton Review rated 534 colleges that will be featured in its Best 366 Colleges and Complete College Handbook. Each school was rated on a scale of 66 to 99 based upon:
- Whether students have a campus that is both healthy and sustainable
- Whether a school’s policies are environmentally responsible
- How students are being prepared not only for future employment, but also for dealing with environmental challenges
The decision to implement a “green ratings” system came from The Princeton Review’s annual “College Hopes and Worries” survey. Over 10,300 students and parents completed the survey, which revealed that 63 percent would consider attending a college that showed a commitment to the environment.
A non-profit environmental research organization, ecoAmerica, developed the survey that included 28 questions pertaining to recycling, transportation alternatives, food sources and other sustainability methods.
“Forward-looking colleges and universities know that policies are good for the environment and are also good for students,” said Lee Bodner, executive director ecoAmerica, in a statement. “The Princeton Review’s Green Ratings help students and parents find these schools which offer a great quality of life and prepare students for successful and fulfilling careers in the 21st Century green economy.”
The Review listed 11 schools on its green honor roll. Among them:
Arizona State University at Tempe — cited because it sustainability considerations underlie its educational goals and business and research practice. ASU also created a School of Sustainability with dozens of cross-disciplinary study options.
College of the Atlantic — because it was created to teach harmonious existence with nature and can now boast that it is carbon neutral with emissions reduced or offset to “net zero”.
Harvard College — because it has the largest green campus organization anywhere with 24 full time staff and 32 part time students working to green all areas of the campus. It also offers a loan program to anyone with a green concept with a payback within 10 years, an initiative that has resulted in improved lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation systems.
For more information on green ratings, and to see the rest of the honor roll visit The Princeton Review’s website.
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