QUOTING SIERRA CLUB’S SIERRA MAGAZINE (Sept./Oct., 2008)
“NOT LONG AGO small private colleges had a near monopoly on campus environmental initiatives in the United States. But today supersize public universities are nipping at the nimble, hemp-shod heels of those pioneers by adopting green building standards, expanding environmental studies programs, and converting fleets to zero-emission vehicles…
The top schools earned points in ten categories: policies for building, energy, food, investment, procurement, and transportation; curriculum; environmental activism; waste management; and overall commitment to sustainability. A perfect score in every area would give a school 100 points.
IN THE TOP 10:
CLICK #5 EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE, OLYMPIA
Evergreen first made headlines for getting rid of grades and majors in the 1970s. Now the college creates buzz with its environmental policies, which include a mandate that all new building projects comply with silver-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Less than a quarter of students use their intercity bus passes (included with tuition) to get to school, but new bus shelters with solar-powered lighting may help them get jazzed about public transit.
Student activism: At least nine campus organizations take on environmental and social justice issues.
Investments: No transparency or reported sustainable-investing policies.
CLICK #9 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE
The home of the Huskies is one of the few universities whose overall energy use has decreased (by 10 percent between 2000 and 2005) despite campus growth. All the university’s energy comes from renewable sources (including hydropower), and 14 buildings are slated for construction or renovation in compliance with LEED standards.
Investments: Endowment funds support renewable energy and LEED-certified development projects.
Student activism: Environmental advocacy remains a fringe activity.
If you go Sign up for courses in the College of Forest Resources–many of them include field trips to the Pacific Northwest’s awe-inspiring woodlands.