PODCAST: Green Colleges Influence Student Applications

NEW YORK — On April 16, The Princeton Review published The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition, the company’s fourth release of the free guidebook, which highlights 320 environmentally responsible campuses in the U.S. and two in Canada.

In partnership with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, the education services company created the 215-page guide to profile the colleges’ commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The resource was first published in 2010 to increase green building efforts — including design, construction and maintenance and operations — and enhance student-learning environments.

The 2013 edition features school profiles with information related to application, admission, financial aid and sustainability initiatives, as well as “Green Facts” sidebars, which provide information on the school’s use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs and career guidance for green jobs. There is also a list of schools with LEED-certified buildings, as well as those that are signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Another portion of the guidebook includes advice for green living on campus.

The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a 2012 survey conducted of hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and in Canada, in which schools were given green scores from 60 to 99. The survey asked administrators more than 50 questions about the school’s sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. Green ratings for 806 institutions were reported, and the 322 schools listed in the book received scores of 83 or above.

Today’s college students are putting a lot more emphasis on schools with sustainable efforts, according to Robert Franek, senior vice president/publisher for The Princeton Review. “Among 9,955 college applications who participated in our 2013 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 62 percent said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school,” he said in a statement. “We recommend these schools to all students seeking colleges that practice and promote environmentally responsible choices.”

The fact that such a high percentage of students base their college applications on green campuses is all the more reason for schools to implement a Green Team (or group of students that works towards making their school more eco-friendly). Green Building News spoke with Dan Broersma, safety and sustainability corporate program manager for Herman Miller Environment Affairs Department, who works with college campuses to make them more sustainable. Here, Broersma offers advice on how to make green improvements without high costs.

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