Princeton Review Honors Green Colleges

LOGAN, Utah — The Princeton Review, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council has recently named Utah State University in Logan, Utah, a “green” college for the third year in a row.

The recognition honors the university’s commitment to sustainability and recognizes the wide-range of green initiatives that have taken place at USU’s campus.

“It is an honor to be included on this list as it shows that USU believes that doing what is right for the environment and what is right for our students don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” said Nat Frazer, Chairman of the USU Sustainability Council and Faculty in the College of Natural Resources.

Princeton Review has honored 322 out of 2,000 colleges participating in the green colleges survey. The winners had to show environmental responsibility and demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability.

During the 2007-2008 school year, Princeton Review officials visited college campuses around the country and noticed an increase in green practices and green buildings. They surveyed 10,300 students and parents in order to see if sustainability was a concern when choosing a college, from those surveyed 63 percent agreed that environmentally responsible campuses were a factor when deciding on which institute to attend, according to the Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges.

USU has since been named on the list of green colleges for three years in a row. The school has made several green improvements including the installation of natural gas heating plants on campus that have reduced air emissions from 265 tons to less than 20 tons in five years.

The university also noticed that 47 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions came from transportation related issues. In reaction to its carbon footprint the university’s Transportation Committee immediately began developing strategies to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. As a solution, the Aggie Blue Bike program was introduced — a student-managed program that lends bikes to USU students free of charge for up to a semester at a time. The program started with nine bikes and has since grown to more than 100 — contributing to a reduction of commuter traffic by more than half from previous years, according to the Princeton Review.

In addition to the bike program, USU has seven LEED certified buildings throughout its campus including two silver-certified, two platinum-certified and three gold-certified buildings, according to the university.

Survey Questions to Determine Green College Winners
• The percentage of food expenditures that goes toward local, organic or otherwise environmentally preferable food.
• Whether the school offers programs including free bus passes, universal access transit passes, bike sharing/renting, car sharing, carpool parking, vanpooling or guaranteed rides home to encourage alternatives to single-passenger automobile use for students.
• Whether the school has a formal committee with participation from students that is devoted to advancing sustainability on campus.
• Whether new buildings are required to be certified LEED Silver.
• The school’s overall waste diversion rate.
• Whether the school has an environmental studies major, minor or concentration.
• Whether the school has an “environmental literacy” requirement.
• Whether the school has produced a publicly available greenhouse gas emissions inventory and adopted a climate action plan consistent with 80 percent greenhouse gas reductions by 2050 targets.
• What percentage of the school’s energy consumption, including heating/cooling and electrical, is derived from renewable sources (this definition included “green tags” but not nuclear or large scale hydropower).
• Whether the school employs a dedicated full-time (or full-time equivalent) sustainability officer.

SOURCE: Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges (2012)