For nearly 30 years, The Princeton Review has been covering higher education and, this year, the company is including sustainability in its focus. Partnering with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Princeton Reivew has released "The Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges."
The guide, compiled from surveys of colleges across the United States, is available for free download at princetonreview.com/greenguide and usgbc.org/campus. The 286 schools featued in the guide were chosen based on "green rating" scores compiled from a survey of 697 schools in summer 2009. To be featured in the green guides, schools had to score in the 80th percentile or higher. Criteria addressed three broad areas: 1) do the school's students have a healthy and sustainable campus quality of life; 2) how well is the school preparing students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges; and 3) what is the school's overall commitment to environmental issues. Specifically, in examining sustainable initiatives, the survey asked:
1. What percentage of the campus' food expenditures go toward local, organic, or otherwise environmentally preferable food?
2. Does the school offer 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?
3. Does the school have a formal committee with participation from students that is devoted to advancing sustainability on campus?
4. Are new buildings required to be LEED Silver certified?
5. What is the school's overall waste diversion rate?
6. Does the school have an environmental studies major, minor, or concentration?
7. Does the school have an "environmental literacy" requirement?
8. Has the school produced a publicly available greenhouse gas emissions inventory and adopted a climate action plan consistent with 80 percent greenhouse gas reductions by 2050 targets?
9. What percentage of the school's energy consumption, including heating/colling and electrical, is derived from renewable sources?
10. Does the school employ a dedicated full-time or fullt-ime equivalent sustainability officer?
Each profile in the guide gives a green overview of the school, along with statistical data on the school's responses to the 10 questions above.