Nov 9, 2011

West Coast Schools Dominate Sierra Club’s List of ‘Coolest Schools’

Not to be outdone by the Princeton Review’s ranking of green colleges, the Sierra Club recently published its 5th annual list of “cool schools.” And not surprisingly, seven of the ten highest ranked colleges are on the west coast and four come from the University of California system.

“[W]e asked the Sierra Club’s conservation experts to help us rejigger our 12-page questionnaire to reflect the Club’s most pressing priorities,” explained Avital Binshtock, of Sierra Magazine. “We e-mailed surveys to 940 schools and carefully sifted through the 118 responses we received.”

Survey questions centered on environmental goals and achievements. Schools were asked about energy supply, efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments, and “other initiatives.” The resulting “coolest school” ranking is an index that provides comparative information about the most important elements of campus sustainability.

Although not among the top 10, several local colleges and universities made appearances on the list including the University of Maryland (20), American University (26), and George Washington University (30). All three schools scored highest in academics.

As sustainability continues to be an important consideration for college-bound high school students, these surveys provide a glimpse of campus efforts on the green front.

According to Sierra Magazine, the top 10 coolest schools are:

1. University of Washington
2. Green Mountain College
3. UC San Diego
4. Warren Wilson College
5. Stanford University
6. UC Irvine
7. UC Santa Cruz
8. UC Davis
9. Evergreen State College
10. Middlebury College

You can find more information on the survey and the 118 ranked colleges on the Sierra Magazine website.

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