Do students care about sustainability when it comes to picking a college? The Princeton Review Guide for 353 Green Colleges seems thinks so, and they included U of L in their list.
The Princeton Review Guide gave U of L a rating of 93 for its green transportation alternatives, percentage of food purchased from local or organic sources, LEED certification for new construction and the rate of the university’s waste diversion, among other green initiatives. The ranking is based off the university’s 2014 data.
Justin Mog, the assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives, says that it difficult to say where U of L stacks up with other colleges in terms of sustainability.
“When you consider all the different kinds of schools out there – big/small, public/private, etc., it can feel like a constant game trying to compare apples and oranges.”
“However, what The Princeton Review does is create what they call a ‘green rating’ for each school. In 2015, only schools with scores of 83 or higher were included in the Princeton Review Guide to 353 Green Colleges.”
Graduate student Ben Leamon, the director of green initiatives for ELSB, says he has seen interest in university sustainability grow in the past few years.
“While I don’t know that the ‘green-ness’ of a university is the only deciding factor for students deciding where to attend, it’s certainly a big issue, and one that becomes more important for prospective students with each passing year.”
Mog shared a report 2014 report from the U.S. Green Building Council, which states that 62 percent of incoming college students rate sustainability as a factor in their college decision.
According to Leamon, national recognition from the Princeton Review Guide is a challenge to maintain sustainability efforts.
“It’s also tremendously rewarding to know that the work of so many students especially, but also a number of faculty and staff, is seen and appreciated by groups outside of the U of L family,” says Leamon.
He named ELSB’s partnership with the Student Cycling Coalition as one of his favorite sustainability projects this year.
“U of L has a bike voucher program that enables hundreds of students and employees to earn a free bicycle each year, but those bikes need to be maintained, and that’s not always easy to do when we’ve got classes, homework, and extracurricular activities to take care of. By meeting campus cyclists where they already are, the Coalition is able to help meet that need, and keep people riding.”
Looking to the future, Mog says he is excited to bring a degree program in sustainability to U of L next year.
“The Sustainability Council is working to attain final approvals to launch our interdisciplinary masters program in sustainability this fall, and we are continuing to organize for a bachelors degree in sustainability as soon as funding will allow.”
According to a university press release, U of L also made the Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges in 2014.