By Matthew Keck–

The University of Louisville continues to make waves in creating a more sustainable campus. Sierra Club’s “Cool School” list ranked U of L at 84 out of 282 schools for 2019.

“This ranking verifies that we have a lot to be proud of about U of L’s progress on integrating environmental, social and economic stewardship into everything we do,” said Justin Mog, assistant provost for sustainability initiatives.

This marks the 10th consecutive year that U of L has cracked the top 100 on this list and up 20 spots from last year. U of L was also the highest ranked college or university in Kentucky on the list.

The ranking system used for this list is the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). U of L scored an average of 65.79 out of the 17 categories. Of the six major categories U of L scored the highest in food and energy rankings. U of L scored the lowest in research and transportation rankings.

The Sierra Club is the oldest grassroots environmental group in the U.S. with this being their 13th year of “Cool School” rankings. Participation in their rankings is open to any public or community college in the U.S. and Canada.

“Our results show that while many universities are making admirable progress, no school has yet attained complete sustainability,” states Sierra Club’s website. “In 2019, the top-rated university scored 88.63 points out of 100—or a solid B+.”

To participate in the Sierra rankings list colleges and universities must score a bronze STARS rating or higher. This year U of L received their highest STARS ranking, gold, putting them in the top 100 most sustainable schools in the world.

Mog said that the biggest area U of L needs to improve in is transportation. He said that 27 percent of U of L’s carbon emissions can be attributed to transportation.

“It is time for us to get serious about addressing this issue instead of assuming that everyone is going to drive to campus and we simply have to accommodate that expensive, unhealthy, destructive choice,” said Mog. “We need to develop a Transportation Demand Management Plan that lays out our goals for reducing the number of cars coming to campus and vehicle miles traveled by U of L students and employees.”

U of L will be celebrating their annual sustainability week Oct. 17 through the 25.

“With the help and advocacy of students, faculty, and staff, there is no doubt that U of L can improve our sustainability performance and become and even ‘cooler’ school in years to come,” said Mog.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal