Princeton Review Names Colorado State University Among Nation’s Top Green Colleges

Colorado State University is one of the top colleges and universities – out of nearly 700 reviewed by The Princeton Review – that has a strong commitment to sustainability initiatives and activities, according to a new report by the New York-based education services company issued during Earth Week.

“The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges” is the first free, comprehensive guidebook in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council. Colleges and universities included in the list were selected from a 2009 list of published Green Rating scores for 697 schools in Princeton Review’s online college profiles and/or annual college guidebooks. Of 697 schools that earned “Green Ratings” in 2009, the 286 schools in the guide received scores in the 80th or higher percentile.

Princeton Review assigns ratings to the schools, but does not rank them hierarchically. The organization rated Colorado State University at 91, noting the university’s participation in the Talloires Declaration in 2001 and the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2008, as well as acknowledging the university’s many sustainable efforts over the years.

“We have made great progress here at Colorado State in becoming global leaders in sustainability research, creating innovative educational programs for our students in many aspects of the New Green Economy, and being a model in the state and beyond for taking energy and environmental issues into account in all that we do,” said Colorado State University Provost Rick Miranda. “It is heartening to see the Princeton Review recognize these achievements.”

Highlights listed about Colorado State include:
• First institution of higher learning in the world to receive LEED for Commercial Interiors certification.
• First university to collect data via satellite for weather forecasting, and it founded the United States’ first emissions-control program, an invaluable resource for reducing greenhouse gases on campus.
• One of the first universities nationwide to offer green power to its students living in residence halls. With more than 700 students using this option since the program’s inception, CSU will keep 215,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being produced this year alone.
• Construction of a biomass boiler that burns wood chips claimed from forest fire or beetle kill mitigation projects.
• Recycling program works actively to help ensure that recyclable waste avoids the landfill by increasing the number of recycling bins around campus and investing in a new truck. As a result, in 2008, 51 percent of the university’s waste was recycled.

Colorado State University was in the top 20 in RecycleMania’s Grand Champion competition – ranking 17th in the nation – with a cumulative recycling rate of more than 52 percent of the total waste generated on campus. RecycleMania is a 10-week recycling competition between colleges and universities across the nation. This year, close to 600 universities participated.

In January, the university dedicated one of the largest solar plants in the nation at a university – a two-megawatt operation that will help the state meet goals for renewable energy and keep the university’s utility rates stable and affordable during the next 20 years. The solar power plant, owned and operated by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, features more than 8,000 Trina Solar panels that cover 15 acres of the university’s Foothills Campus – about three miles west of the main campus.

Colorado State University sets the standard as a sustainable and environmentally responsible institution of higher education and the nation’s “green” leader. This commitment has taken the form of a three-part strategy: green campus operations, educating tomorrow’s green workforce, and deploying research to promote environmental sustainability worldwide.

As part of those efforts, the university offers students the chance to learn in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability – an umbrella organization that encompasses all environmental education and research in all eight colleges at the university. The school positions CSU to address the multiple challenges to global sustainability through broad-based research, curricular and outreach initiatives.

On Tuesday, the school announced its first global environmental sustainability course, which will be offered this fall. Global Environmental Sustainability Seminar, GES-192, is a 3-credit course that offers an introduction to sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world.