During Earth Week, Princeton Review Names Colorado State University Among Nation’s Top Green Colleges

Note to Reporters: Photos of some Colorado State University green projects are available with the news release at http://www.news.colostate.edu. To see a brief video about CSU’s solar plant, go to YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HbgzSNeJGA&feature=youtube_gdata.

With a 5.3-megawatt solar plant, biomass boiler, graywater testing in residence halls and a new minor in sustainability, Colorado State University is once again one of the nation’s top colleges and universities – according to The Princeton Review – with a strong commitment to sustainability initiatives and activities.

Among Colorado public universities listed, Colorado State had the highest “green” score. Princeton Review assigns ratings to the schools, but does not rank them hierarchically.

For the second year during Earth Week, the New York-based education services company has produced “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges” in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Colorado State is a global leader in sustainability research, creating innovative educational programs for our students in many aspects of the New Energy Economy,” said Colorado State University Provost Rick Miranda. “We are pleased that Princeton Review recognizes our commitment to sustainability, which takes participation by our entire campus community.”

Princeton Review rated Colorado State University at 93, up from 91 last year, noting the university has six LEED Gold buildings and five others pending certification. Princeton Review also mentioned Colorado State’s participation in the Talloires Declaration in 2001, the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2008 and the ongoing Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System or STARS, which is a self-reporting program created by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Robert Franek, Senior VP, Publishing for Princeton Review, said that of 8,200 students surveyed in the spring, nearly 7 out of 10 (69 percent) said “having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.”

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.

On Monday, the school announced the university’s first interdisciplinary minor in Global Environmental Sustainability. The minor will give students from across campus the opportunity to obtain a diverse background in environmental sustainability, including the physical, biological, economic and social pillars of sustainability.

Other recent green efforts at Colorado State:

Solar: On Thursday, April 21, the university will formally dedicate one of the largest solar plants in the nation at a university – a 5.3-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.

Composting: Also on Thursday, Housing and Dining Services will debut the university’s first commercial-sized composting project on the Foothills Campus. The Earth Flow composter can accept up to 2,000 pounds of material per day, largely a mix of pulp from the Ram’s Horn and Braiden dining centers and organic materials from the Foothills Campus.

Recycling: Colorado State University consistently places in the top 25 in RecycleMania’s Grand Champion competition 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 about 600 colleges and universities across the nation.

Water conservation: Aspen Hall is a test site for a graywater research project. Fourteen rooms are participating in the research pilot project in partnership with the university’s internationally known Civil and Environmental Engineering department. Water from the sinks and showers in the test rooms is collected in the basement of Aspen Hall, treated/purified, and then used for sub-surface irrigation.

Other Princeton Review listings 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.

• Operates a biomass boiler that burns wood chips claimed from forest fire or beetle kill mitigation projects.

• The student-run Aspen Grille is the second green-certified restaurant in Colorado with locally produced food.

• The Colorado State Forest Service produces two million seedlings annually to reduce carbon monoxide emissions.

About the Princeton Review ranking

Colleges and universities included in the list were selected from a 2010 list of published Green Rating scores for 703 schools in Princeton Review’s online college profiles and/or annual college guidebooks. Of 703 schools that earned “Green Ratings” in 2009, the 311 schools in the guide received scores in the 80th or higher percentile. Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.