SIERRA’s fourth annual list of greenest schools keeps up the competitive pressure on universities to push the sustainability envelope as we present this year’s valedictorian Vermont’s Green Mountain College and the top 100 greenest schools.
“From the New York Times to the Reuters blog, Good Magazine, and multiple hits on Treehugger - SIERRA magazine’s 2010 Cool Schools issue is making a splash,” writes Orli Cotel, Sierra Club’s Deputy Communications Director. “The Cool Schools issue is once again a great way for us to reach young audiences and help push colleges and universities towards a greener way of doing business.”
We sent out an eleven-page questionnaire to 900 colleges and universities across the United States, asking them to detail their sustainability efforts. As with any ranking system, this one is bound to incite controversy and we welcome responses and critiques. You can join the lively discussion—and peruse a copy of the questionnaire, an explanation of our scoring methodology, and every school’s complete response—at sierraclub.org/coolschools.
In addition, we present some stand out class acts: recent graduates and their eco-friendly initiatives; a dream team of professors, such as Michael Pollan and Al Gore; and necessary classes like Environmental Ethics and Policy. Plus, the Sierra Club acknowledges those schools that take nature-based extracurricular activities to a whole new altitude in order to explore and enjoy the outdoors. While protecting the planet has become more dramatic, student campaigners against dirty energy utilize creative ways to protest and raise awareness: flash mobs, “die-ins”, sleep-ins, street theater and tree-sits.
It’s not only students that are changing the game, but university researchers are “getting back to the future.” They are working on a method of energy production that won’t pump out greenhouse gases but rather will remove them from the air; super-efficient batteries and nanotechnology that will drive the next generation of vehicles; carbon-neutral biofuels to replace carbon-spewing fossil fuels; and a zero-carbon solar energy system that will electrify the planet 24-7.
With so much going in the realm of greening schools, we couldn’t fit it all on paper, so go online to learn which colleges earned most improved, how K-12 schools are getting in the game and about the sustainability side of two classic college rivalries. And, this issue wouldn’t be complete without a review of eco-beers.
SIERRA magazine is the publication of the Sierra Club, the most influential grassroots conservation organization in America. Inspired by nature, the Sierra Club is your friends and young people working together to protect the wild places for all to enjoy. Find out more about the Sierra Club and its print publication SIERRA at www.sierraclub.org/sierra.