Sierra Names Top 10 Eco-Friendly Colleges

Oberlin College, a highly selective liberal arts school in Ohio, was named Sierra"s greenest college.© Matthew Trump

Sierra, the bi-monthly periodical of the nonprofit Sierra Club, last week announced its list of the 10 greenest colleges in the U.S. Topping the list is Ohio’s Oberlin, which gets high marks for revamped food services that give priority to local producers, the first car-sharing program in the state, and an energy policy that derives half of its campus electricity from renewable sources. Second place went to Harvard University, which has more LEED-certified "green" buildings than any other college in the world and administers an innovative $12 million revolving loan fund that pays for energy efficiency and other environmental improvements around campus that in turn generate enough savings to pay back the loan. North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College, along with the University of California system and Duke University, round out the top five. Vermont’s Middlebury College, Kentucky’s Berea College, Penn State, Tufts and Carnegie Mellon also made the list, with Arizona State, Bowdoin, Carleton, Emory, Northern Arizona, Northwestern, Stanford and Yale garnering honorable mentions.

With global warming a chief concern among young people these days, forward-thinking colleges are taking sustainability to heart. Sierra reports that 400 college and university presidents have signed a pledge to make their institutions carbon neutral, while students at almost 600 U.S. and Canadian schools are organizing around clean-energy solutions as part of the Campus Climate Challenge, a two-year-old campaign initiated by youth environmental groups.

"As the biggest purchasers and employers in many communities, colleges can create demand for eco-friendly services and products," writes Jennifer Hattam, who put together the report for the magazine. "If students start their adult lives in a culture of sustainability, they just might take that ethos with them wherever they go."

Source: Sierra Club

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