Dickinson, Penn, Carnegie Mellon Named To 50 Greenest Colleges List

OnlineSchoolsCenter.com Monday released its list of the Top 50 Green Schools recognizing colleges and universities that go above and beyond for their students, the environment, the community, and the school as a whole to provide an environmentally-conscious, 'green' campus life.

In Pennsylvania, Dickinson College (#2), University of Pennsylvania (#39) and Carnegie Mellon University (#42) made the list.

Schools included in the list boast multiple, simple and complex, means of contributing to our planet's health in ways including, but not limited to, sustainability, clean-energy, solar power, recycling and landscape management, just to name a few.

Not only are these award-winning colleges and universities 'green' themselves, they also offer programs for students who are interested in conservation and sustainability, as well as, many hands-on efforts in and around the campus and community.

OnlineSchoolsCenter.com's chief editor, Linda Weems, says it is significant and noteworthy that these institutions realized the importance of lowering their impact on the environment, not to mention the monies saved as a result of initiating such programs...savings that, in turn, can be passed on to the students themselves.

Dickinson College, founded in 1773, is located in Carlisle — a little over 20 miles approximately southwest of Harrisburg, PA, and north of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD. Dickinson College’s FY 2013 endowment was around $356.7M. It received a Silver BFU from the League of American Bicyclists. The college received scores of A-, A- and A for the years 2009-2011, respectively, from GreenReportCard.com, made Princeton Review’s 2014 Green Guide and 2015 Green Honor Roll, ranked #3 on Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools list (and 2010), and received a Gold rating in Apr 2012 from AASHE.org STARS.

Dickinson also won Second Nature’s 2010 Climate Leadership Award due to various initiatives. These include a climate action plan, a goal of climate neutrality by 2020, solar panels, a zero-carbon biofuel from used vegetable oil, an organic farm and sustainable dining, a green building policy (with four LEED Gold certifications), stormwater management, Green Bikes bike share program, natural meadows, rain gardens, use of Energy Star appliances, Treehouse (aka the Center for Sustainable Living), CSE (the Center for Sustainability Education) and more.

Dickinson has a number of ways that participants are educated in sustainability, through CSE, including Eco-Reps, student internships, the student Biodiesel Shop, faculty workshops, monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, participating in the UN climate change conference, working on sustainability projects, and courses. The college claims over 100 courses are offered by over 30 academic departments which either focus or touch upon sustainability. Such courses are designated with the labels SINV (Sustainability Investigations) or SCON (Sustainability Connections), useful for online searches. Dickinson is an undergrad school and as such has no grad programs, at the time of writing. There are also over 50 yearly internship options.

Click Here for sustainability initiatives at Dickinson College.

University of Pennsylvania, founded in 1740, is located in Philadelphia. The FY 2013 endowment was about $7.741B. Philadelphia has a Silver BFC and UPenn a Silver BFU rating from the League of American Bicyclists. UPenn scored ratings of A- for the years 2009-2011 from GreenReportCard.com, #1 on all eight of 2013 and 2014 U.S. EPA lists, a Silver rating (May 2014) from AASHE.org STARS, a #40 on the Sierra Club 2014 list, and a place on the Princeton Review 2014 Green Guide. In 2011, USGBC awarded a LEED Platinum certification to the Horticulture Center at UPenn’s Morris Arboretum (about 13 miles north of the main campus).

The university has a Green Campus Partnership, a Green Fund, a Climate Action Plan to create a culture of sustainability. Sustainability initiatives include energy management and conservation, emission reduction, waste reduction, designing “green” buildings and landscapes, using local and sustainable food sources, utilizing sustainable purchasing (paper with chlorine-fee waste fiber, green packaging, tap water filters to reduce carbon footprint by eliminating plastic bottles), raising awareness (Eco-Reps program), green labs, Green Office Certification, and more. The university was one of about 100 institutions to receive a Silver BFU (Bike Friendly University) award from the League of American Bicyclists. One campus goal is to reduce carbon emission by 7 percent and building energy use by 10 percent by 2019 (from FY 2014), and achieve carbon neutrality by 2042.

Academically, UPenn has Master of Environmental Studies, undergrad Major in Earth Science, undergrad Major in Environmental Studies, Master in Environmental Building Design and several other sustainability-related degree programs. It also has the ISAC (Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum) program, started in 2012, to enable faculty members to “explore sustainability concepts at a one-day workshop” and consider introducing topics into courses.

Click Here for more information on sustainability initiatives at Penn.

Carnegie Mellon University, founded in 1900, is located in Pittsburgh. CMU’s FY 2013 endowment was about $1.371B. Pittsburgh has a Bronze BFC rating from the League of American Bicyclists, and CMU has a Bronze BFU rating. CMU received a Silver rating from AASHE.org STARS in Feb 2013. From GreenReportCard.com, it received a B rating across 2009-2011. For 2014, it was 4 and 5 on the EPA list, and was #65 on the Sierra Club list.

Academically, it has an environmental engineering program, which ranked 10th in US News’ 2010 list of best grad schools in the U.S. There is a Green Practices Committee, established in 1999, whose general objective is to develop practices to improve environmental quality, reduce waste, and conserve resources. CMU’s Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research offers three-year PhD fellowships in U.S. Environmental Sustainability. There is also a Master of Science in Sustainable Design in the School of Architecture and various other courses.

Campus sustainability initiatives include recycling (with a plan to increase the rate from 26 percent to 40 percent), food composting, waste management, energy and water management, expanding energy sources mix, campus green design, improving air quality, green dining and more. One of the campus cafes received a Gold LEED certification in 2006 from USGBC.

Click Here for sustainability initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University.

The complete list of Top 50 Green Schools is available online.


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