Guest post by Mariana Ashley
The College Sustainability Report Card has been around for several years now. The Report Card seeks to educate potential students, current students, employees, and the public on the degree of sustainability institutions for higher education achieve each year in the United States and Canada. The Report Card grades schools based on nine different categories of sustainability including, administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, student involvement, transportation, endowment transparency, investment priorities, and shareholder engagement. The grading system seeks to encourage sustainability as a priority for academic institutions in both their operations and their endowment investment practices. The prerogative that the Sustainability Report Card advocates is one that all speaks to the purpose and true livelihood of academia and higher education. Institutions of higher education should be the flagships of our society’s future. Therefore, sustainability and the environment should be a top priority for all colleges and universities throughout the world. The College Sustainability Report Card is a wonderful step in the right direction for environmental awareness and sustainability efforts.
The Top Three Schools in Sustainability
- Brown University: Receiving top marks in eight of the nine sustainability categories that the Report Card explores, Brown is one of the seven schools that received a solid A on their report card in 2011. Brown’s commitment to sustainable food and recycling is one of the best in the nation, spending 20 percent of their food budget on local products and including food from a student run garden. The school has large compost program for food that is not used and postconsumer food. Furthermore, Brown seeks some of the highest ranks in green building with all new construction meeting LEED Silver standards at a minimum. With numerous reuse projects throughout the school, various water-saving technologies, and vegetated roofs for storm water, Brown is one of the leaders in innovative and adaptive green initiatives.
- Pomona College: Like Brown, Pomona only falls short of an A in one category on the report card. With A’s in every category besides Endowment Transparency, Pomona is one of the top marked intuitions in the nation for sustainability efforts. Pomona’s transportation system is one of the greenest in academia with more than half of their vehicles being completely electric, a campus supported website for carpooling, and a cash incentive for staff and faculty to commute in an environmentally friendly way. Furthermore, the school offers a bike-sharing program with 144 bikes available to students and staff for free.
- Dickinson College: As the only school on this list that achieved A’s in all of the categories on the report card, Dickinson College is a wonderful example of forward thinking green initiatives put to action. The College Administration has a sustainability plan that covers campus operations, financial management, and student life. With three different sustainability committees, the school is obviously dedicated to the highest levels of green living and operation. The school’s Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education integrates campus sustainability with academic programs. Furthermore, the campus features a biodiesel plan, the energy boilers on campus now burn wasted vegetable oil, and the school swimming pool uses a filtrations system that captures evaporated water for reuse.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com
Image credit: 101Magazine