Students at Bates College, a Green Honor Roll Campus
Image: Flickr, Seth Tisue
Since 70% of college candidates prefer green universities, it comes as little surprise to see that GreenBiz reports that U.S. colleges are striving to pimp their green credentials. The real questions are: what are colleges doing to earn our green respect? And why should students factor that into their college choice?What is a Green College?
In the recently published Princeton Review college rankings, green is still an "honor roll" rather than a ranking category, which suggests that students are not placing green above priorities like academic prestige, the community of friends found on campus or off, the extracurriculars, or a beautiful campus teeming with happy students. But the trend is just beginning.
The Princeton Review gives colleges a green rating based on a variety of factors:
- Budget for local or organic food
- Programs supporting alternative transportation
- Student committees advocating for sustainable practices
- Green building certifications
- Waste management
- Environmental education: majors, minors and "environmental literacy"
- Greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency
- Dedicated sustainability officer.
Why Should Students Care?
Why should you care? Well, there are the selfish reasons. For example, consider a college which gives students bus passes or bike rentals. Whether landing a better-paid part-time job, enjoying an evening off-campus, or finding just the right second-hand outfit at the shop in town, mobility liberates. Also, LEED certified buildings usually emphasize harmony of purpose and environment, which creates a more pleasant place to learn.
Then there are the big green reasons: $$$. Students graduating today face a hard job market and will experience faster rates of change than ever. Being prepared with the concepts of sustainability and strategic planning will be essential to economic success. Having an environmental program degree will put a student in fields where demand and growth remain promising.
Finally, there are the altruistic reasons. If the soon-to-be young professionals don't think we can still save the world, then all is well and truly lost.
More on Green Colleges:
GreenBiz, U.S. Colleges Set a Green Course
7 Out of 10 College Bound Students, Prefer Green Universities
10 of the Greenest Colleges in the U.S. (slideshow)
10 of the Best College Environmental Programs in the U.S.
12 Colleges Chosen to Fight Climate Change