Tech recently received the top score of 99 in Princeton Review’s Green Rating of Colleges. In its survey of 534 colleges across the United States, the Princeton Review measured how environmentally friendly each school was during the 2007-08 academic year. After extensive surveys on subjects like recycling and energy use, eleven schools (six public) made it to the Green Rating Honor Roll.
The criteria used in the surveys include whether the campus quality of life is healthy and sustainable, how well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world filled with environmental challenges and the school’s overall commitment to environmental issues.
“We’ve always been at the forefront of campus sustainability,” said Melissa Moore, Communications Manager of Green Services. “This award simply highlights what we’ve been doing consistently for many years.”
The rating also includes academic considerations such as whether the school has an environmental studies major, minor, or concentration and how well-managed green policy programs are.
Specifically, Georgia Tech has 21 endowed chairs and 23 research centers that include significant sustainability components.
The school has also set a goal that every student take at least one of over 100 courses with a sustainability emphasis.
“This award will affect the future of sustainability at Tech as well as other colleges,” said Marcia Kinstler, Project Director of GreenBuzz. “Schools will learn about new technologies developed right here on Tech’s campus.”
GreenBuzz, launched in April, is a central campus resource aimed at encouraging and informing people about green behaviors. Its numerous programs include Green Cleaning, Recycling, Green Services and the Sustainable Food Project.
Green Cleaning promotes the use of environmentally friendly cleaning equipment and new cleaning methods that use up to 70% less water and 90% fewer chemicals.
Green Services incorporates sustainability elements in campus services such as housing, dining, and parking and transportation. Dining saves 3,000 gallons of water per day by going trayless and not washing extra dishes.
“It’s these everyday services that reduce emissions and decrease Tech’s carbon footprint,” said Moore.
Another initiative is the Sustainable Food Project, which brings the campus fresh, organic produce from 27 local family farms.
“The community garden is a bottom-up initiative,” said Ron Broglio, a professor specializing in environmentalism and aesthetics.
This project got its start when undergraduate student Liam Rattry and on Broglio received the President’s Undergraduate Research Award for their ideas on sustainable dining. The program also recently pioneered an East Campus Community Garden, located outside Field Dormitory in the north quad of the east campus residence halls.
Over the course of a school year, the campus administration and various student organizations sponsor dozens of environment-focused activities. Some runaway successes include Solar Decathlon and Tech Beautification Day.
In addition to the top Green Rating, Tech has also received numerous other environmental awards including the 2008 American Forest & Paper Association College and University Recycling Award as well as the 2007-2008 Green Cleaning Award presented by American School & University Magazine.
“The special thing about sustainability at Tech is that it represents an intersection of public policy, engineering and business,” said Kinstler.
The other ten colleges on the Green Rating Honor Roll are Arizona State University (Tempe campus), Bates College, Binghamton University, College of the Atlantic, Emory University, Harvard University, University of New Hampshire, University of Oregon, University of Washington and Yale University.