The green movement seems to be relocating to college campuses across the nation. The 2009 edition of the Princeton Review's "Best 368 Colleges" developed a new means to evaluate colleges: a "green rating." The list reviewed 534 environmentally conscientious colleges and appointed 11 schools to their "green honor roll:" Arizona State, Bates, Binghamton University, the College of the Atlantic, Emory, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard, University of New Hampshire, University of Oregon, University of Washington and Yale.
The "green rating" is determined by the college's courses, environmental policies and green activism. New York Times columnist Kate Zernike investigated the surge in eco-friendly campuses.
Campuses across the country are racing to be the greenest of them all. They are setting dates in the not too distant future for achieving carbon neutrality. They are hiring sustainability coordinators. [...] And they are competing with one another in buying green power. "I don't think we've seen activism this strong since apartheid," says Cheryl Miller, vice president of Sightlines, a data company that helps campuses compare their operations, including environmental practices.
A Princeton Review survey found that 63% of undergraduate applicants consider a school's commitment to the environment when deciding on their college choice. The company took notice and decided to work with ecoAmerica, a non-profit environmental marketing agency, to develop the new ranking.
Blogger Carol Gulyas of GreenOptions.com hopes that the list will serve as a wake-up call to environmentally apathetic colleges.
Colleges and universities are lagging behind in accomplishing more substantive actions. Universities are dragging their feet in doing the kind of infrastructure improvements that would really move the needle, like:
* Converting to alternative energy
* Changing over to hybrid fleets
* Retrofitting old buildings for efficiency
* Composting their food waste
* Offering sustainability throughout the curriculum
Let's hope they can ramp up their efforts.
Inspired by the nation's green-minded students, DotEarth's Andrew C. Revkin dubbed the generation of active youth "Generation E."
I can't keep track of what young people are being called these days after a string of "Generation [ ]" labels. But my vote would be Generation E, for energy and the environment, if initiatives at a host of schools around the United States are any indication.
::More on building the sustainable university on the Huffington Post.
::List of the Greenest Colleges in America on the Huffington Post.
::More on Green Business Majors on the Huffington Post.