UA Named Top 'Green' School by Princeton Review

April 23, 2013

The University of Arizona has been named among the top "green" colleges in the country in "The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition."

The free resource book, published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools, focuses on colleges that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment and sustainability. Now in its fourth edition, the guidebook is available for free download from the Princeton Review website.

"The Princeton Review’s Guide further affirms the UA's role as a leading institution of higher education for sustainability research, education, practices, outreach, and engagement," said Joe Abraham, director of the UA Office of Sustainability.

The Princeton Review rankings, released just in time for Earth Day on April 22, 2013, are based on "Green Rating" scores designed to measure colleges' commitments to sustainability in academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation, using a scale of 60 to 99. Of 806 schools reviewed in 2012, 320 U.S. institutions – the UA included – and two Canadian institutions were selected for the 2013 guide for receiving scores of 83 or above.

The guide specifically recognizes the UA for its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and limiting greenhouse gas emissions through the following efforts, among others:

  • The University mandates that all new construction must seek Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • An online Energy Dashboard, maintained by UA Facilities Management, lets members of the campus community track utility consumption and carbon dioxide emissions building by building and learn how to reduce. Residence Life also created a new Eco Power dashboard to help students living on campus to be more energy efficient.
  • The UA is committed to recycling initiatives, recycling 800 tons of material each year. As a participant in the eight-week national RecycleMania tournament, the University recycled 22 tons of plastic, aluminum, paper and cardboard, which amounts to 2,500 gallons of gasoline saved, 261 trees saved and 37 tons of carbon dioxide emissions prevented.
  • The University has a number of green transportation and commuting initiatives. Among them are the UA's Zimride ride-share and car-pool matching program, Cat Wheels free bike sharing program and a discounted Sun Tran city bus pass option for students and employees.

The UA has been a leader in many areas of sustainability for more than a decade and earned a gold star rating in 2012 from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for its comprehensive approach and vision as a living learning laboratory for sustainability.

In addition to a wide range of campus programs and services geared toward sustainability, a number of courses and student organizations also focus on environmental issues, like ASUA Students for SustainabilityResidence Life EcoRepsSolar Cats and the Environmental Law Society, among others.

Meanwhile, UA students and employees are actively engaged, through a variety of campus initiatives and programs, in environmental research on topics including, but not limited to, climate, water, energy, food and agriculture, and engineering and sustainable design.

Says Abraham: "The Princeton Review is another means for us to attract and recruit students who want to study and get valuable real-world experience at a premier research institution."

Story credit: University Communications