3 US Colleges & Universities That Prioritize Sustainability on Campus

Over the past decade, the global outlook has shifted due to the many environmental problems that have arisen. Climate change has become a pressing issue and remains one of the biggest challenges humanity faces today.

In response to the global environmental crisis, many individuals, organizations, and institutions have started promoting green initiatives. Colleges and universities are no exception. They recognize the need to conserve resources, reduce emissions, and develop sustainable practices.

If you're wondering which universities are doing the most to fight climate change and protect our planet, we can help. Together with Paperwriter: high quality essay writing service we've compiled a list of three US colleges and universities that put sustainability first. Keep reading to find out more!

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Why Is It Important to Have Green Campuses?

A green campus is one that takes action to protect the environment by creating its own sustainable systems and plans. However, the importance of having green campuses extends beyond just environmental protection.

Institutions that prioritize sustainability on campus can attract students who are passionate about environmental issues and want to be part of an eco-friendly community. Such students can positively impact life on campus since they are more likely to participate in green initiatives, organize thematic events, and educate others.

Research has shown that exposure to nature and green spaces can improve students’ well-being. Students who actively engaged with nature for about 15 minutes a day at least four times per week reported improved quality of life, mood, and stress levels.

Green universities can contribute to reducing carbon emissions. Adopting sustainable initiatives can minimize the carbon footprint of a university campus. These include installing renewable energy systems, favoring energy-efficient buildings, promoting sustainable transportation options, and implementing waste reduction and recycling programs.

Colleges and universities that put sustainability first can save resources. Many eco-friendly practices can help educational institutions preserve natural resources, including water, paper, and gas. While these actions can contribute to a healthier planet, universities can also save money and reduce their operational costs.

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How Did We Discover Green Universities?

In our research, we relied on the STARS system which corresponds to UN sustainable development goals. The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) provides colleges and universities with a transparent, self-reporting framework to assess their sustainability performance.

Just as Nicole Hardy accredited seven best essay writing services, the STARS system has accredited over 700 sustainable institutions. They earn credits based on six factors. These are institutional characteristics, academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership. An institution has to get at least 85 points to receive the highest rating.

Top 3 Greenest US Colleges And Universities

Stanford University

Stanford University in California tops the list. Based on the STARS system, this institution has received 88 points and earned a platinum STARS rating. It was also recognized with several awards by the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC).

Among Stanford’s most impressive sustainability achievements are the use of solar energy and the reduction of water consumption. The majority of Stanford University's renewable energy use — 67.4 % of the campus's total energy use — comes from on- and off-campus solar panels. Additionally, they have reduced potable water consumption by 36% since 2000 and by 68% since 2011.

Students of Stanford University can also help the environment using the platform called “My Cardinal Green.” It promotes sustainability behaviors and awards students that participate in eco-friendly activities such as recycling, using public transportation, and conserving energy.

Princeton University

High commitment to campus environmentalism brought Princeton University to the second place on our list. With a score of 88 and their Office of Sustainability initiative, Princeton earned a platinum STARS ranking.

On the office’s website, both university students and staff can explore the Sustainability Action Plan. It consists of valuable information and stats regarding Princeton's efforts to reduce waste, improve energy efficiency, and promote alternative commuting. Also, website visitors can learn how to reduce their carbon footprint and get involved in sustainability initiatives on campus.

Princeton students can also get involved in community service through the Pace Center for Civic Engagement by joining one of 15 sustainability student groups. It aimed to provide students with the opportunity to establish new, meaningful connections and make an impact.

Columbia University, New York

With a score of 65.89, Columbia University has received a gold STARS ranking and earned third place on our list. In 2019, the university was also recognized by the Association of Commuter Transportation due to its environmental leadership and pioneering in the development of environmentally friendly transportation solutions.

Columbia University aims to become carbon neutral before 2050. Students can help their alma mater achieve its goal by participating in campus green clubs. Additionally, they can conduct environmental research with the help of the Center for Sustainable Development.

Bottom Line

These three US universities demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability on their campuses. From launching green platforms to implementing renewable energy sources, they are leading the way in creating a greener and more environmentally conscious campus environment. What initiative impressed you the most and why? Let us know in the comment section below.