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Princeton Review names Elon one of nation’s 311 “Green Colleges”

For the second year in a row, Elon University has been named one of the nation’s most “environmentally responsible green colleges” by the Princeton Review, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council. The annual ranking profiles schools that “demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

In reporting on the new Princeton Review guide, USA Today, the nation’s largest-circulation newspaper, included features of Lindner Hall in Elon’s academic village, as an example of notable “green” practices by environmentally conscious colleges.

The Princeton Review first created this resource for college-bound students in 2010 in collaboration with USGBC, which is best-known for developing the LEED green building certification program. This past fall, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools (www.centerforgreenschools.org) to increase its efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated so that all educational facilities can enhance student learning experiences.

The Princeton Review chose the 311 schools based on a survey it conducted in 2010 of hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and in Canada to tally its annual "Green Rating" scores (scaled from 60 to 99) of colleges for its school profiles in its college guidebooks and website. The survey asks administrators more than 50 questions about their institution's sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. The Company tallied Green Ratings for 703 institutions in summer 2010. The 311 schools in this guide received scores of 80 or above in that assessment; Elon received a score of 88. Information about The Princeton Review’s Green Rating methodology and its "Green Honor Roll" list saluting schools that received Green Ratings of 99 is at http://www.princetonreview.com/green.aspx

In its profile of Elon, the Princeton Review notes the following:

Campus-wide initiatives include: a green building policy in which new buildings are required to meet LEED Silver or comparable standards; over $1 million (including grant funding) committed to the “Bio-Bus” biodiesel transportation program; Building Dashboard, a real time electricity monitoring system that encourages the campus community to track its own energy use; and a print management system that has reduced paper usage by 70 percent. Elon offers an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies major, courses on sustainability-related topics, and a program to assist faculty members with incorporating sustainability principles into their curricula. Student peer educators known as Eco-Reps raise awareness of environmental issues and encourage environmentally responsible behavior of fellow students. The Elon Community Garden fosters community discussion on sustainability, while Elon Outdoors offers students several opportunities to experience the natural world through canoeing, rock climbing, white water rafting, backpacking, and sailing programs. The campus is also home to loads of environmental awareness events and activities such as environmental speakers, POWERless, Earth Week, and RecycleMania, all designed to promote conservationist practices. In the campus dining halls, students go trayless in an effort to reduce water usage and food waste. Dining services uses cold to-go containers made from all natural, corn-based material, and has recently started a reusable to-go container pilot program. Bottled water is no longer a meal plan option and filtered water stations are available, which has reduced plastic bottle usage by more than 100,000 bottles each year.

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues," said Robert Franek, Senior VP, Publishing, The Princeton Review. “Among 8,200 college applicants who participated in our spring 2011 'College Hopes & Worries Survey,' nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school," he added. "Together with the USGBC, we are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally-responsible choices. We highly recommend the colleges in this book."

"A green campus can transform the college experience for students through enhanced sustainability education and by creating healthy living and learning environments all while saving energy, water and money as part of an institution’s bottom line," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC.

Dan Anderson,
4/22/2011 3:42 PM