The Princeton Review Names the Greenest Colleges in U.S.

NEW YORK, NY — Eighteen U.S. colleges and universities made The Princeton Review's 2011 Green Rating Honor Roll for maintaining the most sustainable practices, policies and course offerings among all campuses rated for their environmental friendliness, said the company that created the popular "best colleges" guides.

The Princeton Review issued its third annual green honor roll along with its green ratings for colleges yesterday. Guides containing school profiles with the green scores go on sale today and next week.

This year 703 schools, the most thus far, submitted environmental information that was scored on a scale of 60, the least possible score, to 99, the highest possible score. The schools on the honor roll received scores of 99.

Here is a list of the honorees (details of some of their environmental elements are on the last page):

  • Arizona State University, Tempe
  • College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine
  • The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Wash.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
  • Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Northeastern University, Boston, Mass.
  • Northland College, Ashland, Wisc.
  • State University of New York - Binghamton University
  • Unity College, Unity, Maine
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of Georgia, Athens
  • University of Maine, Orono
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC
  • West Virginia University, Morgantown
  • Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

"The heartening thing is the number of the schools that are participating," said David Soto, director of college ratings for The Princeton Review.

In 2008, when The Princeton Review began its green rating and honor roll program, more than 500 colleges and universities submitted information for profiles that appeared in the company's 2009 edition. Eleven schools were named to the honor roll, Soto said.

In 2009, the number of green-rated schools grew to more than 600 and 15 made the honor roll. Eight of them made the list again this year: Arizona State University, the College of the Atlantic, the Evergreen State College, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Northeastern, UC Berkeley and Yale.

The Princeton Review developed its green rating program with help from EcoAmerica in response to interest from students about college practices on sustainability issues. In 2008, The Review's annual hopes and worries survey showed that 63 percent of college applicants and their parents said they would value information about colleges' environmental commitments and that data could affect their choices of schools.

Last year, 67 percent of survey respondents said environmental information could sway college choices, and this year 64 percent said the same. Soto attributed the dip in the survey response to continuing worries about the economy taking precedence over other considerations. Despite it, the interest and support for the green rating program remains strong, he said.

"We're very pleased that students and schools alike see the value of green ratings," said Meighan Speiser, marketing vice president at EcoAmerica. They continue to be very relevant." The growing number of schools in the green ratings program and the number of Review publications containing them attest to the demand for the data, she said.

Green ratings of participating schools are included in the 2011 editions of The Princeton Review's "The Best 373 Colleges" and "Complete Book of Colleges," which were both available for sale as of today, and "The Best Northeastern Colleges," which goes on sale August 10.

Earlier this year, The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council released a free online guide of the greenest 286 colleges and universities in the United States. The guide, released to mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, included only the schools that attained scores in the 80th percentile or better among the pool of 697 that received green ratings in 2009.

In the three years of the program, students have become increasingly involved in the decisions colleges and universities make about their sustainability practices, policy and educational programs. "Students are becoming stakeholders in what's happening and they are really taking the initiative," Soto said.

"They're taking a place at the table with administration to make decisions not only in the meetings but also in terms of voting with their  pocketbooks," he said, referring to students at The Evergreen State College who signaled their support for green power by assessing themselves a fee earmarked for the campus's renewable energy purchases.

Next Page: Details on Green Honor Roll schools.