University of Vermont Offers Online Course on Greening Colleges

University of Vermont Offers Online Course on Greening Colleges

Lauded for its green practices and curricula, the University of Vermont has developed a certificate program to enable other colleges to integrate sustainability into their operations.

The UVM certificate program in Sustainable Campus Innovation, which begins in March, will be conducted entirely online in a series of three eight-week courses.

The program is aimed at operations staff, administrators, students and others who want to play a role in establishing their campus as a sustainability leader, according to UVM, which is working with University Alliance Online to provide the program via e-learning program.

Sustainability practices as well as teachings have been added to the metrics that students, their parents and prospective employees use to select colleges.

In recent years, a number of tools have been introduced to help make those choices. There is the College Sustainability Report Card, an initiative of the 7-year-old Sustainable Endowments Institute, and The Princeton Review's green rating system, started almost four years ago, its Green Honor Roll and its Guide to Green Colleges, a free resource presented in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council since 2010. There are also listings like Sierra magazine's America's Coolest Schools, an annual feature for the past five years.

Earning high grades, strong ratings and recognition in listings have become points of pride and the source of a certain amount of rivalry among universities and colleges. The program offered by UVM could help more campuses become environmental leaders and contenders for top green ratings.

Accolades for UVM, which founded its Institute for Global Sustainability in 2007, include an overall grade of A- for the past four years from the College Sustainability Report Card and a spot in the U.S. News Best Colleges list for 2011.

Photo courtesy of the University of Vermont