Sustainability efforts earn nod from The Princeton Review

Less than three months after releasing its universitywide sustainability strategy, Creating a Sustainable Western Experience, Western joined The University of British Columbia as the only two Canadian universities profiled in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition.

In this fourth edition of the guide, The Princeton Review, in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, profiled 320 schools in the United States, and two in Canada, that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

Western was mentioned for its commitment to energy-related retrofits and renovations in the last three years and noted the institution’s commitment to embed “sustainability into every facet of daily life.”

“We are pleased, but shouldn’t be surprised to be one of two Canadian universities selected to be featured by the guide,” said Beverley Ayeni, Western’s energy and environment manager. “We put a significant value on sustainability and it is integrated into everything we do at Western.”

The guide wrote, in part:

One of the top Canadian academic institutions, Western University pledges a commitment to “embedding sustainability into every facet of daily life.” Its vow that “through active citizenship, teaching and research, we will ensure the health of our planet and its people for the long term” makes it clear that it believes sustainability isn’t just a passing craze.

Signatories of both the Talloires Declaration and Ontario Universities Committed to a Greener World, Western has put valuable pieces in place, hiring an employee dedicated to sustainability initiatives on campus and implementing a President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability.

Students contribute to the vibrancy of the sustainability movement, running EnviroWestern, an organization with a number of ongoing and new initiatives each year, earning environmental credits in natural, physical and social science departments, as well as humanities, engineering and business, while participating in sustainable research.

Green infrastructure is commonplace at Western, with 80 per cent of buildings having undergone energy-related retrofits and renovations within the past three years … What’s more WU (sic) has installed submeters in all buildings, allowing for real-time monitoring of electricity.

As EnviroWestern students assert, “Small Steps, Big Impact.” …

More than 2,300 North American schools, including more than 100 Canadian, responded to The Princeton Review survey. Institutions were required to achieve a score of 83 on a variety of sustainability criteria to be profiled.

“Among 9,955 college applicants who participated in our 2013 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ 62 per cent said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review senior vice-president/publisher.

Ayeni agreed. “Our incoming students are far more engaged than ever before and have much greater expectations of our sustainability activities,” she said. “Western is quickly becoming a destination of choice for those seeking a ‘green’ education.”

Visit for more details on Western’s sustainability efforts.