Western named among ‘green’ universities

The University of Western Ontario was highlighted by the Princeton Review as part of the second annual edition of its guidebook saluting the most environmentally responsible ‘green’ colleges and universities. Western was one of only three Canadian universities on the list.

The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition profiles 308 institutions of higher education in the United States and three in Canada that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The 220-page book can be downloaded here.

The Princeton Review, known for its education and test-prep services, first created this resource for college-bound students in 2010 in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), best known for developing the LEED green building certification program. This past fall, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools 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.

Referencing Western, the publication writes, in part:

“(Western) isn’t just advancing sustainable practices— it’s defining them. The number and scale of the university’s sustainable research initiatives are staggering. Environmental Research Western is the center of a suite of projects covering everything from energy conservation to ecosystem health. … As if that weren’t impressive enough, the university’s green building policy requires all new construction and renovation to be LEED Silver or higher. Western Environmental System (WES) monitors energy consumption on campus, and over 50 buildings are already retrofitted to support the system. Other noteworthy initiatives include an indoor and outdoor composting program that recycles 100 percent of the leaves on campus and composts organic materials from the university’s kitchens and eateries; a universal bus pass program that provides unlimited bus transportation for all full-time students; and an online academic calendar that saves more than 11,040,000 sheets of paper per year.”

The Princeton Review chose schools based on a survey it conducted in 2010 of hundreds of colleges across the United States and in Canada to tally ‘Green Rating’ scores (scaled from 60 to 99). 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.

(The Princeton Review does not rank the schools in this guide hierarchically from 1 to 311 according to their Green Rating scores, nor does it include those scores in this book’s school profiles.)

Information about The Princeton Review’s Green Rating methodology – and its ‘Green Honor Roll’ list saluting schools that received Green Ratings of 99 – is available here.

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” says Robert Franek, senior vice-president, 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 per cent) told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school. Together with 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.

“To that end, we highly recommend the terrific schools in this book.”