University of Vermont students work on the green roof on the George D Aiken Center. (Photo: Sally McCay)
Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont is one of only 24 universities nationwide to make the Princeton Review's “Green Rating Honor Roll” in recognition of sustainability-related practices, policies and academic offerings. "The schools on our Green Rating Honor Roll demonstrated a truly exceptional commitment to sustainability across critical areas we looked at -- from course offerings and recycling programs to plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Robert Franek, the Princeton Review's editor-in-chief. "We salute their administrators, faculty and students for their collective efforts to protect and preserve our environment."
Franek noted the increasing interest among students in attending "green" colleges. Among nearly 10,500 college applicants the Princeton Review surveyed in 2017 for its College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64 percent said having information about a college's commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend a school.
“UVM’s status as a green school is a core part of our identity and definitely contributes to our appeal for prospective students,” said Stacey Kostell, vice president for enrollment management. “The Princeton Review Honor Roll designation is a confirmation of what those of us who are part of the university see every day.”
Criteria for Green Rating
Green Rating scores are based on data obtained in 2016-17 from colleges responding to the American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS). Earlier this year, UVM earned a STARS Gold rating.
UVM earned a top score for its achievements, which included the following:
- Its offering of multiple sustainability-focused degrees, including Environmental Studies, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Engineering, Sustainable Innovation MBA, and Community Development & Applied Economics.
- Its alternative transportation options, including free transit passes and a bicycle-sharing program with bike storage, shower facilities, and lockers for bicycle commuters.
- Its waste practices and policies. Forty-five percent of UVM’s solid waste was diverted from landfills through reuse, recycling, and composting.
- Its commitment to “real food.” 21 percent of UVM’s food was certified as local, organic, fair trade or humanely raised.
- Its public greenhouse gas emissions inventory and climate action plan.
UVM’s Office of Sustainability keeps track of sustainability data and oversees UVM’s Eco-Reps program. The Eco-Reps program cultivates environmental responsibility by training student leaders to promote sustainable practices (like the daily experiences of recycling, using active transportation, eating local/organic food, and contributing to energy efficiency) at the university and encourage environmentally responsible behaviors among peers.
Gioia Thompson, director of the Office of Sustainability, gives credit to the UVM community for the Princeton Review designation.
“UVM’s Green Rating scores show the results of our individual and collective decisions to live more sustainably,” she said. “The interviews of students show how strongly students identify UVM as a place where people act in support of sustainability locally and globally.”
Source: UVM 8.10.2017