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Central Mass Schools Make Princeton Review’s Green Colleges

Thursday, April 19, 2012

 

In a world where everyone is trying to “go green,” it is no surprise that the colleges in Central Massachusetts are leading the charge in making their campuses as environmentally friendly as possible.

In the Princeton Review's third annual Guide to Green Colleges – released Tuesday – Massachusetts was noted as home to 21 of this year's 322 – three of which are located right here in Worcester.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the College of the Holy Cross and Clark University were named to the list for the third straight year, having met the required score of more than 83 points.

Schools with a rating of 99 or higher are named to the “Green Honor Roll,” a list that includes 16 schools this year, including Northeastern University and Harvard University.
Worcester State University, which had been a member of the list the first two years of its existence, was not included on the list this year, having fallen just one point below the necessary 83 points scored. It is unclear what caused the qualification failure, and Worcester State has made no comment explaining the situation.

Schools across the nation are graded by the Princeton Review and their partner, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) on a scale of 1-100. The score is based on how well they perform against a ten question survey of the schools' environmental consciousness.

The survey questions the school's intake of environmentally-preferable foods, the availability of a cooperative transportation program, the existence of a sustainability committee, environmental literacy, new buildings meeting LEED Silver specifications, and waste diversion, among other categories. 

Holy Cross, Worcester's Roman Catholic university, has been making enormous strides in their efforts to go green.

“Since becoming a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007, Holy Cross has made significant progress on energy-savings initiatives, waste minimization, and recycling,” said John Cannon, associate director of physical plant at the College of the Holy Cross.

“In addition to exceeding our goal to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2015, the College's Integrated Science Complex recently became the first building on campus to earn LEED Gold certification by the USGBC, for adhering to the highest standards of energy efficiency and innovative environmentally-friendly elements,” Cannon said. “Figge Hall, the College's newest residence hall, which opened in Fall 2011 and incorporated green building principles throughout the entire building process from programming to design to construction, is also currently seeking LEED certification.”

Clark University has many programs in place to make the school green. Their Sustainability Program has a contest each year where students design a project that will help advance the the university's sustainability.

“Clark is proud to again be selected by the Princeton Review as one of the top green colleges in the nation. Clark’s core values of stewardship, inquiry and innovation shine through our student initiatives, our faculty research and our proud tradition of ‘Challenging Convention and Changing Our World,’” said Clark’s Sustainability Coordinator Jenny Isler. “Today, to celebrate Earth Day, Clark students, in collaboration with Sustainable Clark, Clark’s Grounds Crew and students from WPI, installed Worcester’s third rain garden to reduce pollution runoff into the Blackstone River. This is an example of why Clark is consistently ranked among the top green colleges in the nation.”

John Orr Chair of WPIs's President’s Task Force on Sustainability said, “At WPI we have put the principles of sustainability at the heart of our programs. We know that science and engineering, properly understood and applied, are essential to the development of a sustainable world for everyone. It is great to receive this recognition for our accomplishments and our leadership.”

Although the number of Central Mass. colleges that made the Green Colleges list has dwindled, and there still have no been appearances on the list from many others, Clark, WPI and Holy Cross apear to be at the forefront of the green movement.  

 

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