Online Schools Center has released its list of Top 50 Green Schools, a list that highlights those colleges and universities throughout the United States that rank highly across a number of ‘green’ categories.
The list provides prospective students the opportunity to make an informed decision about the school they are choosing. However, this list doesn’t rely on just one form of ranking — rather, the Online Schools Center list forms a composite ranking from:
- Inclusion in a recent Princeton Review “green” schools list, especially in the last two years of their Honor Roll
- Inclusion in the EPA.gov list
- Inclusion in a recent Sierra Club list
- Inclusion in a recent U.S. News’ Eco-friendly Campuses list
- A recent rating of gold or silver from AASHE.org’s STARS list
- Current or pending green initiatives
Interestingly, the Top 50 Green Schools list comes at the same time as approximately 300 Stanford University professors signed a letter to Stanford president John Hennessy and the board of Trustees, calling on the university to divest their fossil fuel investments.
Stanford University, which ranks very highly in the Top 50 Green Schools list, already divested itself from its coal investments in May of 2014, but the 300 faculty signed on the letter expressed their desire to see “the remaining 35%” of the university’s fossil fuel investments — which includes oil and gas holdings representing 978 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide — dropped from their portfolio.
Of the 50 institutions ranked, 27 states and the District of Columbus were represented. The top 5 states represented (in terms of number of in-state schools) were:
- New York – 10 schools
- California – 9 schools
- Pennsylvania – 5 schools
- Colorado – 4 schools
- Illinois – 4 schools
And these schools (shown in full below) each offer a variety of ways in which they contribute towards being ‘green’. These include sustainability, clean-energy, solar power, recycling, and landscape management, plus many more, as well as programs for students who are interested in conservation and sustainability, and hands-on efforts in and around the campus and local community.
Stanford’s Call for Divestment
“We the undersigned, faculty of Stanford University, acknowledge the urgency of the scientific community’s warning that the burning of fossil fuels puts our world at risk. To prevent widespread ecological and icesheet collapse we must limit global warming to 2 degrees,” wrote the Stanford faculty in their letter. They then went on to quote Professor James Engell of Harvard, in support of their call:
The fossil fuel companies are decent investments only under two assumptions: first, the oil and gas and coal they own in the ground shall be sold and burned. Second, they shall continue to find more oil and gas and coal and shall sell that to be burned, too. Any investor in them must want this to happen, and any investor is putting up money to make this happen with all deliberate speed.
Stanford’s faculty make a compelling case, and one that will be ignored at the University’s own peril.
“If a university seeks to educate extraordinary youth so they may achieve the brightest possible future, what does it mean for that university simultaneously to invest in the destruction of that future?”
The Top 50 Schools
The full list of schools, ranked from 50 to 1, are below:
50. Syracuse University – Syracuse, New York
49. Bentley University – Waltham, Massachusetts
48. University of Central Oklahoma – Edmond, Oklahoma
47. University of Missouri – Columbia, Missouri
46. University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) – Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota
45. University of Colorado at Boulder – Boulder, Colorado
44. Ithaca College – Ithaca, New York
43. University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point – Stevens Point, Wisconsin
42. Carnegie Mellon University – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
41. University of California – Los Angeles – Los Angeles, California
40. Pomona College – Claremont, California
39. University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
38. Quinnipiac University – Hamden, Connecticut
37. The Catholic University of America – Washington, D.C.
36. The City University of New York – New York City, New York
35. University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin
34. University at Buffalo, SUNY – Buffalo, New York
33. University of Tennessee – Knoxville – Knoxville, Tennessee
32. University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah
31. Northwestern University – Evanston and Chicago, Illinois
30. Oklahoma State University – Stillwater, Oklahoma
29. Georgetown University – Washington, D.C.
28. University of Oklahoma – Norman, OK
27. Iowa State University – Ames, Iowa
26. College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor) – Bar Harbor, Maine
25. University of California – Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz, California
24. Colgate University – Hamilton, New York
23. California State University – Chico – Chico, California
22. Middlebury College – Middlebury, Vermont
21. University of Colorado at Colorado Springs – Colorado Springs, Colorado
20. State University of New York – Stony Brook University – Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York
19. University of Vermont – Burlington, Vermont
18. Colorado State University – Fort Collins, Colorado
17. Santa Clara University – Santa Clara, California
16. Harvard College/Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts
15. University of New Hampshire – Durham, New Hampshire
14. Portland State University – Portland, Oregon
13. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
12. Columbia University – Manhattan, New York
11. University of Washington at Seattle – Seattle, Washington
10. Cornell University – Ithaca, New York
9. Georgia Institute of Technology – Atlanta, Georgia
8. Green Mountain College – Poultney, Vermont
7. Stanford University – Stanford, California
6. Lewis and Clark College – Portland, Oregon
5. University of California at Irvine – Irvine, California
4. University of Massachusetts – Amherst – Amherst, Massachusetts
3. University of California – Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara, California
2. Dickinson College – Carlisle, Pennsylvania
1. American University – Washington, D.C.