UVM Earns Top Score in Princeton Review’s envirionmental Green Rating Honor Roll

University of Vermont students work on the green roof on the George D. Aiken Center.Photo by Sally McCay

The University of Vermont is one of 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 an increasing interest among students in attending green colleges. Among nearly 10,500 college applicants the Princeton Review surveyed in 2017, 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.

Green Rating scores are based on data obtained in 2016-17 from colleges responding to the American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System, for which UVM has earned a Gold rating. Some factors contributing to that top score for UVM were its offering of multiple sustainability-focused degrees; its alternative transportation options; its waste practices and policies that emphasize reuse, recycling, and composting; a commitment to “real food” such as certified local, organic, fair trade, or humanely raised; its public greenhouse gas emissions inventory and climate action plan.

UVM’s Eco-Reps program cultivates environmental responsibility by training student leaders to promote sustainable practices and encourage environmentally responsible behaviors among peers. Gioia Thompson, director of the Office of Sustainability, credits the UVM community for the Princeton Review designation, saying it reflects “individual and collective decisions to live more sustainably.”

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