Sierra Club says University of California, Davis, is the greenest campus

Aug. 15, 2012
Environmental organization releases 6th annual list of "America's Coolest Schools"

The University of California, Davis, has been selected by the Sierra Club as the nation's greenest college campus.

The club, which bills itself as the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States, determined its 6th annual list of “America's Coolest Schools” through an online survey of higher-education institutions.

The survey was developed in collaboration with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Sustainable Endowments Institute, and the Princeton Review. Higher-education administrators were aaked to provide quantifiable information about their campuses' eco-initiatives.

UC Davis was recognized for “a well-rounded set of efforts.” The school diverts about 70 percent of its trash from landfills, and the UC Davis West Village is considered to be the largest planned zero-net-energy residential community in the United States.

The rest of the Sierra Club's Top 10 greenest schools:

  • Georgia Tech, Atlanta. The university steers students toward taking at least one class about sustainability—and offers more than 260 such courses to choose from. The school invests its endowment responsibly and aggressively prevents dining-hall waste, the Sierra Club says.

  • Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. At Stanford, dining halls and campus farming workshops harvest ingredients from their own organic gardens.

  • University of Washington, Seattle. More than half of the university's food is produced within 250 miles of campus, and administrators are committed to using renewable energy.

  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn. The university's composting facility processes up to 15 truckloads of manure per week., the Sierra Club says, and students take part in extensive recycling programs on campus

  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H. The school sells renewable-energy credits off its landfill-gas pipeline, then spends that money on its own efficiency projects, It also runs an organic dairy-research farm.

  • Duke University, Durham, N.C. The university is a leader in generating and buying carbon offsets, the club says, and Duke coaches other schools to do the same.

  • Yale University, New Haven, Conn. The campus has 14 LEED buildings, including the Platinum-certified School of Environmental and Forest Studies. Yale has an annual "spring salvage" event, in which items that otherwise would get thrown out are reclaimed.

  • University of California, Irvine. The university has a dozen extracurricular environmental groups, the Sierra Club notes. The campus recycles more than 70 percent of its trash, and hydration stations help reduce bottled-water waste.

  • Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C. The Sierra Club noted Appalachian State's program for the study of “appropriate technology”—eco-positive advances on a small, local scale. “Students get hands-on lessons in alternative power, low-impact transportation, and organic agriculture,” the club says.

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