Thursday, August 23, 2012

Green Colleges

The Sierra Club ranked 96 participating colleges on their commitment to improving the environment - things like cutting down on emissions, serving sustainable cafeteria food, responsible use of energy and water, and curriculum. A perfect score is 894.5 points and the top scoring school in the nation, University of California, Davis scored 709.17. Here is how the four participating schools in the Commonwealth fared:
  • VCU came in 21st with a score of 569.59
  • George Mason University came in 34th with a score of 554.50
  • University of Richmond came in 69th with a score of 402.26
  • Roanoke College came in 94th with a score of 147.11
So, my questions are: What about the other Virginia schools? Why didn't they participate in the survey? What steps are they taking to save the planet and pass on a sense of environmental responsibility to students and the larger community?

Eastern Mennonite University and Washington & Lee have installed solar panels. JMU has research into both wind and solar. Yet none of them participated in the survey. Why were the flagship schools - the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech - AWOL? How about other public institutions like Old Dominion University and Longwood? One private school, Roanoke College, participated but the remainder of state's many fine private colleges like Bridgewater, Emory & Henry, and Randolph Macon sat on the environmental sidelines.

Students, alumni, communities, and the entire Commonwealth look to our institutions of higher learning to show leadership and to set high standards guiding us into the future. Hopefully the next time the Sierra Club seeks out America's Greenest Colleges more of Virginia's institutions will participate... and score high!

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