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Cool Green Schools: America’s Greenest Colleges

8/30/2010 12:00:00 AM

Tags: schools, colleges, clean energy, Sierra Club, universities

The Sierra Club’s annual list of America’s top 100 greenest schools applauds a college powered by biomass and biogas (cow power!) and another that has composting toilets and solar panels. This year’s “Cool Schools” are shining examples of what can be accomplished when dedicated people make it happen.

Northland McLean
The McLean Environmental Living and Learning Center at Northland College, number 7 on the Sierra Club’s list of America’s greenest colleges, features solar panels and wind turbines. Photo Courtesy Northland College. 

The top 10 schools on the Sierra Club’s 2010 Cool Schools list are:

1. Green Mountain College
2. Dickinson College
3. Evergreen State College
4. University of Washington
5. Stanford University
6. University of California
7. Northland College
8. Harvard University
9. College of the Atlantic
10 Hampshire College

Each school has something different to boast about. Green Mountain College (#1) is powered by methane, and the student body at Evergreen State College (#3) self-imposed a clean-energy fee to buy renewable-energy credits that cover 100 percent of its electricity. Dickinson College (#2) and College of the Atlantic (#9) have incorporated sustainability issues into their curriculum, and Northland College (#7) has incorporated composting toilets, solar panels and other green technology into its infrastructure.

The Sierra Club also recognized six schools for their green improvements:

1. Southern Illinois University
2. The University of Missouri
3. Appalachian State University
4. Lawrence University
5. Rochester Institute of Technology
6.  Portland State University.

Lawrence University in Wisconsin rearranged its schedule to reduce power consumption and banned food trays in dining halls to cut back on food waste. After Southern Illinois University rallied, the university gave up studying clean coal and agreed to create a sustainability council and offer organic food.

We could learn a thing or two here.

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