The U. of I. has been named to The Princeton Review’s 2014 Green College Honor Roll. It marks Illinois’ first appearance on the list, which includes 22 schools that attained a perfect score of 99.
“The campus has made a major commitment to sustainability,” said Pradeep Khanna, the associate chancellor for public engagement. “This recognition is an endorsement of the work the campus has done in the last few years to transform itself.”
The Princeton Review ranked the sustainability of 832 schools. The project, now in its sixth year, evaluates schools on specific criteria, including student groups, the source of dining hall food, modes of transportation, committees, academics and waste practices. Details on the scoring are available online.
Khanna gave a few examples of the actions being taken by the campus to become more sustainable. In addition to newer buildings such as the LEED-certified Business Instructional Facility, improvements have been made to many existing buildings to increase energy efficiency. Many water fountains across campus also include a water spout that makes it easy to refill water bottles, cutting down on waste from plastic bottles. Faculty members also have modified many courses to incorporate sustainability principles. Illinois also had one of the most popular Coursera offerings, “Introduction to Sustainability,” with more than 36,000 students enrolled in just a few weeks.
Stephanie Lage, the assistant director of the Center for a Sustainable Environment at Illinois, said the honor is also likely tied to progress on the university’s sustainability goals. In 2008, Illinois pledged to achieve a 20 percent energy reduction by 2015. Since 2008, the campus has cut its energy usage by 25 percent. Illinois also set a goal to reduce water consumption by 20 percent by 2015, and it has already been cut by 19 percent.
Lage is quick to point out that the entire campus community deserves the recognition.
“The success is because of the efforts of everyone,” she said. “The person who turns off the computer at night, the person who brings their bike to work every day, the people who repair our buildings. Everyone has to do their part to achieve these goals.”
For more information about the university’s sustainability efforts visit the iCAP website.