Colorado State University is ranked fourth in the nation among environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company surveyed hundreds of four-year colleges concerning the schools’ commitments to the environment and sustainability and chose 361 to include in its annual guide to green colleges.
CSU was lauded for its:
- sustainability committee
- sustainability-focused degrees
- publicly available greenhouse gas inventory plan
- on-campus sustainability officer, and
- local or organic food offered on campus.
The university was also recognized for its bike- and car-share programs, and for offering free transit passes and free campus shuttles for employees and students.
Emphasis on alternative transportation
Thousands of CSU students, faculty and staff bike to campus daily during the academic year. The university has invested in an additional 10.4 miles of bike trails and bike lanes, has more than 16,000 bike rack spaces on campus, and is completing an underpass to ensure easier bike and pedestrian access across a high-traffic corridor.
CSU is one of only five universities nationwide to be named a Platinum Bicycle Friendly University from the League of American Bicyclists.
The university installed its first bike-share stations, connected to the city of Fort Collins’s stations, this month, and has recently added secured bike shelters with electronic access.
All students and employees receive a transit pass, and CSU ridership accounts for a significant percentage of city transit ridership. A circulating shuttle that serves various CSU locations throughout the city — a partnership between Fort Collins and the university — is consistently among the system’s most traveled routes.
“We made a decision years ago at Colorado State University to invest in sustainability and related efforts, including creating bike- and car-sharing programs, improving our composting program, and encouraging employees to live close to campus,” said Lynn Johnson, Vice President of University Operations.
“We did this because we are passionate about protecting the environment and encouraging sustainability, and not because it’s a ‘feel-good’ response,” Johnson added. “These efforts that we’ve made include our students, faculty, staff, the city of Fort Collins and our researchers.”
Sustainable degree programs
CSU offers an undergraduate major in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability through its Warner College of Natural Resources. In the program, students learn to integrate science into real-world decision-making, with the goal of developing sustainable strategies to maintain ecosystem services around the globe.
The undergraduate degree has become increasingly popular since its launch in 2013 with 76 students. In 2016, nearly 260 students are pursuing the degree.
CSU students can also pursue a master’s degree in Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting, and an MBA in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise.
Undergraduates can minor in Sustainable Water through the CSU Water Center, in partnership with the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, which also offers a minor in interdisciplinary Global Environmental Sustainability.
“Students can choose among a broad selection of majors and minors related to sustainability across all eight of our colleges, and we have more than 900 courses related to sustainability,” Rick Miranda, the Provost of Colorado State University said. “Sustainability has become part of the DNA of who we are here at Colorado State.”
Green buildings, green university
CSU has 22 LEED-certified buildings on its campus. LEED —Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is a designation from the U.S. Green Building Council that recognizes efforts to control operations costs, reduce its carbon footprint and achieve environmental goals.
The university has 13 solar arrays, including one of the largest single array on any college campus. These help meet local climate action goals and state renewable energy standard commitments.
Colorado State University also has a long history of recycling, and has fostered a great deal of support for this initiative among students. Most recently, the university has diverted tons of material from the landfill by investing in its composting program.
The university’s greenhouse gas inventory shows it is making progress toward a goal of carbon neutrality.
College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine; State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry; and Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, were the top three schools in the Princeton Review’s green colleges guide. CSU is the highest-ranked large institution in the guide.
See the top 50 colleges and universities in the guide online.
About The Princeton Review’s Guide to 361 Green Colleges
The Princeton Review chose the schools for its green guide based on a combination of school-reported data and student surveys data from the company’s 2015-16 survey of four-year colleges concerning the environment and sustainability.
The profiles in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 361 Green Colleges provide information about each school’s admission requirements, cost and financial aid, and student body stats. They also include “Green Facts” about the schools with details on the availability of transportation alternatives at the schools and the percentage of the school food budgets spent on local or organic food.