Culminating a series of recognitions for sustainability, Colorado State University climbed to No. 4 in Sierra magazine’s Cool Schools recently released ranking of the greenest colleges and universities in the U.S. The Cool Schools ranking is among the most watched sustainability rankings in higher education.
The ranking recognizes the university’s commitment to sustainability, which encompasses academics, research, operations, and engagement. Colorado State earned top honors in the Cool Schools rankings for its academics.
“Colorado State should be extremely proud of its commitment to graduating young people who thoroughly care about—and understand—the planet’s environmental problems. It’s only via instilling eco-literacy that we can develop viable solutions, and CSU serves as a role model for other colleges in this regard,” said Avital Andrews, Sierra Magazine’s editor.
With the 2015-2016 academic year beginning, 962 courses incorporate sustainability content, and 90 percent of the university’s academic departments are engaged in sustainability-related research. The university’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, known as SoGES, offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in global environmental sustainability, along with undergraduate and graduate courses that integrate environmental, social and economic perspectives. SoGES works across all eight university colleges to offer support for incorporating sustainability content into existing courses, and developing new sustainability courses. The university offers 19 majors related to sustainability across all eight colleges.
“CSU is attacking the world’s greatest sustainability problems by collaborating across disciplines, increasing involvement, and approaching challenges with imagination and vision,” said Diana Wall, SoGES director.
About 250 students are currently pursuing the sustainability minor through SoGES, and about 1,400 undergraduate students take its introductory course on sustainability. SoGES courses range across vast areas of subject matter including law, energy, food, water, climate and conservation. SoGES has provided support for 26 global research teams over the last seven years, comprised of multiple academic disciplines. These teams have investigated issues such as biodiversity, environmental governance and justice, climate change and food security.
CSU also engages students in sustainability outside the classroom. As students move into the residence halls this week, corals will be set up to collect cardboard and Styrofoam for recycling. Last year during move in, 20 tons of cardboard was diverted from the landfill. During Ram Welcome on Thursday, new students and their families will be welcomed to campus with the New Student and Family Picnic, a zero waste event.
New partnerships this fall are bringing more local and sustainable foods to campus dining centers, including spices from Old Town Spice Shop, Fair Trade coffee from the Bean Cycle, and multiple products through LoCo Food Distributor, a wholesale distributor for locally grown and processed foods.
CSU 2015 Sustainability Awards and Recognitions
Sierra’s recognition comes on the heels of multiple sustainability recognitions for the university in 2015.
- CSU became the first institution in the world to earn a STARS Platinum Rating from AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is the most respected higher education sustainability assessment.
- CSU was one of nine institutions to receive the inaugural U.S. Department of Education Post-Secondary Sustainability Award.
- 12th on Princeton Review’s Green College Honor Roll.
- BestColleges.com listed CSU as the #1 school on their America’s Greenest Universities list.
- Fourth on Sierra Club’s Coolest Schools ranking with a Special Achievement Award for No. 1 in Academics.