CSU ranked 11 in Sierra magazine’s Coolest Schools green ranking

Colorado State University is among the top sustainable universities in the U.S., according to Sierra magazine, the national magazine of the Sierra Club, which has released its 10th annual “Cool Schools” ranking of America’s greenest colleges and universities.

Each of the schools ranked in the top 20 have displayed a strong commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and encouraging sustainability, Sierra officials said on Sept. 6, when the rankings were released. CSU came in at no. 11, according to the rankings.

“Our continued strong performance in rankings like these from Sierra magazine are extremely gratifying because it represents the ongoing passion, academic commitment, and research drive of our campus community,” said Tonie Miyamoto, director of communications and sustainability for Housing & Dining Services at CSU and co-chair of the President’s Sustainability Committee.

CSU has made important strides to become even greener in recent years, Miyamoto said. Since fall 2013, the University has:

  • doubled the number of solar arrays on campus from seven to 14, adding 1,217 kW of solar power
  • increased the number of electric vehicle charging stations from two to 24
  • achieved nine LEED certifications (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is an environmental impact rating system for buildings)
  • increased composting by 40 percent
  • increased the number of Zipcars from four to 15
  • offered, in conjunction with the City of Fort Collins, expanded bus routes for Around the Horn, MAX, and Transfort buses.

CSU is also a stand-out in sustainability research and academics.

All eight colleges at CSU offer at least one sustainability-related major or minor at the undergraduate or graduate level. Programs of study include Environmental Horticulture, Environmental Engineering, and Ecosystem Science and Sustainability.

Students can pursue a master’s degree in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise through the College of Business and undergraduates can minor in Sustainable Water through the CSU Water Center, in partnership with the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. Students can also choose from more than 962 of 2,633 courses that are sustainability-related.

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability also offers a minor in interdisciplinary Global Environmental Sustainability and sponsors a “Managing the Planet” discussion series that focuses on sustainability and is open to the community. SoGES also offers a Dining with Sustainability program that brings together staff and leaders from federal and local agencies, nonprofits, the private sector and CSU to discuss innovative work, current topics and build community.

More than 200 schools participated in Sierra’s extensive survey about sustainability practices on their campus. Using an updated, customized scoring system, Sierra’s researchers ranked each university based on its demonstrated commitment to upholding high environmental standards.

Jason Mark, Sierra’s editor in chief, said a record number of schools completed a questionnaire to be considered in the rankings this year.

“We’re seeing schools commit to renewable energy purchasing, buying electric vehicles for their campus fleets, reducing their water usage, offering organic food in the cafeterias and offering dozens of environmental studies courses. These schools are instilling in the minds of their students the importance of adopting conservation values in their day-to-day activities.”

The full ranking of 202 colleges, including each school’s completed questionnaire, can be found online.