CSU ranks high on Sierra magazine’s ‘Cool Schools’ green ranking

For the seventh consecutive year, Colorado State University is one of the nation’s most sustainable higher education institutions, according to the Sierra Club’s official magazine.

Sierra magazine ranked CSU No. 7 out of a record 312 institutions in its annual “Cool Schools” green ranking. Since 2014, CSU has finished in the top 12 seven times in the competition, which highlights the best environmental practices of colleges and universities.

Like previous years, scores were based on the STARS report created by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the organization that rated CSU at its highest level – Platinum – for a record third time in February 2020. The independent program measures comprehensive sustainability efforts at 990 universities around the world.

“As the only institution anywhere that is a three-time recipient of the STARS Platinum rating for comprehensive sustainability efforts and currently has the highest score in the U.S., CSU is proud to be recognized among Sierra Club’s Cool Schools,” said CSU President Joyce McConnell. “This recognition underscores the incredible and intentional efforts of our entire CSU community in implementing sustainable operations and fostering environmental research and discovery. At CSU, we know a commitment to a sustainable environment is a lifelong effort and we are always striving to be an even more sustainable campus and community.”

CSU’s ‘Cool Schools’ ranking by year

2020: No. 7

2019: No. 9

2018: No. 4

2017: No. 11

2016: No. 11

2015: No. 4

2014: No. 11

According to Sierra magazine, researchers ranked colleges and universities based on academic criteria, such as environmentally focused curriculum, student engagement with environmental activism, renewable energy and waste management operations, and schools’ planning and administrative standards.

In the “Cool Schools” ranking, CSU scored 84.68 points, besting institutions such as Cornell University (No. 12) and the University of California, Berkeley (No. 13). The University of California, Irvine placed first with 89.95 points.

“We continue to be inspired by the creative and innovative ways that North American colleges and universities are furthering and deepening their work to address the climate crisis and create a sustainable future, even in light of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Katie O’Reilly, Sierra magazine’s adventure and lifestyle editor, in a release. “Every year, we see increased commitments to clean energy, reducing waste, and involvement from a wider geographic range of schools.”

Green Honor Roll

CSU Sustainability

CSU continues to be a sustainability leader, adding new LEED Platinum- or Gold-certified classrooms, research space and offices.

CSU also was named to The Princeton Review’s 2021 Green Honor Roll, one of only 30 schools to receive the distinction, which recognizes an institution’s environmental awareness, preparedness and performance.

This also marks the seventh time in a row that CSU has made this list.

“Colorado State is always proud to be recognized as a leader in sustainability. However, we all know that sustainability is a journey and there is much work yet to be done,” said Engineer Carol Dollard, energy engineer in Facilities Management and co-chair of the President’s Sustainability Commission. “So let’s celebrate this achievement, then buckle down and continue to make progress toward our goals.”

The Princeton Review’s judging criteria includes campus quality of life for students, career development for the clean-energy economy, and school policies toward environmental responsibility.

Since 2017, CSU has added more than 335,000 square feet of new LEED Platinum- or Gold-certified classrooms, research space and offices. The League of American Bicyclists also recertified the institution as a Platinum-level community in 2019.

Learn more

 Find out more about CSU’s “State of Sustainability” from academics and research to operations and outreach by visiting green.colostate.edu.