OAKLAND, CA, Aug. 27, 2018 – Today, Sierra magazine, the national magazine of the Sierra Club, released its twelfth annual “Cool Schools” ranking of North America’s greenest colleges and universities. Sierra received submissions from a record-breaking 269 schools in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.
Each of the schools ranked in the top 20 have displayed a deep and thorough commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate issues, and encouraging environmental responsibility. Using a customized scoring system, Sierra’s researchers ranked the universities based on their commitment to upholding high environmental standards.
“We stay inspired by the creative and innovative ways colleges and universities across North America are working to tackle the climate crisis and move toward a sustainable future,” said Jason Mark, Sierra magazine’s editor in chief. “Each year, submissions to Sierra’s Cool Schools rankings shoot up– showing youth are increasingly engaged in driving change at a local level to circumvent our lagging federal leaders.”
Sierra magazine’s top 20 schools of 2018 are:
- TIE: University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA) and Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT)
- University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)
- University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
- Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)
- Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
- Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA)
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, MA)
- Seattle University (Seattle, WA)
- California State University, Chico (Chico, CA)
- Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT)
- Sterling College (Craftsbury Common, VT)
- American University (Washington, DC)
- Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA)
- Chatham University (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)
- University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)
- Lewis and Clark University (Portland, OR)
- University of Dayton (Dayton, OH)
- Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA)
- Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
This year, two perennially green schools tied for “coolest”–demonstrating that a crunchy liberal arts college and a large state university both have what it takes to help save the planet. The second college in the nation to reach carbon neutrality, Vermont’s Green Mountain College is working toward powering its campus solely via renewable energy by 2020. On the West Coast, UC Irvine leapt an impressive seven spots this year–thanks in part to net-zero emission housing construction and a pioneering project that converts campus-generated solar power into hydrogen.
This year, in the most submissions ever, 269 schools were ranked based on academic criteria like environmentally-focused curriculum, engagement such as campus activism, operations like on-campus recycling and waste management, and on planning and administrative standards.
“Young people are leading the fight against the climate crisis and toward a 100 percent sustainable future. Students across the United States and Canada are pushing their high schools and colleges to not only divest from fossil fuels but to commit to 100 percent localized clean energy,” said Karissa Gerhke, National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition. “The Sierra Student Coalition applauds these leaders and their schools for their innovation and leadership, and we look forward to working with them as they continue to do this important work.”
The full ranking of 269 colleges and universities, including each school’s completed questionnaire, is online at www.sierraclub.org/coolschools.