In celebration of Earth Week, Shenandoah University is proud to announce it is one of the 322 most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. The university earned a green rating of 90, and is profiled in the fourth annual edition of the free downloadable book, “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges.”
“Our university’s commitment to environmental stewardship is paramount,” said President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “We are so fortunate that our institution is located in a beautiful and scenic part of the country, and we honor that home by protecting the natural habitats around us and keeping the environment at the forefront of every decision we make.”
In the guide’s profile on the university, The Princeton Review highlights Shenandoah University’s Blue Ridge Institute for Environmental Studies (SU-BRIES). Since its inception in 1991, SU-BRIES has focused on environmental quality, community education and natural places in the Shenandoah Valley region. The group also tackles service-learning projects at Shawnee Springs and Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserves, as well as research projects on local water quality, terrestrial sites, fish and box turtles.
The guide profile notes the institute’s “efforts to reduce the university’s ecological footprint, while demonstrating responsible environmental practices through energy conservation projects, sustainable purchasing choices, and the protection of habitats and water quality.”
Also noted in the guide are the university’s downsizing of the campus fleet of service vehicles and purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as the promotion of the Winchester Green Circle – a walking and bicycling path designed to connect neighborhoods and points of interest in the City of Winchester.
Other highlights include: the existence of an environmental studies degree program; the utilization of a formal sustainability committee and a sustainability officer; the effort to ensure all new construction is LEED-certified or certified by a comparable third-party rating system; and the use of cleaning products that are Green Seal-certified.
The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey it conducted of hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and in Canada in 2012 to tally its “Green Ratings” (scores from 60 to 99). The survey asked administrators more than 50 questions about their institutions’ sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. Green Ratings were reported for 806 institutions in summer 2012. The 322 schools in the guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment. Information about The Princeton Review’s Green Rating methodology is at www.princetonreview.com/green.aspx.
For more on the university’s Office of Sustainability, click here.