posted April 17, 2012

Hope Recognized as “Green” College

Hope College is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review (www.PrincetonReview.com), which has selected Hope for inclusion in the just-released second annual edition of its free downloadable book, “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.”

Created by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) (www.usgbc.org), "The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges” is the only free, comprehensive guidebook profiling institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The Princeton Review chose the schools for this guide based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of colleges that the Company polled in 2011 about their school’s sustainability initiatives. 

Sustainability is an ongoing process at Hope that includes not only individual and departmental efforts but the coordinating work of a Sustainability Advisory Committee “Green Team” comprised of faculty, administrators and students.  Activities and practices at Hope have ranged from green purchasing policies, increased recycling and trayless dining to reduce food waste; to the creation of academic minors in both environmental science and environmental studies; to campus-wide exploration of environmental themes through events like the Critical Issues Symposium, which focused on water and food in 2009 and 2010 respectively.  As one example of other recent initiatives, this past fall the Green Team organized a “Cottage Energy Competition” in which students in seven of the college’s cottages worked to lower their electricity use, an event that also provided an opportunity for both the team and participants to share energy-saving tips.

The college’s commitment to environmental sustainability includes having signed the international Talloires Declaration, a 10-point plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations, and outreach at colleges and universities.  Hope is also a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Released on April 17, days prior to the April 22 celebration of the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day, the guide has profiles of the colleges that provide application information plus facts, stats, and write-ups reporting on the schools’ environmentally related policies, practices and academic offerings. The free guide can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide and www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide

The Princeton Review first created this one-of-a-kind resource for college-bound students in 2010 with the U.S. Green Building Council, which is best known for developing the LEED standard for green building certification. In the fall of 2010, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools (www.centerforgreenschools.org) to increase its efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated so that all educational facilities can enhance student learning experiences.

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” said Robert Franek, Senior VP/Publisher, The Princeton Review. “Among 7,445 college applicants who participated in our 2012 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ nearly 7 out of 10 (68%) told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school,” he added.

“Together with USGBC, we are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally-responsible choices,” Franek said.  “To that end, we highly recommend the terrific schools in this book.”

The Princeton Review chose the 322 schools, which are not ranked hierarchically, based on a survey it conducted in 2011 of hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and in Canada to tally its annual “Green Rating” scores (scaled from 60 to 99) of colleges for its school profiles in its college guidebooks and website. The survey asks administrators more than 50 questions about their institution's sustainability-related policies, practices and programs.  The company tallied Green Ratings for 768 institutions in summer 2011.  The 322 schools in the guide received scores of 83 or above in the assessment.