Hope College is one of the nation's most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review®.

The education services company features Hope in The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition. Released earlier this month and accessible for free at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide, the guide profiles 416 colleges.

The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey of administrators at 695 colleges in 2019-20 about their institutions’ commitments to the environment and sustainability. The company’s editors analyzed more than 25 survey data points in the process of choosing schools for the guide. 

The school profiles in The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges include “Green Facts” sections detailing such matters as the availability of sustainability-focused degrees, a formal sustainability committee, transportation alternatives on campus and the percentage of the college food budget spent on local/organic food. The profiles also provide information about the schools’ admission requirements, cost, financial aid and student body demographics.

Sustainability is an ongoing journey at Hope that includes not only individual and departmental efforts, but the coordinating work of a Sustainability Advisory Committee, known as the “Green Team,” consisting of faculty, administrators and students.

Activities and practices at the college focused on sustainability have ranged from green purchasing policies; to trayless dining to reduce food waste; to replacing residence halls’ windows with better-insulated models and adding insulation to the cottages’ attics.  The van Andel Huys der Hope Campus Ministries house that opened in the fall of 2019 has LEED v4 certification, the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center that opened in 2017 has LEED Gold certification, and the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts that opened in 2015 has LEED Silver certification.

Among its other efforts focused on the campus, Hope makes a tradition of planting trees during each Earth Week and Arbor Day.  Across 2019, Hope planted a total of 97 trees, including through support from a $2,000 grant from the Eaton Conservation District – Michigan Arbor Day Alliance, to replace trees removed for construction or due to age or because they were unhealthy.

Faculty and student researchers at the college have also been working in partnership with the City of Holland on an Urban Tree Canopy Research Project to inventory trees on city property and campus.  To date the project has measured nearly 14,000 trees on campus and around the city property.  “https://hope.edu/offices/sustainability/campus-sustainability/campus-tree-stops-brochure-2020.pdf, features illustrated descriptions of 23 species of trees found at Hope and provides an overview of their positive environmental impact.

Hope offers https://hope.edu/academics/geological-environmental-sciences/degree-programs.html, and across several departments has more than 50 individual courses focused on sustainability and another 40 that include sustainability in some way.  Multiple faculty-student collaborative research teams pursue environmentally-related projects, with a particular emphasis on water quality in the area.

Hope has received a variety of awards through the years for its sustainability efforts.

In September, the Sierra Club included Hope among the 312 colleges and universities that the organization named “2020 Cool Schools” for their environmental commitments, ranking the college 174th in the nation. Also earlier this year, the college again earned a STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).  STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.  Hope has held a silver rating since 2017, after previously holding a Bronze rating beginning in 2012.

For the past two consecutive years, the college has received Tree Campus USA® recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation.  In October 2019, Hope received an Honor Award for exceptional grounds maintenance in the 2019 Green Star Awards competition of the Professional Grounds Management Society. In 2015, Hope College Dining received Gold-level recognition in the SEED sustainability program of Creative Dining Services.  In 2014, the college was certified by the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program for meeting the organization’s standards in overall grounds management practices.

More information about sustainability efforts at Hope and in the area is available at hope.edu/sustainability.

The Princeton Review has published its annual Guide to Green Colleges since 2010. The company is also known for its dozens of categories of annual college rankings, its books, including The Best 386 Colleges and The Best Value Colleges, and its many other education services.

The Princeton Review reports seeing a high level of interest among college applicants and their parents in colleges with green practices, programs, and offerings. Sixty-six percent of the 12,845 respondents (college-bound teens and parents) to The Princeton Review's 2020 College Hopes & Worries Survey said that having information about a college’s commitment to the environment would affect their (or their child’s) decision to apply to or attend a school. A report on the survey findings is downloadable at www.princetonreview.com/college-hopes-worries.