St. Mike's recognized for commitment to the environment in The Princeton Review

By: Buff Lindau

For the fourth straight year, Saint Michael's College is among a select few colleges and universities nationwide recognized for their commitment to the environment by inclusion in The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges.

The 2013 edition of the free, downloadable book was released in its 4th edition on April 16. Princeton Review bills it as a "one-of-a-kind resource" published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)'s Center for Green Schools - "the only free, comprehensive guide that focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment and to sustainability."

"I think it's a testament to all the hard work we've done in such short period of time for sustainability here," said Heather Ellis, the college's sustainability coordinator. "While the college always has tried to be environmentally aware generally, our coordinated sustainability efforts at Saint Michael's are a brand new program that only started five years ago. So to build something essentially from scratch and now to be included among 322 colleges nationwide that the Review thinks are worthy for this honor, I think that's big for the college."

"Even though I feel we have a long way to go like most colleges, I think it's good to start getting recognized for what we're doing in order to build momentum. It shows we can do it, and that we can do more," Ellis said. "Especially with the new Environmental Studies major here and how fast that's been growing, it just feels to me and a lot of other folks that it's all bubbling up and turning into something that's pretty amazing."

geothermal drilling on library lawn
Geothermal drilling took place last fall in preparation for the new student center and residence hall. You can read more about Ellis's sustainability efforts on our Green Campus pages.

Ellis is excited that "Green" data for the college in the near future likely will include a geothermal heating and cooling system that is being incorporated into the new Quad Commons student center, now under construction and slated to open next fall; and also an "Energy Dashboard" project, also due to come online in the fall, which will allow students to monitor and meter real-time energy use in campus buildings, with educational components built in, along with an interactive console in the new Student Center.

Saint Michael's, like the other 321 schools included in the Review's "Green" guide, were chosen based on "Green Rating" scores tallied for hundreds of schools in 2012 and reported in summer 2012 both in school profiles on the Princeton Review website and in some of their college guidebooks. That Green Rating is a score from 60 to 99, tallied using data from a 50-question survey of hundreds of school administrators each year about their school's environmental and sustainability-related policies, practices and academic offerings. 

Of the 806 schools surveyed for which Princeton Review reported Green Rating scores in 2012, the 322 chosen for the guide earned scores of 83 or higher. Schools are not ranked hierarchically, and specific scores are not included in the guide, though they are viewable in each school's profile on the Princeton Review website for registered members. Princeton Review times the release of its "Green" guide for the week before Earth Day, which is Monday, April 22 for 2013.

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