The Princeton Review again puts St. Mike's among top "green" colleges

By: Mark Tarnacki
Green Guide cover

For the fifth straight year, Saint Michael's College is one of the 332 most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada, according to The Princeton Review.

The education services company known for its test prep programs and college rankings, ratings, and guidebooks profiles Saint Michael's in the fifth annual edition of its free downloadable book, The Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges.

The Princeton Review chose the schools for this guide based on a survey it conducted in 2013 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges to measure the schools' commitment to the environment and to sustainability. The institutional survey included questions on the schools' course offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. 

"I think being in this guide the fifth year in a row is a real testament to the entire college's commitment to and support of the Sustainability Office on campus and our work to continue making Saint Michael's a greener campus," said Heather Ellis-Lynch, the college's sustainability coordinator. "It shows not only that we can do it, but that we can do more, and it's gratifying to me that students, administrators and faculty/staff leaders want to do keep doing more each year with conservation and energy awareness, both in the classroom and through programs."

The guide was published April 17, a few days before the April 22 celebration of Earth Day. The Princeton Review created its "Guide to 332 Green Colleges" in partnership with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The 322 school profiles in the guide feature essential information for applicants – facts and stats on school demographics, admission, financial aid – plus write-ups on the schools' sustainability initiatives.  A "Green Facts" sidebar reports on a wide range of topics from the school's use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.

In the guide's profile on Saint Michael's this year, The Princeton Review takes into account new initiatives since last year's edition - notably completion of the new Dion Family Center and Quad Commons residence hall, which utilize geothermal energy. "The fact that our new buildings run on renewable energy is pretty exciting," said Ellis-Lynch. "In this year's profile we also were able to make mention of our interactive Energy Consumption Dashboard in the new Dion Center Lobby, which launched in September."

Ellis-Lynch said an important development for the college's "green" profile in general is an ever-growing collaboration between her Sustainability Office's efforts and initiatives on the academic side, particularly through the relatively young and fast-developing Environmental Studies major.

The Princeton Review profile notes, as last year, that "Saint Michael's College prides itself on a strong sense of community that informs its collaborative approach to greening the campus with collaborations that... run the gamut... from recycling programs and a lecture series to free local transportation options for students and staff. The college's "Three Degree Challenge" promotes energy efficiency in existing buildings on campus by turning down thermostats. A campus-wide, single-stream recycling program and an on-site composting facility are helping Saint Michael's get closer to becoming a zero-waste institution. Low-flow plumbing became the standard at the college fifteen years ago, and now all campus showerheads and sink aerators are optimized for water conservation. The college's Organic Garden program offers students hands on experience with growing healthy food and offers summer workshops for faculty and staff. Opportunities for sustainable research are available through collaborative efforts like the Lake Champlain Research Consortium and through the college's own sustainability office as well as through the new environmental studies major."

It further states: "The student environmental club, Green Up, led a successful campaign to ban the sales of bottled water on campus, organizes the popular Earth Week events and runs many other educational programs on campus. The fleet of college owned vehicles now includes five hybrids, and the college offers all members of the campus free CCTA commuter passes in order to reduce the number of cars (and therefore carbon emissions) on campus. Additionally, two solar-powered electric vehicle charge stations were installed on campus."

Said Rob Franek, Senior VP/Publisher, The Princeton Review, "We are pleased to recommend Saint Michael's College to the many students seeking colleges that practice and promote environmentally-responsible choices and practices."

Franek noted his Company's recent survey findings indicating significant interest among college applicants in attending "green" colleges. "Among 10,116 college applicants who participated in our 2014 'College Hopes & Worries Survey,' 61 percent said having information about a school's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school," he said. 

Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, said, "In collaborating with The Princeton Review on this annual guide, we have seen that sustainability on campuses continues to be an important deciding factor for today's four-year college bound students. We are excited to once again provide prospective students and their parents with a resource to help them navigate this often daunting decision-making process."

How Schools Were Chosen for the Book

The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey the Company conducted in 2013. The survey asked administrators at hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and Canada about their institution's sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. Using survey data that covered more than 25 fields, The Princeton Review tallied its "Green Ratings" (scores from 60 to 99) for 832 schools and reported them in the school profiles on the Company's website and in its college guides in summer 2013. The 332 schools in this guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment. (Note: The Princeton Review does not rank the schools 1 to 332, nor does it report their Green Rating scores in this book.) Information about the Company's Green Rating and its "Green Honor Roll" list of 22 schools that received the highest possible score, 99, is at

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