Princeton Review & USGBC: “Guide To 286 Green Colleges”

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In an effort to recognize the impressive environmental and sustainability programs at universities and colleges across the country, The Princeton Review, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), has announced the release of The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges – the first, free comprehensive guidebook solely focused on institutions of higher education that have demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities, and initiatives.

Just in time for the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day (April 22), the Guide – which is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide – profiles the nation’s most environmentally responsible campuses. From solar panel study rooms to the percentage of budget spent on local/organic food, The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges looks at an institution’s commitment to building certification using USGBC’s LEED green building certification program; environmental literacy programs; formal sustainability committees; use of renewable energy resources; recycling and conservation programs, and much more.

“Our research has shown that students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending universities and colleges that practice, teach, and support environmental responsibility,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher, The Princeton Review. “In fact, 64% of the nearly 12,000 college applicants and parents who participated in our recent College Hopes & Worries Survey said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend it. We created this Guide to help them evaluate how institutions focus on environmental responsibility so they can make informed decisions as they move through the college assessment and application process.”

“Beyond the cost savings to an institution, even the simplest aspects of a green campus, such as increased use of natural light, have been found to improve student learning and quality of life,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Green facilities make colleges more attractive to students and can dramatically reduce energy costs. Higher education is a top priority market segment for USGBC because graduates of green colleges become incredible drivers of change when they call for similar surroundings in their jobs and communities.”

The Princeton Review noted that another interesting aspect of the Guide is that it provides important information on schools that have dedicated environmental studies curriculums. “By many accounts, there are going to be a lot of job opportunities related to the environment and sustainability,” commented Franek. “For those who are interested in working in this growing sector, the Guide highlights the schools that are doing an especially good job in preparing and placing the next generation of green professionals.”

How the Schools Were Chosen
The Princeton Review chose the 286 schools included in the Guide based on the “Green Rating” scores the schools received in summer 2009 when The Princeton Review published Green Rating scores for 697 schools in its online college profiles and/or annual college guidebooks. The Princeton Review’s “Green Rating” is a numerical score from 60 – 99 that’s based on several data points.

In 2008, The Princeton Review began collaborating with USGBC to help make the Green Rating survey questions as comprehensive and inclusive as possible. Of 697 schools that The Princeton Review gave “Green Ratings” to in 2009, the 286 schools in the Guide received scores in the 80th or higher percentile.  The Princeton Review does not rank the schools in this book hierarchically (1 to 286) or in any of its books based on their “Green Rating” scores.

The Princeton Review debuted its “Green Rating” scores for colleges and universities in 2008 and annually reports them for more than 700 institutions it profiles in its “Best Colleges” book, “Best Northeastern Colleges” book, “Complete Book of Colleges,” and on its Website profiles of colleges. The company also annually names schools to its “Green Honor Roll” which salutes the institutions receiving the highest possible Green Rating score (99) in the year’s tallies. Profiles in The Princeton Review’s annual “Guide to College Majors” highlight 100 majors for green careers.

To download a free copy of the Guide, click this link.

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