College environmental ranking improves

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April 26, 2011

1:55 AM

The College of William and Mary had reason to celebrate this Earth Day, as the Princeton Review included the College in its list of the nation’s most environmentally conscious universities. This year, the College received a score of 93, up three points from last year’s ranking.

Every year, the standardized test preparation and admissions consulting company releases its list of 311 Green Colleges, ranking schools on a scale from 60 to 99 points based on environmental initiatives and programs.

“A lot of that improvement came out of two areas,” Committee on Sustainability co-chair Dennis Taylor said. “One is food and dining services, and also in facilities. Both are in the lead ranking for the new School of Ed. and the new Green Fee projects, which have actually improved the green rankings of buildings on campus.”

In its report, the Princeton Review, in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, cited the solar panels on the roof of Small Hall, the Eco-Hall housing program and the Sharpe Community Scholars’ research into green roofs as examples of the College’s eco-friendly initiatives.

“A green campus can transform the college experience for students through enhanced sustainability education and by creating healthy living and learning environments all while saving energy, water and money as part of an institution’s bottom line,” USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi said in a press release.

The 220-page Princeton Review book also acknowledges the work of student interns in helping the College become more sustainable.

“There are three [interns] each semester, and they work on independent projects, and largely what they were able to achieve in the last year was to reduce the waste stream in the college,” Taylor said. “Currently we’re composting 100 percent of the green waste that comes out of the Commons and the Sadler Center.”

The report mentions the College’s recent requirement all new campus buildings that receive a ranking of silver or gold on the USGBC’s LEED certification program, and specifically mentions Miller Hall’s new gold certification.

Students say they aren’t too surprised by the College’s ranking.

“I feel like a lot of people on this campus care about sustainability and environmental issues,” Justin Poston ’13 said. Despite the high level of student involvement, though, Poston said he didn’t notice many visible improvements.

Taylor believes that the College is making significant environmental improvements on many fronts, especially in dining services, which has experienced a rise in local produce use. Still, the Committee on Sustainability is looking for additional ways to be more “green.”

“I think dining services is going to continue to improve, and they’ve already begun to include a greater number of local farms to provide produce,” Taylor said. “We’ll eventually be able to have a majority of produce come from local sources.”

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