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January 31, 2014
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

SRU earns world sustainability rank

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University has been ranked 43rd of 301 universities worldwide in the University of Indonesia's 2013 Green Metric University Sustainability Ranking. The survey assessed and compared higher education sustainability practices, with more emphasis on preservation of the campus environment than other green surveys.

"While it's great to be recognized for our sustainability efforts, it's more important to keep up our momentum and continue our efforts in preparing our students to get jobs in the new green economy - and to be at the forefront of thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs able to help the world meet its profound environmental challenges," said Paul Scanlon, special assistant to the president.

The University of Indonesia launched the Green Metric survey in 2010, asking participating universities to provide replies to more than 40 questions.

The survey examined institutions' commitment to green space, sustainable development, combating climate change, alterative energy and resource conservation. Other categories included education, transportation, waste management and infrastructure.

The University of Nottingham in Britain ranked No. 1. Northeastern University, the University of Connecticut and the University of California/Davis are among the recognized American institutions.

The ranking attempted to use a uniform system of grading by ascribing a numerical score to each of the institutions. SRU received a score of 6,202.

According to the UI's guidelines, Green Metric aims to raise awareness of global challenges, shift action to address challenges and promote higher education as a critical agent of change.

Scanlon said IU contacted SRU President Cheryl Norton and invited SRU to participate. Aside from answering the questions, SRU submitted the University's most recent Association for Advancement in Higher Education Sustainability "STARS" report.

Scanlon said the ranking is significant for the 635-acre campus with more than 8,000 students.

"This survey, more than the others, seems to place a higher value on our preservation efforts," Scanlon said. "We have almost 200 acres of forest right here on campus, much of which is protected Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries. How many other universities can offer such an abundance of natural areas right at our doorstep for outdoor classes, environmental studies and agricultural research?"

Scanlon said one doesn't have to be an environmentalist to appreciate the quality-of-life benefits of SRU's green campus.

"Greening helps promote a healthier lifestyle, from providing rich, hands-on experiences like learning organic gardening at SRU's Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research, to enjoying our hiking and biking trails, or just letting you clear your head with a walk in the woods on a nice fall day," Scanlon said.

SRU has implemented many greening initiatives of note.

"The abundant natural lighting and good indoor air quality of our LEED-certified buildings provide a better learning environment, while our dining hall services provide healthy food choices - much coming from local vendors, requiring less artificial preservatives and cross-country trucking," Scanlon said. "And - if you take advantage of the many academic and extracurricular sustainability activities on campus - you just might have an edge in getting that cool job when you graduate."

SRU is a longtime leader in sustainability efforts, including the Macoskey Center, LEED Certified residence halls, energy saving lighting, reduced temperature set points in classrooms and participation as signatory in the American College and University President's Climate Commitment.

SRU has made much progress in sustainability planning and implementation. The University has committed itself to becoming a carbon neutral institution by 2037, and recently installed a "green roof" atop the Jack C. Dinger Building adjacent to Morrow Field House.

The Princeton Review has included SRU in its "Guide to 286 Green Colleges" that have shown an above average commitment to sustainability. Sierra Magazine recently recognized SRU as one of its "Top 100" for its greening efforts as well.

The University has installed energy-saving lighting systems and uses computer monitoring for heating and air-conditioning control in campus buildings. New dashboard display systems have been installed in campus residence halls that will allow students to closely monitor their hall's energy consumption, with an eye toward reducing energy use.

Most recently, SRU's selection to the 2013 Green Rating Honor Roll issued by The Princeton Review got the University included in an extensive "Thinking Green" report in Pittsburgh Magazine's September issue.

Other new initiatives include "Flaunt Your Fleece Fridays" program in which thermostats in buildings get turned down from 67 to 64 degrees and new greening coursework for elementary education majors, to begin the weekend thermostat setback program a day early, save energy costs and reduce gas emissions.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.