April 20, 2010
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
The Princeton Review names SRU to 'Green Colleges' list
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University has been included in "The Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges," the first comprehensive guidebook cataloging institutions that have shown above average commitment to sustainability. The guidebook, published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, profiles SRU and the nation's other most environmentally responsible campuses.
SRU has shown greening leadership for more than 20 years and is one of the few institutions in Pennsylvania offering a master's degree program in sustainability. Undergraduates have stepped up in recent years by creating a Green Fund for environmental projects and launched a number of campus initiatives raising awareness.
"The Princeton Review inclusion shows that students are asking the right questions and looking at how green are campus is," said Langdon Smith, associate professor of geography, geology and the environment. "It also validates the work we have been doing to become more sustainable."
The guidebook, released to correspond with Earth Day Thursday, was based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide. The Princeton Review looked at institutions' commitment to green building design, LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certification, recycling, conservation, renewable energy and environmental literacy. Other higher education institutions included in the list are Harvard, Duke, Boston College, Drexel and Johns Hopkins.
"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 of The Princeton Review. "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."
Franek said the guide provides important information on environmental studies curriculum. "By many accounts, there are going to be a lot of job opportunities related to the environment and sustainability," he said. "The guide highlights the schools that are doing an especially good job in preparing and placing the next generation of green professionals."
Rick Fedrizzi, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Green Building Council, said greening makes colleges more attractive. "Beyond the cost savings to an institution, even the simplest aspects of a green campus, such as use of natural light, have been found to improve student learning and quality of life," he said. "Graduates of green colleges become incredible drivers of change when they call for similar surroundings in their jobs and communities."
SRU has implemented greening concepts in many aspects of college life and has saved money in utility costs by implementing sustainability measures. Classrooms and residence halls have been equipped with motion detector lighting and low-emissivity windows. The suite-style residence halls maximize the use of natural daylight and are LEED certified.
SRU totally redesigned its sustainable systems (MS3) program to move away from its original focus on soils and agriculture to preparing graduates for careers in environmental planning, alternative energy, green building design, consulting and government work. The program is supported by SRU's 83-acre demonstration and research laboratory, the Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainability Education and Research.
Greening advances are generating new learning opportunities. SRU recently installed a 30-foot air quality and meteorological observatory at the eastern edge of campus. Students study ozone levels and air pollution. SRU also operates at wind turbine at the Macoskey Center that generates a small amount of clean electricity.
Earlier this year, Robert Smith, SRU president, signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which calls for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases on campus for the sake of minimizing global warming. In conjunction with signing the Climate Commitment, the president named Herb Carlson as the institution's senior officer for sustainability initiatives, and is in the process of convening a President's Commission on Sustainability.
SRU has implemented greening in its dining halls and the Student Government Association Bookstore as well. The bookstore sells all-natural cleaning and hygiene products as well as recycled school supplies and eco-friendly greeting cards. This May, all undergraduates will wear commencement regalia made from 100 percent recycled materials.
A number of all-natural eating options have been introduced. The dining halls purchase vegetables from local growers, and soups are made from scratch. The dining halls offer biodegradable containers for takeout and has reduced napkin usage by making napkins available at the tables instead of serving stations. SRU also opened the nation's first T&B Naturally Caf� inside Bailey Library. The caf� offers all-natural drinks, coffee and snacks.
Also new is a bio-fuels processor that converts French fry oil into diesel fuel for power law maintenance equipment.
"We have accomplished a lot," Smith said. "Now the challenge is to keep up the pace and continue improving our sustainability on campus."
The Princeton Review provides students and their parents with the resources to research, apply, prepare for and pay for higher education. It publishes 165 print and digital medial publications. The U.S. Green Building Council is comprised of 18,500 members and works to promote green building construction.
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.