SRU named “Green Ribbon School” finalist


March 2, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University has been selected as a finalist for the "Green Ribbon School" award by the U.S. Department of Education. SRU, which was nominated for the honor by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, was the only institution of higher education in the state to be recommended for the postsecondary sustainability award.

The USDE will release the full slate of college and university award winners, one from each of 30 participating states, on Earth Day, April 22.

"This year's nominees are ensuring that their students learn to live, work and play with sustainability and health in mind, not as an afterthought, but as an integral part of everything they undertake," said Andrea Suarez Falken, director of the USDE Green Ribbon Schools program. 

The goal of the program is to inspire schools, districts and institutions of higher education to strive for 21st century excellence, by highlighting promising practices and resources. To that end, the award recognizes schools, districts and institutions of higher education that:

  • Reduce environmental impact and costs;
  • Improve the health and wellness of schools, students and staff; and
  • Provide environmental education, which teaches many disciplines and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.
Green Ribbon Schools


According to the PDE, combined progress in all three of these areas serves as the basis for recognition and to support the goals of reduced college costs, increased completion rates, higher rates of employment and robust civic skills among graduates.

In announcing the nomination, Jennifer Dugan, PDE special assistant for postsecondary and higher education, wrote, "Sustainability education helps all student engage in hands-on learning, hone critical thinking and collaboration skill, learn many disciplines and develop a solid foundation in STEM subjects. Your (SRU's) commitment to sustainability education has been demonstrated through your work with your students, faculty and community."

The award helps to identify and communicate practices that result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates and workforce preparedness, and reinforce federal efforts to increase energy independence and economic security.

"We've won or been named for a number of different awards in terms of sustainability before," said Paul Scanlon, special assistant to the president for sustainability planning and operations, "but this award is different because of the additional emphasis on health and wellness. It's a more comprehensive recognition and that speaks to the depth of our endeavors."

Scanlon said SRU's President's Commission on Sustainability is proof of that depth.

The President's Commission on Sustainability includes a cross section of representatives of all SRU and community stakeholders, and advises the president on recommended sustainability initiatives, strategies and policies for the University.

The commission provides leadership for:

  • Advancing sustainability through education, operations and community engagement;
  • Promoting individual and community responsibility for effective resource management;
  • Monitoring progress toward sustainability goals through assessment and benchmarking activities;
  • Reviewing and recommending to the president specific sustainability initiatives and policies advanced by the SRU Office of Sustainability, Energy Conservation Committee, and similar organizations; and
  • Ensuring that Slippery Rock University meets or exceeds the requirements of the presidents' "climate commitment."

All Green Ribbon nominees must meet college and career ready standards, be in compliance with federal civil rights laws and comply with all federal, state and local health and safety standards and regulations.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 |