URBANA (April 17, 2014) — The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus sustainability initiatives have been named as some of the best in the country, as highlighted in the release today of The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges (a free, downloadable resource produced in partnership with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, and available at TPR’s website).
The campus made the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll for the second year in a row, one of only 24 colleges to earn a perfect score of 99 and the only Big Ten school to make this list.
Sustainability is important for higher education institutions because it touches all aspects of learning and campus life: preparing students for 21st century careers; advancing cutting edge research in the new clean economy; providing healthy, safe and efficient living, learning and dining environments, and helping students develop leadership skills around issues that are most important to them.
Among the campus initiatives and highlights listed in the Guide to Green Colleges:
Our institution is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, which means we share USGBC’s mission to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.
- Our institution is home to a USGBC Students group – students and faculty working together to integrate sustainability themes into coursework and advocate for sustainable university practices and policies. USGBC Students are the nation’s young leaders in sustainability and green building on college campuses across the nation.
- Our institution is a STARS (Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) rated institution, developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
- Our institution is a signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, a high-visibility effort to address global climate disruption through institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations and to promote research and educational efforts to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.
Among the Green Facts in the guide:
- 100% of new campus construction is LEED-certified.
- The U of I also has a public greenhouse gas inventory plan.
- 27% of the campus food budget is spent on local or organic food.
- Our institution offers sustainability-focused and environmental studies degrees.
The campus’ new Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) has been created to facilitate cross-disciplinary research into solving some of the world’s greatest environmental issues; to lead faculty, students and staff in becoming more eco-minded and making environmentally friendly decisions and campus and in future endeavors; and to prepare graduates to become leaders in fields involving sustainability, energy and environment.
The university is committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, and has retrofitted more than 50 campus buildings, “resulting in an average energy reduction of 27 percent per building.”