A new week, a new honor for the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and its mission of sustainability.
UW Oshkosh is among 21 colleges and universities from around the United States to earn a spot on The Princeton Review’s 2013 Green Honor Roll – the highest such accomplishment for the state’s third-largest university since it began sharing data with and demonstrating its sustainability progress to the company in the last decade.
The publisher and education services provider revealed the 2013 list Monday, Aug. 20. Both UW Oshkosh and UW-Stevens Point made its prestigious 2013 Green Honor Roll tally, reserved for institutions that score the highest-possible score of 99.
“This is another accomplishment our faculty, staff, students and state can be extremely proud of,” UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells said.
On Aug. 14, the Sierra Club and Sierra Magazine released their annual “Coolest Schools” rankings, based on the “greenness” of participating universities; UW Oshkosh was ranked 14th in the nation, the highest ranking for UW Oshkosh to date and the highest ranking in the state.
The Princeton Review describes its fifth annual "Green Ratings" of colleges as “a measure of how environmentally friendly the institutions are on a scale of 60 to 99. The company tallied the rating for 806 institutions based on its institutional surveys of colleges in 2011-12 concerning their environmentally related practices, policies and academic offerings.” Twenty-one institutions made the Green Honor Roll.
"While athletes from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh are known as 'titans' on the playing field, it's about time the university be recognized for its titanic contributions to the sustainability movement," the Green Honor Roll's synopsis for UW Oshkosh states.
“We have, individually and collectively, worked hard to conserve and generate alternative energy, limit waste and become a more environmental-and-cost-conscious institution,” Wells said. “This second round of recognition in two weeks only strengthens our growing, national reputation as a leading campus community in terms of sustainability.”
According to The Princeton Review, the company “tallied the ‘Green Rating’ scores based on data it obtained in 2011-2012 from the colleges in response to an institutional survey. The survey included questions asking the schools to report:
- The percentage of food expenditures that goes toward local, organic or otherwise environmentally preferable food.
- Whether the school offers programs including free bus passes, universal access transit passes, bike sharing/renting, car sharing, carpool parking, vanpooling or guaranteed rides home to encourage alternatives to single-passenger automobile use for students.
- Whether the school has a formal committee with participation from students that is devoted to advancing sustainability on campus.
- Whether new buildings are required to be LEED (environmental certification of equipment/appliances) Silver certified or comparable.
- The school's overall waste diversion rate.
- Whether the school has an environmental studies major, minor or concentration.
- Whether the school has an environmental literacy requirement for all of its graduates.
- Whether the school has produced a publicly available greenhouse gas emissions inventory and adopted a climate action plan consistent with 80 percent greenhouse gas reductions by 2050 targets.
- What percentage of the school's energy consumption is derived from renewable resources.
- Whether the school employs a dedicated, full-time sustainability officer.”
“Once again, UW Oshkosh has been honored for its commitment to sustainability in the broadest sense, especially in the way it integrates this ethic into the campus’s essential learning outcomes,” UW Oshkosh Provost Lane Earns.
“The Princeton Review recognition is another affirmation of the hard work of the faculty and staff in infusing sustainability across the curriculum," Earns said. "As one of UW Oshkosh’s distinctive initiatives, sustainability has been incorporated as one of three structural components of our new University Studies Program, a new and innovative general education program planned to launch in 2013."
UW Oshkosh’s submissions for both The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges and Sierra Magazine’s “Coolest Schools” honors were prepared by Michael Lizotte, while he served as interim director of sustainability at UW Oshkosh.