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AU Makes Princeton Review’s “2012 Green Rating Honor Roll”

By Ravi Raman

This beautiful "meadow" is actually one of AU's green roofs! AU has the highest density of green roofs of any campus in DC.

American University is one of only 16 schools nationwide to receive the highest possible rating (99 on a scale of 60-99) in the “Green Schools” category in this year’s edition of Princeton Review Best Colleges.  

Princeton Review’s "Green Ratings" is a measure of how environmentally friendly the institutions are based on a survey of 768 institutions regarding their practices and policies on energy use, recycling, food, buildings, transportation, and academic offerings. Their criteria cover three areas: (1) whether the school’s students have a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable; (2) how well the school prepares its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges; and (3) the school’s overall commitment to environmental issues.  

“With AU’s top rating in STARS, and now appearing in the Princeton Review’s 'Green Honor Roll', it has certainly been a banner year for sustainability at AU. But I feel like we are just getting started and the best is yet to come. We just hired a full-time sustainability outreach specialist to engage campus members even more this year,” says Chris O’Brien, AU’s Director of Sustainability.

Princeton Review noted that AU achieved its 99 rating by “taking a series of practical steps to make sure that its students are green-equipped all the way from the classroom to Congress,” and cited many of the university’s green efforts including:

  • Being a signatory of both ACUPCC and the Talloires Declaration;
  • Status as a STARS Charter Participant;
  • The Green Teaching Certification Program to reward professors for incorporating sustainability into the classroom;
  • A climate plan that targets carbon neutrality by 2020;
  • The presence of two full-time (now three full-time) and 14 part-time (and now 20 part-time) sustainability staff who oversee efforts to integrate sustainability across all campus activities, including the implementation of zero waste, sustainable purchasing, and green building policies;
  • Career counselors who integrate advising on green jobs into their programs;
  • Students who are enrolled in the university’s Environmental Policy programs receive access to all the green programs; and
  • Eco-Sense, university’s environmental group that has been in place for the past decade and works with departments across campus to implement sustainability initiatives.

Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s Senior Vice President and Publisher said, “We commend the administrators, faculty, and students at the schools on our 'Green Rating Honor Roll' for their exemplary commitments to the environment."