If you’re looking for a college to attend and commitment to sustainability is on your checklist, then you’ll want to download The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges. The Princeton Review teamed up with the U.S. Green Building Council to create the guide, which assesses a wide variety of sustainable measures including LEED certified campus buildings, renewable energy use, sustainable foods, recycling programs, green degree programs and much more.

This new college guide was created based on an increasing interest in sustainability measures among potential college students and their parents. “We recognize that there is a rising interest among students in attending colleges that practice, teach, and support environmentally responsible choices. Among the almost 16,000 college applicants and parents of applicants The Princeton Review surveyed for its 2009 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 66 percent of respondents said they would value having information about a college’s commitment to the environment.” Source: Guide to 286 Green Colleges (PDF)

Nearly one-quarter of those 66 percent stated that a college’s commitment to sustainability would have a strong impact on their ultimate college choice. The Princeton Review has been on top of this growing trend with its Green College Honor Roll and green ratings systems.

However, this guide is specific to those post-secondary institutions that have well-established sustainability programs on campus. Every college in this new guide scored in the 80s or higher during last year’s green ratings.

Although I’m not currently searching for a green college, I thought I’d look at the guide to see how my school, [skipwords]Arizona[/skipwords] State University (ASU), fared. ASU was named to the 2010 Green College Honor Roll for earning a top score of 99. The university was one of 15 colleges that earned a spot on the honor roll.

Like all of the other schools in the green college guide, ASU has a green highlights section as well as a categorical breakdown of green facts. However, ASU’s sustainability commitment has earned the university an additional section entitled Arizona State University: Head of the “Green” Class.

ASU has 12 LEED-certified buildings on its multiple campuses, is in the process of adding solar panels to more than 310,000 square feet of roof space to take advantage of the Arizona sunshine, and is home to the first school of sustainability in the nation. The last sentence in this special section sums the school up nicely, “A big school in a big desert, ASU is a model for other institutions to follow.”

Now on to some green facts about ASU: 35 percent of the food budget is spent on local and/or organic food, students and employees have access to a wide variety of alternative transportation options, new buildings must meet LEED standards, 76 percent of the cleaning products used on campus are green certified, 54 percent of the campus grounds are maintained organically, and the school provides green jobs guidance to students.

If you find yourself wondering why only 54 percent of the campus grounds are maintained organically, let me assure you that the school is huge. Enrollment at ASU is nearing 54,000 undergraduate students at four different campuses. By comparison, Bard College in New York is at 75 percent of grounds maintained organically. However, the school is much smaller with fewer than 2,000 undergraduate students enrolled. While ASU is only at 54 percent, this 54 percent encompasses a large land area.

If you’re interested in seeing how your alma mater scored or perhaps you’re searching for a college with a strong commitment to sustainability, you can download the four-part Guide to 286 Green Colleges from The Princeton Review website.

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