The green college accolades keep rolling in. The University of Maryland – College Park and Rio Salado College have been named the winners of the America’s Greenest Campus 2009 (AGC 2009) contest. The University of Maryland had 2, 257 students participate in the program with an average 1.29% carbon reduction per student.

Rio Salado College, a community college based in Phoenix, Arizona that also offers online courses to students across the country, had 524 students participate. However, the average carbon reduction per student was 4.4%, the most of any of the participating campuses. Both schools, The University of Maryland and Rio Salado College, will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

“AGC 2009 was just the beginning. We have a long way to go before our culture is ready for a permanent solution to the climate crisis. We are going to expand our efforts aggressively in 2010 to more than double the positive impact of this contest on America's campuses.” Source: Climate Culture

More than 450 schools participated in the AGC 2009 contest with many institutions only having one participant. Climate Culture, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and SmartPower, want this number to grow next year. Not only do they want to see more participating institutions, they want to get the student base even more involved in reducing their carbon footprint.

Earlier this week, I wrote about the nation’s top sustainable colleges named in the College Sustainability Report Card 2010. Six of the colleges also appeared earlier in 2009 in both The Princeton Review and Sierra magazine lists of the nation’s top green colleges.

All six of those institutions participated in the America’s Greenest Campus 2009 contest.

  • Arizona State University – Tempe – 55 participants, 3.13% carbon reduction
  • College of the Atlantic – 4 participants, .44% carbon reduction
  • Harvard University – 121 participants - .47% carbon reduction
  • University of New Hampshire – 11 participants, 1.24% carbon reduction
  • University of Washington – Seattle – 3 participants, .10% carbon reduction
  • Yale University – 70 participants, 1.79% carbon reduction
With the more intense focus on garnering participation in the program, I would expect to see these numbers jump, significantly, for the America’s Greenest Campus 2010 contest. While these six colleges have been recognized several times this year for their environmental focus, it will be great to see much more student involvement in the contest.

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