KINGSTON, R.I. – June 16, 2014 – The University of Rhode Island has been included in Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges for the fifth straight year.
The rankings, which were announced earlier this spring, put the University in the top spot in the state with 95 points out of 99. URI’s score jumped three points from last year. Brown University earned an 89 and Roger Williams University earned an 87.
“This ranking is a recognition of what the University has been doing for a long time,” said Marsha Garcia, the University’s campus sustainability officer. “For us to attract the best and brightest students, URI needs to demonstrate how central sustainability is to its campus culture and how important innovative practices and sustainability systems are to this University. It’s then our responsibility to make sure students have command of the principles of sustainability when they graduate so they can incorporate them into their lives.”
Rob Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review, said, “We are pleased to recommend URI to the many students seeking colleges that practice and promote environmentally-responsible choices and practices.”
Franek said his company’s recent survey findings indicate significant interest among college applicants in attending “green” colleges. “Among 10,116 college applicants who participated in our 2014 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ 61 percent said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school,” he said.
The guide, which has been published for five years in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, is a free comprehensive resource for college applicants that salutes universities and colleges that have demonstrated a commitment to the environment and sustainability.
The Princeton Review made its selections based on “Green Rating” scores tallied in 2013 for 832 schools. The scores were reported in the publication’s school profiles on its website and guidebooks in summer 2013. The publication tallies its rating (a score of 60 to 99) using data from surveys it conducts annually of hundreds of school administrators about their schools’ environmental and sustainability policies, practices and academic offerings.
The 332 schools in this year’s guide earned scores of 83 or higher.
In its summary The Princeton Review said that since 2007 the University of Rhode has calculated the university’s carbon footprint, investigated energy-saving measures, and has remained on target to achieve carbon neutrality. Faculty and graduate students have completed energy audits of buildings on campus, and 95 percent of URI’s buildings have undergone energy-related retrofits or renovations in the past three years. The publication cited the September 2012 opening of Hillside Hall, a residence hall for first- and second-year students. The energy-efficient building features naturally ventilated rooms, rooftop solar collectors to heat water, a vegetated roof, building materials with high recycled content, indoor bicycle storage and real-time energy monitoring. The guide also highlighted URI’s commitment to local and organic food in its dining halls.
“With ongoing research opportunities available in sustainability through the College of The Environment and Life Sciences and the University’s minor in sustainability, URI is taking strides to ensure that students both live and learn about sustainability,” the guidebook said. “Outside of the classroom, numerous green student groups are working to educate their peers about sustainability issues on campus.”