U.S. Secretary of Education names URI a 2018 Green Ribbon School

URI is recipient of Postsecondary Sustainability Award

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KINGSTON, R.I.–May 18, 2018–The U.S. Department of Education has announced that the University of Rhode Island is a 2018 Green Ribbon School.

The University received the Postsecondary Sustainability Award. URI is the only college in New England to be selected for this honor.

URI was nominated by Martin Quirk, postsecondary policy specialist for the Rhode Island council on postsecondary education.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition of the University’s commitment to sustainability,” said Vice President for Administration and Finance Abigail Rider. “We have made major strides in recent years in all aspects of University life in order to reduce the University’s impact on the environment.  This is the result of the work of many people in the University community and they should all take great pride in this award.”

“This award recognizes institutions that embrace sustainability as a multi-dimensional value. The work the University does to reduce its environmental impact, improve the health and well-being of the community, and prepare students to address global challenges is a true testament of the many ways URI is committed to campus sustainability,” said Marsha Garcia, campus sustainability officer.

Across the country, 46 schools, six districts, and six postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

The honorees were selected from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six private schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 58 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.  

URI sustainability by the numbers:

  • URI has 11 facilities cited by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design (LEED)
  • For eight consecutive years the Princeton Review has named URI among the nation’s greenest colleges
  • Since 2006, URI has saved 11 million kilowatt hours of energy
  • Reduced annual steam consumption by 89 million pounds
  • Reduced carbon dioxide emissions by almost 26 million pounds
  • Hydration stations around campus have saved nearly 1 million plastic water bottles from landfills
  • In 2016, more than 2,600 gallons of URI’s waste cooking oil was converted to biodiesel
  • Electric vehicle charging stations on campus have helped commuters and visitors avoid using more than 1,000 gallons of gasoline driving to URI between 2013-2017
  • More than $50 million in grants received between FY13-FY17 for research and project work related to energy, sustainability, and/or climate
  • More than 30 undergraduate and graduate degrees available that include sustainability as a learning outcome including Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design; Ocean Engineering; Minor in Sustainability, and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

Emma Gauthier, a student writer in the URI Marketing and Communications Department and a journalism major, wrote this press release.