The New York Times reports that the Princeton review is including a “green rating” in their next ranking of colleges in the US. While I think college rankings is pretty much a popularity contest, I think this incorporation of some kind of rating of environmental impact and sustainability is a step in the right direction. And not just because my husband is getting a job at my university (W00T!) to do sustainability work.

I am working on a post about sustainability from our trip to Europe, but in the meantime, reflecting on Purdue’s past considerations of the environmental is pretty dismal. Poor rates of recycling, no consideration in building until last year, little inroads into the curriculum, and so on. However, I hope things will improve, with things like the promise of a (only silver-rated) LEED certified addition to the Mechanical Engineering building, sustainability incorporated into the university strategic plan, and (on a rather smaller level) the aforementioned hire of my husband. More on that when he actually starts his job, which will be to help engineering faculty incorporate sustainability and energy conservation ideas into their courses. Did I mention, W00T?

How green is your campus? Where do you see room for improvement?


  1. #1 Tim
    July 27, 2008

    College rankings are indeed a bit sophomoric, in my mind, but if they encourage campuses to go greener, than I guess in this case they are doing some good. It is unfortunate that people and institutions lack the altruistic drive to go green of their own initiative, sans fanfare and recognition, but given human nature, it seems that having this sort of reward/award system may actually produce some significant results. Indeed, in the past, awards programs have spurred important green innovations.

  2. #2 Jeanne Krier
    July 27, 2008

    Hi Science Woman – I’m the publicist Princeton Review Books — the college guides in which the Green Ratings will appear. I appreciate your comments on this. Just to clarify: the Green rating will be a numerical score (from 60 to 99) that all colleges in in our soon to be published “Best 368 Colleges” guide will get. It is not a ranking list category in the book. There will be information posted on The Princeton Review’s website ( about it when the book is out on Tuesday 7/29.

  3. #3 Lab Lemming
    July 27, 2008

    Will these rating include reproducible quantifications, such as emissions or consumption per student/ staff/ paper, or will they be based on an arbitrary scale?

  4. #4 Jenny F. Scientist
    July 28, 2008

    Wonderful- he gets to live in the same place with you AND make the university all crunchy-granola-energy-efficient! Sounds like a good deal. (Does Purdue do tip box recycling? Asks the biologist. I don’t even want to think about how many barrels of oil-turned-to-plastic I’ve killed in the last six years.)

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