As students head back to college Sierra magazine, has issued its 11th annual “Cool Schools” rankings, with a record breaking 227 higher education institutions in the US, and for the first Canada, participating. College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME, topped the list for the second time in a row, largely because commitment to become a 100 percent sustainable school.
"Year after year, we continue to see young people leading the fight against the climate crisis and toward a 100 percent sustainable future. That’s why students across the United States and in Puerto Rico are pushing their high schools and colleges to not only divest from fossil fuels but to commit to 100 percent localized clean energy,” said Karissa Gerhke, National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition. “The Sierra Student Coalition applauds these leaders and their schools for their innovation and leadership, and we look forward to working with them as they continue to do this important work.”
The magazine, the Sierra Club’s publication, said that each of the Cool Schools that reached its top 20 “have displayed a deep and thorough commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate issues, and encouraging environmental responsibility.” The magazine’s researchers used their own scoring system to rank universities based on their commitment to environmental standards. It ranked schools on their green curriculum, green innovation, sustainable water usage and renewable energy.
The findings also revealed that 14 of the top 20 schools in the rankings signed on to the We Are Still In commitment to commit to reducing their emissions under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Additionally, 3 of the top 20 school are in cities that have committed to 100 percent clean energy as part of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign.
“We continue to be inspired by the creative and innovative ways colleges and universities across the country are working to tackle the climate crisis and move toward a sustainable future,” said Jason Mark, Sierra magazine’s editor in chief. “From powering campuses with clean energy to educating students on new methods of sustainability, it is this leadership that is driving positive change and helping to shape a future that is clean, just, and equitable for all.”
1 College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, ME)
2 Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT)
3 Sterling College (Craftsbury Common, VT)
4 State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Syracuse, NY)
5 Lewis & Clark College (Portland, OR)
6 Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA)
7 Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
8 University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA)
9 Colby College (Waterville, ME)
10 University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
11 Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)
12 Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT)
13 Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
14 Chatham University (Pittsburgh, PA)
15 Colgate University (Hamilton, NY)
16 Loyola University Chicago (Chicago, IL)
17 University of the Pacific (Stockton, CA)
18 George Washington University (Washington, DC)
19 Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH)
20 Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)
Sierra also singled out schools for placing first in certain categories. Green Mountain College was recognized for its green curriculum. The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry was recognized for green innovation. Loyola Marymount University was recognized for sustainable water usage and Colby College was recognized for renewable energy.