The University of Houston is one of the country's most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review (www.PrincetonReview.com). The nationally known education services company selected UH for inclusion in a unique resource it has created for college applicants - "The Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges."
Developed by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC, www.usgbc.org), the "Guide to 286 Green Colleges" is a comprehensive guidebook focused solely on institutions of higher education who have demonstrated an above-average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.
Just in time for the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day (April 22), the guide - which is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide - profiles the nation's most environmentally responsible campuses. The guide looks at an institution's commitment to building certification using USGBC's LEED green building certification program, environmental literacy programs, formal sustainability committees, use of renewable energy resources, and recycling and conservation programs.
"Students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending colleges and universities that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility," said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher, The Princeton Review. "According to our recent College Hope & Worries Survey, 64 percent of college applicants and their parents said having information about a school's commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend it. We created this guide to help them evaluate how institutions like the University of Houston focus on environmental responsibility so that they can make informed decisions as they move through the college assessment and application process."
The University of Houston joins the ranks of outstanding universities and colleges nationwide that are leading the "green" movement through their own special programs and initiatives.
"Two years ago, a core group of students, faculty, staff and administrators set out to green UH by forming the UH Campus Sustainability Taskforce," said Emily Messa, assistant vice president for University Services. "Together, we united the UH community around green initiatives.
"We started with small steps, like recycling, reducing on-campus waste and learning how to be green commuters. We then tackled a carbon footprint for the entire UH campus and are working toward a greenhouse gas reduction plan for the university. We are excited for the University of Houston to receive recognition for being a living-learning laboratory for sustainability."
Among numerous activities celebrating Earth Day, UH is hosting an Earth Day carnival April 22 to showcase campus green initiatives (http://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2010articles/April2010/0420EarthDayCarnival.php).
Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC, said "Beyond the cost savings to an institution, even the simplest aspects of a green campus, such as increased use of natural light, have been found to improve student learning and quality of life.
"Green facilities make colleges more attractive to students and can dramatically reduce energy costs. Higher education is a top priority market segment for USGBC because graduates of green colleges become incredible drivers of change when they call for similar surroundings in their jobs and communities."
How the Schools Were Chosen
The Princeton Review chose the 286 schools included in the guide based on the "Green Rating" scores the schools received in summer 2009 when The Princeton Review published Green Rating scores for 697 schools in its online college profiles and/or annual college guidebooks. The Princeton Review's "Green Rating" is a numerical score from 60 - 99 that's based on several data points. In 2008, The Princeton Review began collaborating with USGBC to help make the Green Rating survey questions as comprehensive and inclusive as possible. Of 697 schools that The Princeton Review gave "Green Ratings" to in 2009, the 286 schools in the guide received scores in the 80th or higher percentile. The Princeton Review does not rank the schools in this book hierarchically (1 to 286) or in any of its books based on their "Green Rating" scores.