Editor's Note (The View From Here)

Green Matters

As this September issue of College Planning & Management is preparing to head off to the printer, Sierra magazine has released its list of the “Top 20 Coolest Schools,” schools that Sierra has determined are “ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability.”

Also this month, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has announced the finalists for the 2017 AASHE Sustainability Awards. The website BestColleges.com has among its “Best” lists a compilation of what it has found to be the top 15 “Greenest Universities,” spotlighting “the schools that have launched the most impactful initiatives to reduce on-campus waste and energy consumption, promote alternative transportation, provide funding to student and faculty-led green proposals, and take other measures to benefit the environment.” Second Nature, which manages the Climate Leadership Network for higher education, will recognize its 2017 Climate Leadership Awards as part of the Greenbuild Leadership Awards program in November.

There are a good number of other organizations, associations and competitions (including Recyclemania, Game Day Challenge, the College & University Recycling Coalition, and more) for demonstrating, recognizing and awarding colleges for their sustainability efforts.

Does it matter?

Speaking as someone who was in elementary school when the very first Earth Day took place (it was 1970; no need to look it up) and who remains a life-long, avid recycler and switching-off-the-lights tree-hugger, the answer is yes, it matters. It matters to prospective students (and their parents); surveys have shown that a notable percentage indicate that having information about an institution’s commitment to the environment might impact their decision to apply to or attend the school. It matters to students who are planning for careers related to sustainability. It matters to all of us who depend on a healthy environment and a healthy planet for the very basic necessities of life.

CP&M has long included all aspects of sustainability in campus planning and management in its pages. Every issue highlights a “green” initiative in the Sustainable Campus column, and chances are good other content will explore some aspect of sustainability as well.

Congratulations to the schools that have made Sierra list, or Best-Colleges.com list, or the AASHE or Second Nature or Recyclemania or any other list for your efforts. I invite you to share the story of your successes with CP&M so that we, in turn, may share your stories with all our readers.

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.

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