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Princeton Review includes UW-Eau Claire on list of green campuses

RELEASED: April 21, 2011

UW-Eau Claire footbridge and campus hillEAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is among the most environmentally responsible colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, according to the newly released guidebook "The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition."

The comprehensive guide names UW-Eau Claire as one of 311 institutions of higher education that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in its academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

The higher education institutions profiled in the guide all received "green ratings" in the 80s or 90s, on a scale from 60-99, based on The Princeton Review survey of hundreds of college administrators. The 311 schools included in the guide were selected after more than 700 schools' green ratings were tallied by The Princeton Review, a well-known education services company.

UW-Eau Claire earned its place among the top eco-friendly schools in North America by making meaningful environmental changes through its commitment to carbon neutrality, renewable resources and sustainable building, said Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich.

"UW-Eau Claire's Centennial Plan describes stewardship of earth as a moral commitment," Levin-Stankevich said. "Our entire campus community is taking that commitment very seriously. Thanks to our faculty, staff and students, we have many outstanding examples of 'green' living and learning taking place across our campus."

The national recognition of those sustainability efforts is particularly meaningful as UW-Eau Claire and the greater Eau Claire community prepares to celebrate Earth Day Friday, said Levin-Stankevich, noting that sustainability has been a priority at the university for several years.

UW-Eau Claire completed its first Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory in 2008, began developing its Climate Action Plan in 2009 and recently presented the 2010 Emissions Inventory to the Chancellor's Cabinet, said Dr. Kate Hale Wilson, campus sustainability fellow.

"The creativity and commitment of our students, faculty and staff have made these collective efforts truly impressive and deeply satisfying," Hale Wilson said. "Watching highly successful programs and initiatives evolve in the past three years — many of them including the support of the larger Eau Claire community — inspires hope even in challenging times."

UW-Eau Claire's Clean Commute Initiative was among the programs highlighted in The Princeton Review guide. Through the initiative, students, faculty and staff are working with representatives from the city of Eau Claire on a variety of biking, pedestrian and busing issues.

"This spirit of collaboration defines UW-Eau Claire's approach to greening its campus," the Princeton Review notes.

The guide also highlights the informal Student Green Council, an ad hoc group that brings together student representatives from environmental, conservation and outdoor recreation groups to discuss projects of shared interest, such as Earth Day activities or RecycleMania.

The Cardboard Corral program also was noted in the guide. During student move-in day, cardboard is collected and taken to be recycled, keeping it out of landfills.

UW-Eau Claire's Student Senate has been a leader in sustainability initiatives, specifically in formulating, passing and bringing to a vote by the student body a referendum to initiate a $20 per year student fee to be used for green initiatives on campus, the guide states. These fees, administered by the Student Senate's Environmental Endeavors Commission, are now funding the first round of student-proposed projects.

"These projects are possible only because of the visionary student leadership in creating the fund and because of student ingenuity in conceiving of projects," Hale Wilson said. "I am confident these initiatives will continue to grow in exciting ways in the years ahead, advancing our university's goals of stewardship and sustainability."

The Princeton Review annually surveys students and parents about a variety of issues. In 2008, it added a green question to its College Hopes and Worries Survey. The survey shows that a growing number of high school-age college applicants and parents would find information about a college's dedication to the environment useful in their college selection process. As a result, The Princeton Review developed the green colleges guidebook.

To create its guidebook, The Princeton Review partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council, a national nonprofit organization best-known for developing the LEED green building certification program. In fall 2010, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated.

The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges can be viewed online.

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JB/DW

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