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Five years running: UWEC again makes Princeton Review green colleges list

For the fifth year in a row, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been named one of the most environmentally responsible colleges and universities in the United States and Canada by The Princeton Review. 

The newly released guidebook "The Princeton Review Guide to 353 Green Colleges," includes UW-Eau Claire among the 353 institutions of higher education that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

The Princeton Review, a well-known education services company, chose the colleges based on green rating scores that the company tallied for 861 colleges using data from its 2013-14 survey of school administrators. The survey asked them to report on their school's sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs, and schools with Green Rating scores of 83 or higher (on a scale of 60 to 99) made it into the guide. 

"We are honored to again be recognized by The Princeton Review as a green college," said Dr. Christina Hupy, associate professor of geography and anthropology and UW-Eau Claire's former Sustainability Fellow. "I am immensely proud of all the efforts by our students, faculty and staff who tirelessly work toward making our campus a sustainable place to live and work."

The profiles in The Princeton Review's Guide to 353 Green Colleges provide information about each school's admission requirements, cost and financial aid, and student body demographics. They also include "green facts" about each school, with details on the availability of transportation alternatives and the percentage of school food budgets spent on local/organic food. 

The following are among the initiatives at UW-Eau Claire highlighted in The Princeton Review green colleges guide include: 

  • The university's Centennial Plan (its strategic plan through 2016), which describes stewardship of Earth as a "moral commitment." 
  • The Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee, which consists of students, faculty and staff who reach out to work with the city of Eau Claire on key biking/pedestrian/busing issues.    
  • An unprecedented 75 percent waste-diversion rate, which has continued to grow due to a focus on keeping waste out of landfills.
  • Housing and Residence Life's Cardboard Corral program that runs on student move-in day, in which cardboard is collected and recycled to prevent it from ending up in landfills.  
  • Housing and Residence Life's "Trash Talk Thursday" lectures. The talks allow students and faculty to learn from local experts about the challenges to creating a sustainable future.

The guidebook recognizes UW-Eau Claire's Student Senate as a strong leader in sustainability initiatives, noting that it proposed having students pay an annual fee to support green initiatives on campus. Approved by the student body via a referendum, the $20-per-year fee supports the Student Office of Sustainability, which has developed new initiatives and collaborated with other regional and campus stakeholders on projects such as LED lighting, a bike rental program, the $CORE program that improves the energy efficiency of student rental houses, e-waste recycling, duplexing printers, ZimRide, Green Revolution stationary bikes, water bottle filling stations, a campus garden and a film series on sustainability and food.

Other "green facts" noted about UW-Eau Claire in The Princeton Review's guidebook include: 

  • The university's sustainability committee dedicated to addressing environmental issues.
  • The university's public greenhouse gas inventory plan.
  • The car share program available to students, faculty and staff.  

The Princeton Review's 2015 Guide to 353 Green Colleges can be viewed online.