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ASU listed in magazine's top 10 'coolest' schools

August 21, 2008

Sierra magazine, a publication of the Sierra Club, has named ASU as one of the nation’s top 10 “coolest” schools for its efforts to stop global warming.

The cover story for Sierra’s September-October issue is its second annual listing of the greenest American colleges and universities.

This year’s top 10 “coolest” schools are noted for taking dramatic steps to curb global warming. Sierra’s list, “10 That Get It,” shows that schools of all sizes are taking action. Top schools earned points for policies in 10 categories: buildings, energy, food, investment, procurement, transportation, curriculum, environmental activism, waste management and overall commitment to sustainability.

A perfect score in every category would give a school 100 points. ASU, with the largest student population of the selected schools, ranked No. 6 with a score of 87.

Sierra’s top 10 “coolest” schools of 2008 are:

1. Middlebury (Vt.) College (2,350 students).

2. University of Colorado-Boulder (29,000 students).

3. University of Vermont-Burlington (10,750 students).

4. Warren Wilson College (Swannanoa, N.C., 850 students).

5. Evergreen State College (Olympia, Wash., 4,400 students).

6. ASU (51,500 students).

7. University of Florida-Gainesville (50,000 students).

8. Oberlin (Ohio) College (2,200 students).

9. University of Washington-Seattle (39,250 students).

10. Tufts University (Medford, Mass., 8,500 students).

“A new trend is sweeping the country,” says Bob Sipchen, Sierra’s editor-in-chief. “American schools are going green. When schools take such significant steps toward addressing global warming, it will have a huge impact on hundreds of thousands of students. And if young people take that passion into their communities and careers, it will reverberate globally.”

“ASU’s growing recognition as an institution committed to advancing sustainability education, research, operations and outreach is a source of pride and a testament to the steadfast dedication and leadership of our university community as a whole,” says ASU President Michael Crow.

Through the generous gifts of Julie Ann Wrigley, ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability was established in 2004 as the hub of the university’s sustainability initiatives. The institute advances research, education and business practices for an urbanizing world. Its School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the United States, was established in 2007 and offers integrated degree programs that advance practical solutions to environmental, economic and social challenges.

Sustainability is a fundamental precept at ASU and permeates its teaching, learning, research and business missions. Some key initiatives under way at ASU include deployment of solar power on all four campuses, development of highly efficient buildings, operation of all campuses to be carbon neutral and produce zero waste, and unified dedication and commitment to finding sustainable solutions for issues of energy, water, urbanization and climate change.

“ASU is proud to be included in this group of accomplished universities,” says Bonny Bentzin, manager of university sustainability business practices at ASU. “Rating systems such as the Sierra magazine assessment are important for benchmarking accomplishments and sharing best practices. Through the work of many departments and individuals across the university, we have come a long way.”