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ASU, OSU lead the way in advancing sustainability

September 30, 2011

Editor's Note: ASU welcomes the Oregon State Beavers to Frank Kush Field/Sun Devil Stadium, Oct. 1, to face-off in ASU's second Pac-12 game of the season.

When it comes to commitment to advance a more sustainable way of life, Arizona State University and Oregon State University lead the way. The Princeton Review named the two Pac-12 schools among the 16 top colleges to its "2012 Green Rating Honor Roll."

Criteria for the green review include a healthy and more sustainable campus life, students who are prepared for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges, and the school's commitment overall to environmental issues.

At Arizona State University, sustainability is a fundamental precept underlying its teaching, learning, research and business missions. ASU President Michael Crow is co-chair of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The university has the largest collection of energy-providing solar panels at a public university.

Established in 2007, ASU's School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the U.S., offers transdisciplinary degree programs that advance practical solutions to environmental, economic and social challenges. The school has over 60 faculty representing over 40 disciplines and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs along with a professional certificate. ASU subsidizes bus and light rail passes for all students and employees and offers car-sharing and a carpool program with special parking privileges. A student-run bicycle co-op offers low- or no-cost bike repairs and free bike rentals.

Oregon State University has a history of creating innovative projects to reduce energy use. OSU is installing a large solar hot water system in its recreation center and students using one of the center’s 22 elliptical machines help generate power for the building. In 2008, it won a Green Power Leadership Award from the EPA, and is the seventh largest purchaser of renewable energy among U.S. colleges and universities. Seventy-three percent of campus electrical use is offset with either green tags or green tag purchases. Recycling is also big on campus: The school placed first in the 2006 RecycleMania competition and today boasts an overall waste diversion rate of 52 percent.

OSU offers a degree in Ecological Engineering, opened the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, and hosts a Nonprofit Career Day, with significant participation from national and local green groups. Student-organized green job events are also held throughout the year.

Pac-12 Fact: The University of Washington also was named to Princeton Review’s Green Rating Honor Roll.