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ASU praised for green efforts by national magazine

August 20, 2009

Sierra magazine has named the nation’s top 20 “coolest” schools for their efforts to stop global warming and operate sustainably.

The magazine’s September/October cover story spotlights schools that are making a true impact for the planet, and marks Sierra’s third annual listing of America’s greenest universities and colleges. The complete list is available online at

ASU was No. 13 on the list. Sustainability initiatives at ASU include the only purchasing program to score a perfect "10" among Sierra's top 20, ramped-up recycling and waste-diversion efforts, energy-efficiency upgrades that have saved ASU an estimated 33 million kilowatt and 70 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually, and one of the largest university solar initiatives in the country. And ASU is home to the nation’s first School of Sustainability.

“We're thrilled to see Arizona State University making a real commitment to greening its campus,” says Carl Pope, the Sierra Club’s executive director. “The next generation of students cares deeply about stopping global warming, and schools such as Arizona State University that take the initiative to become environmentally responsible are doing the right thing for the planet and are better poised to attract the best students.”

“Universities are in a unique position to address the grand challenges of sustainability in the 21st century,” says Rob Melnick, the executive dean of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. “ASU is committed to aligning its research, education, outreach and business practices with these increasingly urgent and complex challenges.”

“We have a great responsibility to advance sustainability in our daily operations – to consistently model best practices for our students and our community,” says Ray Jensen, the associate vice president for Business Services and ASU’s sustainability operations officer. "It's imperative for a university that is leading the way in sustainability education to also walk the talk. We're honored that Sierra has recognized our efforts with this distinction."

This year’s top 20 cool schools are taking dramatic steps to curb climate change. Whether it’s ASU, with 67,082 students, or College of the Atlantic with 321 students, Sierra’s list shows that schools of all sizes are taking action.

Sierra’s Top 20 coolest schools of 2009 are:
1. University of Colorado at Boulder (Boulder, Colorado)
2. University of Washington at Seattle (Seattle, Washington)
3. Middlebury College (Middlebury, Vermont)
4. University of Vermont (Burlington, Vermont)
5. College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, Maine)
6. Evergreen State College (Olympia, Washington)
7. University of California at Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, California)
8. University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, California)
9. University of California at Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California)
10. Oberlin College (Oberlin, Ohio)
11. Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
12. University of New Hampshire (Durham, New Hampshire)
13. Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona)
14. Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)
15. University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida)
16. Bates College (Lewiston, Maine)
17. Willamette University (Salem, Oregon)
18. Warren Wilson College (Asheville, North Carolina)
19. Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pennsylvania)
20. New York University (Manhattan, New York)

Sierra magazine has 1.2 million readers and is a publication of the Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental group. For full descriptions of each winning school’s green efforts, visit