Most people realize the importance of “going green” in order to save the earth for future generations. There are American universities and their students that are protecting the planet by providing sustainable solutions to a myriad of problems that have gone way beyond recycling. Using vigorous criteria for assessing environmental impact, these universities and their students are planting organic farms and gardens, installing solar panels and green roofs, offsetting all toxic admissions, treating wastes with “living machines”, running campaigns geared toward decreasing dependency on electricity, having campaigns in reducing their carbon footprint, installing moisture-sensitive sprinklers and other green measures aimed at saving out planet. More students are showing interest in attending a green college, according to “The Princeton Review”. Some of the most eco friendly university campuses in the United States are listed here.
College of the Atlantic, located in Bar Harbor, Maine, is one of the most eco friendly colleges in the world. There is only one major of study which is human ecology which studies human relationships with the environment. Solar panels are used for energy; there is a farm that provides organic produce for breakfast, lunch and supper, composting toilets, and a natural wood pellet boiler that heats the student center and six student residences. In 2007 COA was the first college to go carbon neutral.
University of Colorado Boulder holds the highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. There are 2.5 acres of solar panels and they have won LEED awards for several campus buildings. LEED certification means the buildings are eco-friendly. There is “no sort” recycling that uses stream recycling. All recyclables can be put in the same bin without having to sort different materials.
Warren Wilson College, located in Swannanoa, North Carolina, is nearly self-supporting. The college gets its wood and food from its own organic gardens and sustained forests. They cut wood with chain saws that use soy oil. Vehicles are run on biodiesel, or are hybrid or use solar powered carts. Streetlights are solar powered with low light pollution. Warren Wilson College is a leader in green building and design. They recycle compost and have a “free store” where used items can be given a new life.
Oberlin College, located in Oberlin, Ohio, created a web-based computer system to constantly monitor water and energy used in dormitories. This system was created in 2005 by faculty and students. Buildings are geothermally heated and are made of recycled materials. They boast powerful ventilation, super insulation, and green garden roofs. This college is home to a model “living machine” which processes waste water through a plant and bacteria-based filtration system.
Harvard University, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has achieved up to a 73% reduction in wastes. The university is committed to using recycled paper and printing on both sides. Converted school trucks run on spare vegetable oil from dining halls. Harvard is one of the top purchasers of renewable energy.
Furman University, located in Greenville, South Carolina, has incorporated green living in all academic classes. Students must take a mandatory course on “Humans and the Natural Environment”. All new construction and renovation exceeds LEED standards. They are creating geothermal and solar energy systems throughout the campus. Furman farm grows organic herbs and vegetables. The university has restored the 40 acre Furman Lake which is lined with refurbished dorms that meets LEED standards.
Middlebury College, located in Middlebury, Vermont, is the college that began the national “Step It Up” protests against global warming. Students have worked diligently to lower thermostats, exchange light bulbs, to stop carbon dioxide emissions at their ski facility and to build wind turbines that provide power to their recycling center. An 11 million dollar biomass plant is currently being built which will make the college carbon neutral by 2016.
There are many other universities and colleges working diligently with faculty and students to become eco friendly. Everyone needs to become more environmentally conscious and do our part along with these universities to save the planet.