The Princeton Review dubs UC Santa Cruz one of the greenest colleges in the country
Every year, The Princeton Review releases books like “The Best 377 Colleges” and “The Complete Book of Colleges” to provide a ranking system for colleges in the United States. In this year’s edition, UC Santa Cruz earned a position among 21 of the Review’s greenest colleges in the nation.
The finalists for the Green Honor Roll were chosen based on a 50-question survey given to four-year colleges in 2012. The survey asked about campus infrastructure, course offerings, career preparation, and activities, all in relation to the obligation of sustainability.
Santa Cruz’s city on a hill had plenty of green-centered programs and offerings to boast of. The UCSC Sustainability Office, which was started by a student in 2007, is a campus resource that promotes environmentally friendly decision-making. Through the office, students, faculty and staff have come together to create projects to improve sustainability on campus.
Another program that helped land the school on the honor roll is The Carbon Fund, a project supported by student fees that attempts to reduce the campus’ carbon footprint and achieve a goal of zero waste by 2020. So far, UCSC has a 70 percent waste diversion rate.
In addition, UCSC uses renewable sources to fund 16 percent of its energy, and uses 90 percent Green Seal Certified cleaning products.
According to Lacey Raak, director of the Sustainability Office, there are many other projects underway, such as an environmental game app developed by students to help users understand and make better environmental decisions.
Also of note, says Raak, is the Green-Watching Awareness Training Video, which is a joint project between students and staff to raise awareness about environmentally preferable products. This year, Transportation and Parking Services will put four new charging stations for electric vehicles on campus.
“The reason it is important for campuses to be sustainable is because we are developing the next generation of changing agents for society,” says Raak. “There’s this inherent need from a student prospective, and it’s important that staff and administrators push the envelope to act as a role model for sustainability.”