10 Greenest Universities in the World

10 Greenest Universities in the World

10 Greenest Universities in the World
Sailesh Sitaula

Universities worldwide aim to equip future professionals with an integrated education that allows them to develop their skills in ways that benefit society. As a result, when young people opt to attend university classrooms, they must consider the ideals that govern one or more institutions. As the impacts of climate change become more destructive, organizations in various industries attempt to apply ecologically friendly policies to preserve a favourable public image while expanding their businesses. Colleges and universities are no different.

In this regard, many institutions worldwide recognise the necessity of incorporating sustainability into their organisation, culture, and even design so that students may engage in sustainable acts regularly.

What Qualifies a University as "Green"?

In general, environmentally conscious institutions implement policies and initiatives that promote a healthy campus lifestyle while reducing reliance on scarce natural and human resources.

The STARS system allows schools to assess and report their achievement independently. Currently, almost 700 schools and institutions have a STARS rating. The STARS system is in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Six factors are used to award university credits: institutional qualities, academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership. To receive the highest platinum rating, a school must get at least 85 points.

Let's have a look at the top ten greenest university campuses in the world and their sustainable on-campus practices:

Stanford University

Stanford is a university ecological champion and is ranked high on the list of greenest institutions. It achieved a platinum rating from STARS with a score of 88. Stanford University has around 390 sustainability courses focusing on socio-environmental systems and a Master's degree in sustainable science and practice. As one of the cleanest campuses, Stanford has reduced landfill trash by 26%, household water usage by 45%, and greenhouse gas emissions by 72% since 2000.

The institution also offers a 'My Cardinal Green' initiative for students to assist them to make their campus more environmentally friendly. This effort encourages students to keep a running list of sustainable behaviours in food, housing, and transportation areas.

  • Avg cost after aid: $13K
  • Graduation rate: 94%
  • Acceptance rate: 5%

Princeton University

Princeton's Office of Sustainability conducts ecologically sensitive policies and activities, earning the institution a gold STARS grade.

Students may learn how to properly recycle, save water, and decrease their daily trash output by visiting the office's website. They can participate in community service via the Pace Center for Civic Engagement by joining one of 15 environmental student clubs.

The institution also provides numerous academic possibilities centred on sustainability, such as an undergrad degree for engineering and science students. Princeton started its sustainability action plan in 2019 to reduce the organisation's net emissions of greenhouse gases to nil by 2046.

  • Avg cost after aid: $9,836
  • Graduation rate: 96%
  • Acceptance rate: 6%

Columbia University in the City of New York

In addition to a gold STARS rating, the institution's transportation earned the Association of Commuter Transportation's Best Overall Program award in 2019. The school also claims fully green power consumption thanks to the acquisition of energy credits.

Students who join the Sustainable Leaders Network can assist the college in achieving goals such as becoming carbon neutral before 2050. Students at Columbia can also participate in various campus groups and conduct environmental research with the help of the Center for Sustainable Development.

Like other environmentally friendly colleges, Columbia offers green degrees, including a bachelor's degree in environmental biology.

  • Avg cost after aid: $23K
  • Graduation rate: 96%
  • Acceptance rate: 7%

University of Pennsylvania

Penn presently has a gold STARS rating because it aims to be carbon neutral by 2042. The institution stresses energy saving and employs sustainable building strategies to improve ecologically managed green spaces throughout its campuses.

Students can obtain leadership skills by working in paid roles with institutional partners on sustainability initiatives through the Eco-Reps program. All students can apply for scholarships and fellowships promoting environmental sustainability research projects and professional growth.

As one of the greenest colleges, Penn is constantly improving its academic programs to include relevant courses such as public policy preservation, sustainable estuaries, and globalisation and the city.

  • Avg cost after aid: $25K
  • Graduation rate: 95%
  • Acceptance rate: 9%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Increasing energy efficiency through integrated power management strategies is a significant subject of MIT's 2030 action plan. In addition, solar energy systems are maintained on all of the school's sites.

MIT inked a 25-year power purchase deal in 2016 that included the development of a 650-acre, 60-megawatt solar farm. Students and professors can do independent research or contribute to an institutional effort, such as the MIT Energy Initiative, which focuses on environmental solutions for government and business.

They can also convert to sustainable transportation through the Access MIT program, which offers commuter train and parking charge rebates.

  • Avg cost after aid: $16K
  • Graduation rate: 94%
  • Acceptance rate: 7%

Cornell University

Cornell's platinum STARS rating will be reaffirmed in 2021, making it one of just eleven universities with the STARS system's highest distinction. The university's campus serves as a living laboratory for teaching, research, and advancement in sustainability.

Cornell was the first Ivy to target carbon neutrality in 2007, and it was only eight years later that it was achieved. Students, employees, and teachers can participate in green campus activities such as food and transportation.

Cornell's campus is mainly powered by renewable energy generated on-site by solar farms and a hydroelectric facility. Aside from groups centred on sustainability, students are entitled to over 700 classes centred on sustainability.

  • Avg cost after aid: $37K
  • Graduation rate: 95%
  • Acceptance rate: 11%

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College, located in Brunswick, Maine, is one of just 10 higher education institutions in the United States to achieve carbon neutrality. The college also maintains a gold STARS rating.

Bowdoin urges students to commit to practising green living behaviours like turning off lights and avoiding single-use containers to promote a culture of sustainability. Participants who work hard get gift cards, awards from local companies, and the opportunity to take on leadership roles on campus.

Like other environmentally conscious campuses, Bowdoin sponsors yearly climate action activities such as Earthstock, an all-day sustainability exhibit, barbeque, and a music festival.

  • Avg cost after aid: $23K
  • Graduation rate: 95%
  • Acceptance rate: 9%

Northwestern University

Northwestern's commitment to environmental stewardship has won the school two consecutive Energy Star Partner of the Year Awards from the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2020 and 2021, in addition to a gold STARS rating.

The strategic sustainability plan for the school provides a framework for future policies and initiatives, concentrating on essential areas such as resource conservation, communications and engagement, and the surrounding structures.

Northwestern, a leader among ecologically friendly colleges, offers several green transportation choices. Students can use school shuttles, local buses, a bike-share program and over 800 charging points for electric vehicles.

  • Avg cost after aid: $23K
  • Graduation rate: 95%
  • Acceptance rate: 9%

University of California-Berkeley

Berkeley's Office of Sustainability creates environmental plans and programs. By 2025, the university aspires to have 100% carbon-free power. These efforts and many others have contributed to Berkeley receiving a platinum STARS rating.

Students can learn about climate concerns by volunteering with campus organisations such as the Housing and Dining Sustainability Advocates. They may also collaborate with the Zero Waste Coalition, which persuaded school leaders to prohibit all non-essential single-use plastics by 2030.

Berkeley has around 600 sustainability-focused classes, accounting for over 18% of the school's entire course catalogue. The courses offered include climate change mitigation, civil systems and the environment, and land use legislation.

  • Avg cost after aid: $16K
  • Graduation rate: 92%
  • Acceptance rate: 17%

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

U-M has a gold STARS rating partly because of advances in waste reduction, community participation, and healthy environments. Between 2015 and 2025, the institution intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25%.

Campus and local community members may get introductory training on fundamental climate problems and relevant resources through the Planet Blue initiative, which aims to promote energy efficiency.

This eco-friendly institution encourages undergrad research through the Graham Sustainability Scholars Program. It encourages graduate initiatives through the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program and offers over 700 courses linked to sustainability.

  • Avg cost after aid: $15K
  • Graduation rate: 92%
  • Acceptance rate: 26%

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