Sierra magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, released its ninth annual “Cool Schools” ranking of America’s greenest colleges and universities – the 2015 edition announced that Green Mountain College ranked twelfth in the nation overall.
In addition, Sierra gave GMC the second highest rating for academic programs that relate to sustainability. This category considers the number of sustainability courses, sustainability learning outcomes and sustainability-related majors.
Sierra’s “Cool Schools” list annually recognizes colleges and universities that are creating tangible change in all categories of “greenness”—from what’s served in dining halls to what’s taught in lecture halls to what’s powering the dorms. This was the sixth consecutive year that GMC finished among the top 15 on Sierra’s list. The University of California, Irvine (ranked #1 this year) is the only other school besides GMC to finish among the top 15 schools each year since 2010.
“We’re so inspired to see how colleges are taking the lead on addressing climate change,” said Avital Andrews, Sierra magazine’s lifestyle editor.
“Green Mountain’s strategic plan, Sustainability 2020, keeps us on the cutting edge of sustainability in academic programs and operations,” said Aaron Witham, Green Mountain College’s sustainability director. “We continue to strive toward authentic sustainability by fulfilling the important national student campaigns like banning the sale of bottled water and divesting from fossil fuels.”
GMC is the first college in the nation to achieve climate neutrality through campus-wide efficiency, adoption of clean energy, and purchase of local carbon offsets. In 2010 the College opened a $5.8 million combined heat and power (CHP) biomass plant to heat its campus buildings by using green woodchips, a sustainable and renewable local fuel source. In 2015, the Green Mountain College board of trustees completed divestment from 200 publicly traded companies which hold most of the world’s known coal, oil and gas reserves.
Sierra’s complete 2015 rankings, with comprehensive descriptions of each school’s environmental efforts, are available at www.sierraclub.org/coolschools. To learn more about what Green Mountain College is doing to make its campus more sustainable, visit the College’s sustainability website at http://sustainability.greenmtn.edu.
Green Mountain College was founded in 1834 and takes environmental, social and economic sustainability as the organizing principal of its curriculum for undergraduate and graduate programs.