Green Mountain College has been ranked among the nation’s top “Cool Schools” by Sierra magazine, the national magazine of the Sierra Club. In a list made public today, Sierra places GMC at number ten among 201 schools surveyed.
“These are the colleges working hardest to protect the planet in 2016,” the magazine says in its September/October issue. Green Mountain College is the only college that has ranked in the top 15 every year for the past seven years, and this is the fifth time the College has landed in the top ten.
The ranking comes just days after GMC was ranked the third green college in the country in The Princeton Review’s 2017 edition of The Best 381 Colleges. This is the fourth year in a row that GMC has ranked in the top Princeton Review green colleges.
“Those who want to learn deeply about the environment go to GMC,” Sierra noted in its description of Green Mountain College’s mission. “Sixty percent of the undergraduate faculty is engaged in sustainability research, administrators have gotten fossil-fuel funds out of the endowment, and the campus has been carbon-neutral since 2011. Next up on GMC’s eco-checklist: to rely only on renewable energy by 2020.”
Sierra annually evaluates schools on a broad range of sustainability metrics including academic programming, transportation, waste disposal, energy, food and campus innovation. Sierra ranked GMC second on the list in academics.
“This latest honor is confirmation of what we’ve known all along—that Green Mountain College is one of the best colleges in the United States in preparing students to meet our environmental, economic and social challenges,” said Green Mountain College president Bob Allen. “I’m particularly proud of the fact that GMC ranked number two in the nation in the quality of education rankings.”
Sierra’s scoring methodology was updated this year to reflect trends in campus sustainability. In the past, schools were recognized simply for conducting audits and surveys of their sustainability operations. But since the Cool Schools rankings began ten years ago and sustainability values have been incorporated broadly in higher education, Sierra now looks for measurable progress.
“This year is the tenth anniversary of the Cool Schools rankings and we are thrilled by the record number of schools that participated. This huge response shows that colleges are taking the lead on addressing climate change,” said Jason Mark, Sierra’s editor in chief.
“I’m so inspired to see the incredible progress that colleges and universities are making when it comes to environmental sustainability,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. Sierra magazine’s Cool Schools rankings help to recognize those schools that have made sustainability a key part of their mission, and are creating future environmental leaders.”
The full ranking of 201 colleges, including each school’s completed questionnaire, can be found online at www.sierraclub.org/coolschools.