Sierra magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, released its twelfth annual “Cool Schools” ranking of America’s greenest colleges and universities – the 2018 edition announced on August 27th that Green Mountain College ranked first in the nation overall out of 250 colleges and universities who participated in the survey.
In addition, Sierra gave GMC the 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 ninth consecutive year that GMC finished among the top 15 on Sierra’s list.
“Green Mountain’s strategic plan, Sustainability 2020, keeps us on the cutting edge of sustainability in academic programs and operations,” said Ryan Irke, 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 2018 rankings, with comprehensive descriptions of each school’s environmental efforts, are available at www.sierraclub.org/coolschools