Our Efforts in Sustainability Haven't Gone Unnoticed

Awards for sustainabilty

At Dickinson, we monitor and report our performance in sustainability education and research, operations, planning, innovation, administration and engagement using the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Ratings System (STARS) of the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Our performance has earned us a Gold Rating from AASHE, making us one of a small number of institutions to receive this distinction.

Making the grade

Sierra magazine has consistently ranked us in the "Top 20 Coolest School" in the country for our sustainability efforts (2015, 2014, 2013, 2010). We were the third "Coolest School" in 2014, and continue to strive to make the grade.

In addition, Dickinson made the 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2011 Princeton Review Green Honor Rolls, making us one of less than 24 schools in the nation to receive a 99 Green Rating, the highest score.

Dickinson previously earned top marks (straight A's) from the Sustainable Endowments Institute on their College Sustainability Report Card and has received numerous local awards.

Awards and designations

In 2014, we received a Bicycle Friendly University Silver designation from the League of American Bicyclists for our visionary work in transforming Dickinson and Carlisle into a more bike-friendly campus and community.

We received a Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature in 2010, the first year of this national award. The award recognized Dickinson for our innovative and aggressive climate action plan and climate change education program.

Five of our buildings have earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council, one of which was the first LEED Gold student residence building in Pennsylvania.

Social sustainability

In 2013, Dickinson was rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by Campus Pride Index, a vital tool for assisting campuses in learning ways to improve their LGBT campus life and ultimately shape the educational experience to be more inclusive, welcoming and respectful of LGBT and ally people.

Dickinson was also listed at No. 6 among small schools in the Peace Corps’ 2015 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country.


Dickinson has received major grants for sustainability programs in recent years, recognizing the quality of Dickinson's sustainability efforts while also providing resources to expand and improve our programs. 

A $1.4 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation helped establish the Center for Sustainability Education and a faculty position in environmental studies, expand resources for teaching and use of geographic information systems (GIS) and provide resources for sustainability curriculum development and student-faculty research.

A $500,000 Global Climate Change Education grant from NASA is supporting innovative cross-disciplinary educational program development.

A $460,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation supported development of the Watershed-Based Integrated Field Semester, a four-course Mosaic program that combines aquatic ecology, watershed management and community-based fieldwork in the Chesapeake Bay and lower Mississippi River Basin.

Additionally, a $400,000 implementation grant from the Henry Luce Foundation’s Luce Initiative on Asia and the Environment helped us develop innovative approaches to Asian studies teaching and research through the lens of the environment and sustainability.