Dickinson Lands on the Green Honor Roll
August 3, 2009
The college’s commitment to making study of the environment and sustainability a defining characteristic of a Dickinson education has landed it at the top of the Princeton Review’s 2010 Green Honor Roll. Dickinson is among 15 colleges that received the highest score of 99. Other schools recognized on the honor roll Harvard College, Yale University, Middlebury College, Bates College, Colorado College and the University of California—Berkeley.
“We are thrilled by this recognition,” said Neil Leary, director of environmental and sustainability education at Dickinson. “Figuring out how to satisfy needs for food, shelter, good health and economic development—for all people, sustainably, without degrading the natural world—is one of the great challenges of our times. It is imperative that we prepare students to meet this challenge. We are striving to do this by integrating these issues throughout our curriculum, providing students with opportunities to tackle problems of sustainability on campus and in the world beyond the campus, and by demonstrating our commitment to sustainability by reducing our ecological footprint. It has to be the total package. Anything less would fall short of our commitment to providing a useful liberal arts education.”
Unveiled this week, the Green Honor Roll recognized Dickinson for its wide range of green practices, including the blending of academics and the environment. Dickinson established The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education in 2008 after receiving a $1.4 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant enabled the college to combine its institutional strengths with new programming to make environmental education an integral part of the Dickinson experience. The center collaborates with all disciplines by integrating the environment and sustainability across the college curriculum and linking classroom learning with co-curricular programs, greening of campus operations and civic engagement in the local community and globally.
The Green Honor Roll singled out Dickinson for featuring a “wide variety of vegetarian, vegan, fair trade and organically certified options in its four dining facilities,” and sending “800 pounds of organic material and compostable tableware (no more Styrofoam) to its organic farm every week. Students also collect used fryer oil to produce 1,500 gallons of biodiesel annually for use in the college’s trash truck, lawn mowers, farm equipment and even the president’s car.
“The college is committed to meeting LEED Silver as a minimum standard for all new construction projects exceeding $500K (several existing facilities are LEED Gold certified),” The Princeton Review added. “Dickinson also worked with local government to develop a traffic-calming plan to reduce congestion and make the [Carlilse] downtown area bicycle and pedestrian friendly.” Nearly seven out of 10 college applicants surveyed by The Princeton Review said they valued having information about a school’s commitment to the environment, and one in four said that such information “very much” affects the decision on applying to or attending a school.
The Princeton Review developed its Green Rating criteria and institutional survey with ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental organization. The criterion covers three broad areas: a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable; preparing students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges; and the colleges’ overall commitment to environmental issues. The 697 participating schools had to answer questions about energy use, recycling, food, buildings, transportation, action plans, goals concerning greenhouse gas emissions reductions and academic offerings. The number of colleges participating in the survey increased to 697 this year.