Dickinson Is One Cool School
by Christine Baksi
August 14, 2013
Assistant Professor of Biology Scott Boback measures a captured turtle as his students look on. Student researchers learned firsthand what environmental subtleties might affect all the organisms living in the pond. It’s an experience they can’t get in the classroom. Immersive research opportunities like this are possible with Student Faculty Research Project Grants from Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education.
For the second time
this summer, Dickinson has been nationally recognized as a top school for sustainability.
Sierra magazine is the latest to laud Dickinson as a leader in
sustainability education and green campus operations by placing it at No. 2 on
its top 10 list of the "Coolest Schools" in the nation. Earlier this month,
Dickinson earned a spot on The Princeton Review's 2014 Green
Rating Honor Roll, making it the only Pennsylvania institution this year to
earn both accolades.
Sierra's list salutes progressive U.S.
colleges that incorporate curricula to help solve climate problems and are
making significant efforts to operate sustainably. Powering
Dickinson to Sierra's top 10 are the extensive student-faculty research
opportunities found at the forefront of the college's sustainability curriculum.
Center for Sustainability Education provides research-collaboration support
through generous grants for professional- and curriculum-development,
student-faculty research, assistantships and student travel for research-related
Dickinson earned some of Sierra's highest
marks for instruction & research opportunities and co-curricular offerings
such as the Biodiesel
Fuel program and the student Eco-Reps program, a peer-to-peer
approach to encouraging sustainable campus living.
What makes a
Sierra examined academic institutions that
are making a difference for the planet and creating tangible change in all
categories of greenness, from campus operations to academics. According to
Sierra, Dickinson is a cool school for purchasing enough wind power to
offset all electrical needs, converting cooking grease into biodiesel fuel and
serving student-grown produce in the cafeteria.
Dickinson has undertaken
such initiatives as the student-introduced Idea
Fund, which has supported ventures like The
Handlebar, a teaching bike-repair shop and The
Peddler, a bike-powered cart selling free-trade and organic coffee; the
Center for Sustainable Living; an organic farm; water
monitoring, recycling and composting programs; and ensuring LEED
Gold certification for four buildings.
sustainability-related and -focused courses represented 14 percent of the
curriculum, with more than 60 percent of students taking at least one course and
30 percent taking two or more; nearly 80 percent of the class of 2013 took one
or more sustainability courses in their last two years of study.
Dickinson's innovative sustainability
curriculum and its leadership in sustainable campus operations consistently earn
national recognition. Dickinson also has received the STARS Gold rating from the
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, garnered
top marks on the Green Report Card of the Sustainable Endowments Institute and
earned Second Nature's inaugural award for Institutional Excellence in Climate
In 2012, Dickinson began presenting its own coveted award for
environmental leadership. The Sam Rose '58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson
College for Global Environmental Activism was established by the couple to focus
attention on the need to reduce the impact of human lives on the planet.
Activist and scholar Bill
McKibben received the inaugural prize, and former EPA administrator Lisa
Jackson is the 2013 recipient.
Sierra is the official
publication of the Sierra Club, America's largest and most influential
grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.1 million members and
supporters nationwide. Read
Sierra's coverage of the nation's greenest schools.