Our Efforts in Sustainability Haven't Gone Unnoticed


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 as a "Top Coolest School" in the country for our sustainability efforts (2010, 2013-17).
  • Dickinson made the 2011 and 2014-17 Princeton Review Green Honor Roll, making us one of fewer than 25 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 its 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.
  • Dickinson’s Dining Hall, an all-you-care-to-eat cafeteria-style facility that serves the campus community, including 2,400 students, has been named a 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). The distinction recognizes Dickinson’s commitment to sustainable operations and food sourcing. Only approximately 50 U.S. colleges and universities have achieved Certified Green Restaurant status.

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 the LGBT and ally community.
  • 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.