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Dickinson College Named a 2021 ‘Cool School’ by Sierra Magazine

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'Cool School' Status the Latest in List of Sustainability Accolades

by Craig Layne

Today, Sierra magazine announced its 15th annual Cool Schools ranking, and Dickinson is again a top performer, earning the No. 17 spot among a record 328 qualified institutions across the U.S. and Canada. Dickinson is one of only two liberal-arts colleges and one of only two institutions in Pennsylvania to make the top 20.

“We’re thrilled to again be recognized for the collaboration and commitment Dickinson has made to advancing sustainability on campus and in our community,” said Lindsey Lyons, assistant director of the Center for Sustainability Education. “More than a decade of hard work is reflected in our recent achievement of carbon neutrality, and we’re looking forward to finding even more ways to incorporate sustainability into our operations, academics, research, engagement and student life in the years to come.”

Each of the schools ranked in the top 20 have displayed a deep and thorough commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate change and encouraging environmental responsibility through their curriculum and on-campus operations. Using a customized scoring system, Sierra’s researchers ranked colleges and universities based on academic criteria like environmentally focused curriculum, student engagement with environmental activism, operations such as renewable energy generation and waste management and schools’ planning and administrative standards.

“At Dickinson, students get a hands-on education that builds their skills for creating a sustainable world,” said Neil Leary, director of the Center for Sustainability Education. “A great example is the work our students are doing with Carlisle and county partners to create local plans for reducing carbon pollution and building climate resilience.”

“This year, I was particularly impressed by how campus sustainability offices used pandemic downtime to examine what it means to 'come back' and how sustainability and equity could be further integrated into every aspect of campus life and operations,” said Katie O’Reilly, Sierra’s lifestyle and adventure editor. “They exhibited a real ‘let no crisis go to waste’ ethos."

Dickinson’s recent achievements in sustainability education and sustainable campus operations include:


Published September 9, 2021