Pitt Is Among “Most Environmentally Responsible Colleges," Says Princeton Review Guide

Issue Date: 
April 22, 2013

Calling the University of Pittsburgh one of the “most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada,” The Princeton Review has included Pitt in its new free downloadable book The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges, published just in advance of the April 22 celebration of Earth Day. Billed by The Princeton Review as the only free comprehensive resource of its kind, the book can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide and www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide.  

“Consistently ranked among the top public universities in the country, [the] University of Pittsburgh has had a lot to juggle in an effort to ‘maintain research and instructional excellence, realize cost savings, and apply sound sustainability principles,’” the green colleges guide profile of Pitt reads. “An original signatory of the [international 1990] Talloires Declaration, ‘supporting mobilization of the resources of higher education on behalf of sustainability,’ Pitt [as one of only four original U.S. university signatories of the declaration] has constantly made the environment a priority, in fact identifying sustainable concepts as one of its five engineering research focus areas—and that’s saying something for a school where Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine. Green infrastructure is at the forefront of Pitt’s movement … 

“Ten current projects are pursuing LEED certification to supplement the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine—the first laboratory building in Pennsylvania to achieve LEED Gold certification,” The Princeton Review’s Pitt profile continues.“Two recent renovation/addition projects (the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and the Benedum Hall Phase I Renovation) also achieved LEED Gold certification.”

Since the 2012 data were submitted to The Princeton Review, two additional Pitt construction/renovation projects—the Chevron Annex and the Biological Sciences Tower’s 12th-floor renovation—have achieved LEED Gold Certification. The University now has nine current projects pursuing LEED certification, among them Mark A. Nordenberg Hall at Fifth Avenue and University Place in Oakland, a freshman residence hall scheduled to open for Fall Term 2013.

“With all the sustainable initiatives in place to develop Pitt as an institution, the university doesn’t forget about its heart and soul—its students. Pitt’s Office of Student Employment and Placement—besides offering paid internships for students and organizing periodic student symposiums—is staffed by an Employment Development Specialist who frequently assists students interested in working for organizations with sustainable practices,” the green colleges guide’s Pitt profile concludes.

The Princeton Review chose the schools for inclusion in its 2013 green colleges guide based on Green Ratings derived from a 50-question survey it conducted in 2012 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges; to be eligible for inclusion in the guide, schools had to have a Green Rating of at least 83 out of a possible total score of 99. This year, Pitt received a Green Rating of 97; last year, Pitt received a Green Rating of 92. According to a news release announcing the publication of the guide, The Princeton Review analyzed data from the survey about the schools' course offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation programs to measure the schools’ commitments to the environment and to sustainability. 

“We are truly pleased to recommend the University of Pittsburgh along with all of the other fine schools in this book to the many students seeking colleges that practice and promote environmentally responsible choices and practices,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review.

Franek noted his company’s recent survey findings indicating significant interest among college applicants in attending “green” colleges. “Among 9,955 college applicants who participated in our 2013 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ 62 percent said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school,” he commented.  

The Princeton Review created its Guide to 322 Green Colleges in partnership with the Center for Green Schools (www.centerforgreenschools.org) and the U.S. Green Building Council (www.usgbc.org) with generous support from United Technologies Corp. (www.utc.com), founding sponsor of the Center for Green Schools.

Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, said, “Selecting a four-year college is a big choice. When we learned that the majority of prospective college students factor a school’s commitment to sustainability into their selection criteria, we wanted to ensure we were providing the best information.” 

Founded in 1981, The Princeton Review is a privately held education services company headquartered in Framingham, Mass. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.

Pitt leans green in many ways, from recycling, to conserving energy, to minimizing waste. Visit www.sustainable.pitt.edu to learn more about Pitt’s sustainability efforts.