Pitt among the Most Environmentally Responsible Colleges in the U.S. and Canada

Issue Date: 
April 28, 2014

TheEco University of Pittsburgh is once again one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada. For the third consecutive year, The Princeton Review has included Pitt in its Guide to 332 Green Colleges.

The guide was published just in advance of the April 22 celebration of Earth Day—and just after the April 14 announcement of Pitt’s new $37.5 million sustainability initiative and its seventh annual Student Sustainability Symposium. Pitt leans green in many ways, from recycling to conserving energy and minimizing waste. Visit www.sustainable.pitt.edu to learn more about Pitt’s sustainability efforts.

“The University is delighted to once again be recognized as one of the 332 most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada by The Princeton Review,” says Daniel Marcinko, Pitt’s sustainability coordinator. “Our faculty, staff, and students should be proud of all the efforts put forth towards the advancement of sustainability within the University and the surrounding community.”

“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 … .”

Pitt recently completed the construction of a new steam plant. The Princeton Review’s Pitt profile says this project will “ultimately reduce steam-related greenhouse gas through its state-of-the-art emission control technology.” University wide, 10 current projects are pursuing LEED certification to supplement the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine—the first laboratory building in Pennsylvania to achieve LEED Gold. Two recent renovation/addition projects (the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and the Benedum Hall Phase I Renovation) also achieved LEED Gold.

“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 [Assistance]—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 guide’s Pitt profile concludes.

The Princeton Review chose the schools for inclusion in its 2014 green colleges guide based on Green Ratings derived from a survey it conducted in 2013 of administrators at hundreds of 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. The Princeton Review did not include Green Ratings in this year’s edition. According to a news release announcing the guide’s publication, 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.

“Among 10,116 college applicants who participated in our 2014 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ 61 percent said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school,” says Rob Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. “To all students seeking to study and live at ‘green’ colleges, we strongly recommend these schools. Among the 332 colleges in this guide, 30 percent of their total food expenditures goes towards purchases of local and/or organic food; 63 percent of the schools offer an undergraduate major or degree that is sustainability-focused, and 73 percent of the new construction on their campuses is LEED-certified.”

The Princeton Review created its Guide to 332 Green Colleges in partnership with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council. Founded in 1981, The Princeton Review, which is not affiliated with Princeton University, is a privately held education services company headquartered in Natick, Mass.