AMHERST, Mass. – For the second consecutive year, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is listed as a “Green Honor Roll School” by The Princeton Review, placing it among the nation’s top 24 colleges and universities for environmental awareness and responsibility.
The Commonwealth’s flagship campus was among the two dozen that scored a perfect 99 in a survey of 861 schools for the Review’s 2015 edition of “The Best 379 Colleges.”
UMass Amherst spokesman Edward F. Blaguszewski said, “The Princeton Review survey recognizes the breadth and depth of the UMass Amherst commitment to building a sustainable society and to preparing students to become responsible citizens of an environmentally fragile planet. Students, faculty and staff have worked hard and with passion to make this campus a national leader in the green movement.”
Twenty-five undergraduate majors at UMass Amherst are sustainability-related, and more than 300 courses include some sustainability emphasis. Three new graduate programs encourage advanced study in sustainability, including an accelerated master’s in sustainability science.
Eighty student Eco-Reps promote sustainability practices in residences halls, and Sustainability Fellows oversee activities from Green Games to the Green Office Program.
The award-winning central heating plant provides 100 percent of heating and 73 percent of electricity for the campus, while a comprehensive recycling and composting program diverts 56 percent of waste from landfills.
Every new building since 2011 has been certified LEED Gold.
In 2012, President Obama saluted the university’s sustainability programs and accomplishments when the campus won first place among 1,500 colleges in the White House Champions of Change competition for its Permaculture initiative.
Sustainability is also a main ingredient of UMass Amherst’s dining program, which was rated second nationally for Best Campus Food in the same Princeton Review report.
The Princeton Review’s “Green Honor Roll” rating, on a scale of 60–99, measures a school’s performance as an environmentally aware and prepared institution. It includes whether students have a quality of life that is both healthy and sustainable, how well a school prepares students for employment in the clean-energy economy, as well as for citizenship in a world defined by environmental concerns and opportunities, and how environmentally responsible a school’s policies are.