AMHERST, Mass. – Just in time for Earth Day, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been recognized as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada, according to the just-released The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges, created in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council.
UMass Amherst earned a top score of 99 in the guide, which calls the university a “national leader in sustainability.” The guide notes that “sustainability is part of academic life” at UMass Amherst with 25 undergraduate majors that are sustainability-related and more than 300 courses that include some sustainability emphasis. In addition, three new graduate programs encourage advanced study in sustainability, including an accelerated master’s in sustainability science.
The guide also mentions President Barack Obama’s recognition of UMass Amherst for winning the White House College Champions of Change Competition, the eco-rep program in campus residence halls, the UMass Permaculture Initiative, the Sustainability Fellows program, a new U.S. Green Building Council student chapter and student participation on the Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee.
“The campus also continues its long commitment to reducing its carbon footprint,” says the guide, citing the award-winning central heating plant and a comprehensive recycling and composting program that diverts 56 percent of waste from landfills. Also, every new campus building since 2011 has been certified LEED Gold and 13 LEED-registered projects are in progress.
UMass Amherst’s top-rated dining services also earns kudos for purchasing 28 percent of its produce locally and for being “one of the largest in-house dining programs to sign the Real Food Challenge Commitment.”
The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey the company conducted in 2013 that asked administrators at hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and Canada about their institution’s sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. Using survey data that covered more than 25 fields, The Princeton Review tallied its “green ratings” (scores from 60 to 99) for 832 schools and reported them in the school profiles on the company’s website and in its college guides in summer 2013. The 332 schools in the new guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment.