AMHERST, Mass. — For the fifth consecutive year, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been named to the Princeton Review’s list of Top 50 Green Colleges.
The list is included in the new 2019 edition of “The Princeton Review Guide to 413 Green Colleges” released online Oct. 22. Ranked No. 30 this year out of the 413 schools profiled, UMass Amherst was also among the Top 50 in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The Princeton Review tallied this ranking list based on data from its institutional survey of administrators at the colleges for its Green Rating and its surveys of students attending the colleges. Ten data points from the institutional survey were factored into the assessment. Data from the student survey included student ratings of three factors: the influence of sustainability issues on their education and life on campus; administration and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts; and the visibility and impact of student environmental groups.
The rating, on a scale of 60–99, is meant to provide a comprehensive measure of a school’s performance as an environmentally aware and prepared institution. UMass Amherst was rated 98.
Last year, the UMass campus was part of the launch of an automated electric assist bike share program called ValleyBike, part of a larger regional program with 500 bikes at 50 stations throughout the Pioneer Valley. The campus now has more than 1 million square feet of LEED-certified building space.
Sustainability is also a main ingredient of the university’s No. 1 ranked dining service, which serves 60,000 meals a day and purchases 23 percent of all food and beverages from third-party verified (organic or humane) or community based/local sources and is one of the largest in-house dining programs to sign the Real Food Challenge Commitment. The campus has the largest campus solar project in New England at 5.5 MW and more than 15,000 photovoltaic panels, generating about 6 million kWh annually.
The Princeton Review also cited the university’s AASHE STARS gold rating; its formal sustainability committee; and free campus shuttle.
The profiles in The Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges provide information about admission requirements, cost and financial aid, and student body demographics. They also include “Green Facts” about the schools, with details on such matters as the availability of transportation alternatives at the schools and the percentage of the school food budgets spent on local/organic food.