AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst is again rated one of the top 50 most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review’s Guide to 375 Green Colleges, 2017, which was released Sept. 19. UMass Amherst was on the list in 2016 and 2015.
Ranked 42nd, UMass Amherst is cited for its use of local and organic food as well as its formal sustainability committee, sustainability officer and a public greenhouse gas inventory plan. Also highlighted is the availability of a sustainability-focused degree program. Twenty-five of nearly 90 undergraduate majors are sustainability-related, while more than 300 courses include some sustainability emphasis. Also, three new graduate programs encourage advanced study in sustainability, including an accelerated master’s in sustainability science. In addition, 80 student eco-reps are charged with promoting sustainability practices in residence halls. Students also direct the blue-ribbon UMass Permaculture Initiative, run a new U.S. Green Building Council student chapter, and serve on the Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee.
The guide also notes UMass Amherst’s alternative transportation options, including the bike share program, facilities for cyclists, a car-sharing program, carpooling and ridesharing, and transit services for students, faculty and staff.
In addition, the university’s award-winning central heating plant provides 100 percent of heating and 73 percent of electrical needs on campus, while a comprehensive recycling and composting program diverts 56 percent of waste from landfills. All new construction is 100 percent LEED-certified.
The Princeton Review chose schools based on “Green Rating” scores (from 60 to 99) that the company tallied in summer 2017 for 629 colleges using data from its 2016-17 survey of campus administrators. The survey asked them to report on their school’s sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. Schools with Green Rating scores of 80 or higher made it into the guide. Most of the schools in the newest edition are in the U.S., while 13 are in Canada and one is in Egypt.