The Princeton Reviewâ€™s Guide to 286 Green Colleges named CSU as one of the nationâ€™s top green colleges.
The Princeton Review looked at availability of environmentally friendly transportation options, course options for environmental studies, the amount of sustainability staff employed by colleges and several other measures of sustainability.
These criteria are meant to assess whether studentsâ€™ campus life is healthy and sustainable, how well a school prepares students for employment in what the guide calls the â€œgreen energy economy of the 21st centuryâ€ and to what extent the schoolâ€™s policies are environmentally responsible.
CSU received a rating of 91. The highest possible score is a 99. According to the Princeton Reviewâ€™s guide, the score is based on surveys completed by school administrators and data collected by the Princeton Review and the United States Green Building Council.
The guide highlighted CSU specifically for founding the first emissions-control program in the United States in an effort to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases on campus, offering green power options to students, like its wind power credit program for students in dorms, and encouraging recycling by increasing the number of recycling bins around campus.
CSU was the first higher education institution in the world to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED, for Commercial Interiors certification from the United States Green Building Council, which assesses sustainability in building construction.
The guide also reports that in 2008, 51 percent of the universityâ€™s waste was recycled.
Colorado College, Naropa University, CU-Boulder and the University of Denver were also listed as top green colleges in the guidebook.
Efforts in sustainability are nothing new to CSU.
â€œWeâ€™ve been involved in alternative energy research for decades,â€ said Carol Dollard, Facilities Management energy engineer at CSU. â€œWe were doing solar research in the 1970s.â€
Dollard said this research is being applied to the new parking lot to the Lake Street Parking Garage, where solar panels will be placed as an alternative energy source.
But Fort Collins resident and local energy activist Eric Sutherland isnâ€™t as supportive of CSUâ€™s rating by the Princeton Review.
â€œWe have to take this a little bit more seriously,â€ Sutherland said of sustainability.
Rather than transporting recycled materials out of Fort Collins, Sutherland said finding domestic, local uses for recycled material.
Sutherland also said he disapproves of CSUâ€™s practice of selling â€œgreen powerâ€ to students. He said the money goes to a city program dominated by purchasing renewable energy credits, and the money students pay does nothing to help sustainability.
He acknowledged that CSUâ€™s efforts in sustainability have gotten better since Tony Frank became president, but said, â€œWeâ€™ve still got a long way to go.â€
The Princeton Reviewâ€™s Guide to 286 Green Colleges is available online at http://www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.aspx.
_Staff writer Susan Smaldone can be reached at email@example.com.