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BGSU listed again in Princeton Review guide to green colleges

BOWLING GREEN, O.—When Bowling Green State University was named last year to the Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges, Campus Sustainability Coordinator Dr. Nicholas Hennessy said, “We don’t want to rest on our laurels; we want to keep getting better.”

That ongoing commitment to energy conservation and education has once again landed BGSU a spot on the guide to the most environmentally responsible colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. Published April 17, a few days before the April 22 celebration of Earth Day, the 216-page guide is the only free comprehensive resource of its kind: it can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide and www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide.

“Now that BGSU has been recognized in the publication for a second consecutive year, it represents a solid trend in its emergence as a leader in sustainability both in practice and the classroom,” Hennessy said.

The Princeton Review chose the schools for the guide based on a survey it conducted in 2013 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges to measure the schools' commitment to the environment and to sustainability. The institutional survey included questions on the schools' course offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, career preparation, and their sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. Using survey data that covered more than 25 fields, the review tallied its "Green Ratings" (scores from 60 to 99) for 832 schools. The 332 schools included in the guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment.

“Now that BGSU has been recognized in the publication for a second consecutive year, it represents a solid trend in its emergence as a leader in sustainability both in practice and the classroom."

From major and minor degrees to an internship program between the Office of Campus operations and the Department of Environment and Sustainability, BGSU students have academic options to learn about and put environmental practices to good use.

Since the data for the 2014 guide was gathered, BGSU’s sustainability “repertoire” has expanded, Hennessy noted. Among the advances are the University’s progress with the American University and College Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) through completion of its Greenhouse Gas Inventory and embarking on the creation of a Climate Action Plan, the overall creation of a University-wide, comprehensive “sustainability plan,” a commitment to LEED-certified buildings through major renovations and new construction, and energy-monitoring “dashboards” in University buildings.

While some initiatives are highly visible, there is also a strong sustainability educational goal as well, such as the Green Office Certificate, a program in which offices engage in and take a number of steps toward sustainability. BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey’s office was the first to achieve the rating; additional offices recently qualifying are Undergraduate Student Government, WBGU-TV, BGSU Dining, and the Department of the Environment and Sustainability. A number of other offices have recently submitted applications. Other examples of education and outreach include presentations, service-learning projects and special events such as this week’s Earth Week activities and opportunities.

The Office of Campus Operations, in which the campus sustainability office is located, has been heavily involved in conservation of energy as a cost-saving measure, while taking a look at the potential of renewable energy in an ongoing effort to reduce the institution’s carbon footprint, Hennessy said.

The Princeton Review created its "Guide to 332 Green Colleges" in partnership with the Center for Green Schools (www.usgbc.org) at the U.S. Green Building Council.