The Princeton Review has added another tool in it’s arsenal for higher education applicants: a guide to environmentally-friendly schools. On the list of the ‘Guide to 322 Green Colleges,’ is a school in the Dallas-Ft. Worth (D-FW) metroplex: the University of Texas at Dallas.
Created in partnership with the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the guide’s qualifications include “[demonstration of] a strong commitment to sustainability in academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.” While listed schools have varying degrees of progress to report, all share a common commitment to dedicate resources to environmental responsibility. Noteworthy accomplishments are included in an elite ‘Honor Roll’ – with effective programs implemented across three facets universal to higher education: facilities, curriculum, and culture.
The “Guide to 322 Green Colleges’ is the only free comprehensive and annually updated guide to ‘green’ universities in North America. However, to reflect the remaining diversity in sustainability strategy, another D-FW school, the University of Texas at Arlington (which is not listed in the USGBC-Princeton collection), has chosen to quantify their progress with an annual sustainability report. Verified by the Global Reporting Initiative, a leading international standard for corporate responsibility reporting, the University of Texas at Arlington’s report is in the minority of university-produced examples. Their 2012 report mirrors emerging corporate citizenship strategy, creating regularity in communication to stakeholders, with accountable measures.
Where a university administration chooses to invest will determine the nature of a school’s transformation. Investment in a college’s student culture will render a slow, but exponential return through shifts in lifestyle, while a facilities-focused approach will render quantifiable savings, but produce graduates without exposure to behavioral alternatives.
Which area do you think provides the greatest value in jump-starting sustainability in higher education: culture, facilities, or curriculum?
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