University of Vermont

University Communications

UVM Ranked #4 on Princeton Review’s List of Top Green Colleges

Sophomore environmental studies major Alysa Kelly, one of 20 EcoReps at the university, helps manage a Weigh the Waste event at a UVM dining hall. The idea? “We want students to realize that, even though they’re putting food in the compost bin, it’s still waste,” says fellow student EcoRep Lucy McGrew. (Photo: Brian Jenkins)

The University of Vermont is ranked #4 in Princeton Review’s recently released Guide to 375 Green Colleges, 2017. The guide highlights the top colleges and universities among 2,000 schools the Princeton Review considered. UVM ranked first this year among institutions with larger populations. Five of the top twenty colleges have 10,000 or more students.

“UVM’s commitment to the environment, both in academics and in our sustainable practices, is a core part of the university’s identity and a key element of our appeal for current and prospective students,” said UVM president Tom Sullivan. “We’re pleased and proud that the Princeton Review has recognized UVM’s commitment by ranking us near the top of an elite list of the greenest schools in the country.”

According to the more than 10,000 high school students and their parents who participated in the Princeton Review's 2017 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64 percent said that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college.

The Princeton Review ranks schools based on its “Green Rating” score, tallied from institutional data the publication obtained from school administrators and from surveys emailed to students at colleges across the country on issues such as how sustainability issues influenced their education and life on campus; administration and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts; the visibility and impact of student environmental groups; whether students have a quality of life on campus that is both healthy and sustainable; how well a school is preparing students for employment in an increasingly green economy; and how environmentally responsible a school's policies are.

UVM scored 98 of a possible 99 total points.

This year’s high ranking in Princeton Review’s Green Colleges guide shows the effects of “a virtuous cycle,” says Gioia Thompson, director of UVM’s Office of Sustainability. “Students are attracted to UVM for the commitments they see to social justice and environmental responsibility,” she said. “Then they come to campus, get involved in this community and make their own commitments to living more sustainably. Some take on special projects and leadership roles, investing their time in helping the university itself make further progress. Faculty and staff working on sustainability topics often collaborate with students as they seek to understand problems, explain options and bring about change.”

Earlier this year the University of Vermont received a STARS Gold rating for its sustainability efforts from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The university’s score of 70.87 placed it among the top 12 percent of all 770 institutions. Key to UVM’s success are its university-wide general education requirement for undergraduates; its strong policy record on climate action, diversity and equity; and its early adoption of best practices in planning and campus operations.