UC Berkeley Recognized on List Of Top 15 'Green' Universities

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The Princeton Review named UC Berkeley as being among the top 15 universities in the nation for environmental awareness in its second annual "Green Ratings" released Monday.

Out of 697 universities, UC Berkeley was one of the 15 that received a perfect score of 99 from the review. According to campus officials, the recognition followed campus-wide efforts to reduce UC Berkeley's environmental impact.

David Soto, director of college ratings at the Princeton Review, said the scores are based on a school's commitment to promoting environmental sustainability, academic preparation for green jobs and support for green building projects.

"Berkeley also pays a lot of attention to organic and local foods," Soto said. "That separated (UC Berkeley) from other schools."

He added that the campus recycles or composts 57 percent of its solid waste, and 13 percent of its energy use comes from renewable sources, contributing to the perfect score.

Lisa McNeilly, UC Berkeley director of sustainability, said the recent recognition reflects the campus's reputation for excellence.

"When you think about what sets Berkeley apart academically, it's the breadth and depth of our academic offerings," she said. "That's something we're trying to mirror on the sustainability side."

Though the campus's greenhouse emissions increased by 1 percent from last year, campus-wide efforts have realized an 8 percent decrease in landfill waste and three-fold increase in recycling, according to McNeilly.

"Do we still have more to do? Yes," she said. "One of the hallmarks of sustainability is continuous improvement."

Prospective students are beginning to consider environmental issues more heavily in their school selection process, according to a recent survey conducted by the review. The survey found that 68 percent of more than 16,000 college applicants indicated that a school's environmental commitment would influence their decision.

Rosalind Chu, a UC Berkeley junior and co-president of Bay-Area Environmentally Aware Consulting Network, said in an e-mail that there is still room for raising awareness on campus.

"People have this idea that sustainability needs to be a huge, revolutionary movement," she said. "But little decisions and small changes can amount up to big impacts."


Contact Chris Carrassi at [email protected]

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